By The Integrity360 Team on November 15, 2022

Why Data Access Monitoring Should be Your Top Priority Heading into 2023

Breaches, Alerts & Advisories, Industry Trends & Insights, Cyber Security Technology

Your data is your organisation’s most valuable asset. With enough transparency it can provide you with a huge amount of insight into how to improve your business, but in the wrong hands, it can irreparably damage your reputation and cost millions in compliance liabilities.  

Research shows that 95% of organisations suffer from a data decision making gap and lack the ability to bring together the internal and external data needed to make accurate and informed decisions.  

This data gap doesn’t just impact decision making, but also creates significant legal and regulatory compliance issues. After all, if you can’t identify sensitive data, you can’t protect it.  

As a result, organisations need to start prioritising identifying and classifying data assets. For many, this is easier said than done, but having the right tools can simplify the process significantly.  

Why Data Identification And Classification Are Essential  

In most cases, when a threat actor targets an organisation, they’re not looking to gain access to a piece of infrastructure, but the underlying data, which they can then exfiltrate and sell. This includes both structured and unstructured data throughout your environment. 

Any data that isn’t protected by clear user access controls is up for grabs if the threat actor has the technical expertise to find it.  

In the past ringfencing and infrastructure-based access controls may have sufficed; however, in modern environments this is no longer the case. These types of security controls simply can’t keep up with the pace at which data moves between on-premises servers and applications, to endpoints, and to off-site third party and cloud services, where users are connecting simultaneously from the office and home. 

For instance, today’s organisations are processing mountains of unstructured data stored in on-premises resources like file servers and Exchange, as well as cloud services like SharePoint, MS Teams, GitHub, OneDrive, Slack, and Google Drive.  

In this complex environment, systematically identifying and classifying your data is the only way to determine your exposure to cyber risk, and to start implementing controls to regulate who can access the data, and more importantly what they can do to this data. 

Introducing Data-centric Security 

As security approaches evolve to keep up with the fluid nature of modern networks, data-centric security solutions are becoming essential for managing user access to critical data assets as information moves in and out of the network.  

At its core, a data-centric security solution is about identifying and classifying sensitive data then implementing user access controls. These access controls are designed to enforce the principle of least privilege and ensure that users only have access to the information they need to meet their day-to-day responsibilities. 

Once these access controls are in place, the security team can then monitor user activity to ensure that no authorised users attempt to exfiltrate or destroy protected data.  

While solutions such as the Varonis platform enable security teams to identify and classify data, the reality is that with a Cyber Security Workforce Gap of 2.72 million professionals, many organisations often lack the in-house expertise to identify and classify sensitive data themselves. 

However, managed services offer a key tool that organisations of all sizes can use to implement a cost-effective and scalable data-centric security solution without a dedicated in-house team.  

Introducing Managed Data Security 

Integrity360’s Managed Varonis Data Security Service provides organisations with a solution to deploy and manage the Varonis Data Security Platform, to help in-house security teams identify, classify, and protect important data.  

Once the team discovers the data in your environment, they start recommending the and applying periodic remediation activities aligned with your security and business policies to reduce risk related to over-exposed sensitive data 

After operationalising the Varonis platform, you’ll have a baseline behaviour profile for each user and have hundreds of ML threat models to detect attacks in real-time based on real-world techniques.  

The service can provide 24x7 data security, detection, and response capabilities to quickly intercept hackers and malicious insiders if they attempt to modify or exfiltrate files.  

Data-centric Security  

Proactive data identification and classification is the first step toward implementing a zero-trust data security model. If you’re not controlling access to your data, then you’re putting your organisation at serious risk of a data breach. 

By implementing controls at the data level, you’ll ensure you have greater visibility over who has access to sensitive information and put yourself in a position to quickly intercept malicious actors if they try to target your network with ransomware or another threat. 

Want to find out more about how to monitor data access? Click here to download our eBook about data-centric security or contact our experts today to learn more.  

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