Assessing data security
Here are some recommendations on assessing data security across the following key areas:
- 'Where is the data?'- determine whether the data is at rest (in storage, file shares, desktops, etc.) or in-transit (e-mail, file transfer, IM, etc.). Eliminate unnecessary data and keep a close eye on data which is currently stored, both on and off premise.
- 'What is the discovered data and to whom does it belong?'- the actual nature of the data itself and the data's owner will determine the security procedures/standards required to protect it (for example customer lists, R&D, SSNs, credit cards, patient health information, resumes, financial reports, etc.).
- 'How is this identified data used and why is it important?'- data should be associated with the business processes it supports, and businesses should be aware of how it is used (highly active or low latency, retention requirements) and how sensitive it is (security policies).
- Perform regular checks to ensure that essential controls are met.
- Collect, analyse and share incident data to create a rich information source that can drive security programme effectiveness. It is also useful to do the same for tactical threat intelligence, especially indicators of compromise (IOCs), that can greatly assist defence and detection.
- Without de-emphasising prevention, focus on better and faster detection through a blend of people, processes, and technology. Besides implementing monitoring systems that detect potential security breaches, it is also crucial to have dedicated resources monitoring this information to ensure that the appropriate action is taken in a timely manner to prevent a full blown data breach.
- Regularly track metrics like "number of compromised systems" and "mean time to detection", and use these numbers to drive better security practices within the organisation.
- Evaluate the threat landscape to prioritise a treatment strategy. Don't buy into a "one-size-fits-all" approach to security. Enterprises should also relook their security strategies on a yearly basis or when IT infrastructure changes.
There is no doubt that the opportunity in big data and its intelligence is immense and companies that are able to harness this intelligence, secure their data and act on it accordingly can expect to gain a significant competitive edge. The responsibility of data security should thus be one that is shared across the enterprise and not just the IT department.
Arun Kundu is Professional Services, Managing Director, Verizon Enterprise Solutions, Asia Pacific.
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