Data Management

Prioritizing Data Protection for Data Managers

Traci Curran

January 10, 2023

Person with digitally illustrated icons related to data protection on a screen

Today’s data managers face numerous data-related obstacles on a regular basis – a surge in the pace of digital transformation, datasets growing increasingly more complex, and the proliferation of data by volume, just to name a few. However, one issue that is quickly surging up the priority list is the protection of data within the enterprise.

Keeping enterprise data safe certainly isn’t a new idea or priority, but it’s a task that needs attention now more than ever, given how quickly the threat landscape is shifting. Gartner recently identified the expansion of attack surfaces or points of entry for attack, as the number one trend impacting cybersecurity today. This trend began when Covid-19 forced many global businesses to revert to remote and hybrid setups for work. The distributed workforce created a situation where cloud architectures were suddenly loaded with systems and data that were ripe for attack.

As cybercriminals continue to target new attack surfaces to steal or hold data ransom, it’s worth noting why a data protection strategy is so important, how to bolster existing strategies, and the benefits of taking a hybrid approach to data protection.

Today’s Cybersecurity Threats

Understanding how to protect your company’s data requires understanding the threat landscape. Data and IT security managers are under constant threat from attacks targeting data such as phishing, malware, ransomware, spearing, and other forms of snatch-and-grab tactics. Much like the evolving complexity of enterprise data, cybercriminals have adapted their attacks to keep up with the technological innovation around them.

As mentioned earlier, the widespread use of remote working throughout the pandemic initially created significant stress on cloud systems that enabled work from home. As these systems became overloaded with data and users, threat actors found it much easier to spread their attacks through vulnerability points. A report from Deloitte found that nearly 50% of individuals had fallen for a phishing scam while working from home during the pandemic. This comes as a direct result of businesses cobbling together cloud-based systems without standardizing security across them. Savvy cybercriminals can pinpoint these weaknesses and exploit them to steal data.

Just as technological innovation has grown in complexity over the years, so has the adaptability of cybercriminals, who are evolving to keep pace with security professionals. The Deloitte report also found that during the pandemic, 35% of the attacks businesses faced they had never seen before – up from 20% prior to the pandemic.

Data breaches come with a steep price tag. Beyond the reputational damage of putting critical data in the wrong hands, leaving the door open for a data breach can cost businesses severely. A report from IBM found that data breaches cost businesses in the United States on average $9.44M in remedying the situation. The financial aspects of a breach cannot be overlooked and should be a top priority of IT and business leaders.

How to Stop Breaches in Their Tracks

Closing security gaps requires having a complete picture of your company’s data systems. Organizations need to map out their dataflows across the business and identify which systems and datasets are most mission-critical and need the most protection. This includes data that is both at-rest (sitting in data centers) and in transit (data flowing between two systems or data centers).

Once the most crucial datasets have been identified, then businesses need to understand which systems are accessing this data and ensure secure connections are made between systems. This is where work from home and remote working can complicate matters, as devices being used on home networks may be less secure than devices being used on corporate networks. A gap like that would require robust security protocols in place to ensure data being processed at home is not picked up by a malicious actor also connected to the network.

Finally, enterprises need to adopt a standardization model towards their security frameworks. The systems used to keep data safe while in transit or sitting in a database should all be following similar protocols to ensure there are no knowledge gaps among users that could lead to a vulnerability.

For many businesses, a hybrid integration strategy is the best approach to take for data protection and security.

Try a Hybrid Strategy

Many companies have a web of data and disparate data connectors throughout the business that need to be managed from a holistic ‘single pane of glass’ approach. This means having a central place to manage, monitor and update all data connections, giving direct visibility into the security of those connections. The best way to achieve this is by adopting a hybrid approach to data protection. This means having protection for all IT systems, whether they are on-premise, in the cloud, hosted with third-party services, or IoT devices.

Through the Actian Data Platform integration platform, businesses can easily manage all connections that exist within the enterprise, no matter where they reside. This visibility gives businesses the ability to manage all data flowing in and out of the business and can keep a more comprehensive eye out for potential security gaps. A hybrid integration platform like DataConnect can also help businesses regularly update credentials to systems that hold data, as well as more quickly respond to data breaches or other security issues.

Ready to up-level your data protection strategy? Read more about the Actian Data Platform.

Traci Curran headshot

About Traci Curran

Traci Curran serves as Director of Product Marketing at Actian focused on the Actian Data Platform. With more than 20 years of experience in technology marketing, Traci has previously held senior marketing roles at CloudBolt Software, Racemi (acquired by DXC Corporation), as well as some of the world’s most innovative startups. Traci is passionate about helping customers understand how they can accelerate innovation and gain competitive advantage by leveraging digital transformation and cloud technologies.