Organizations collect, store and manage more data today than they have ever done before. Businesses have a regulatory obligation to keep sensitive data protected from internal and external cyber threats, but implementing a successful data security strategy is no easy task.

Data security involves the combination of cybersecurity best practices and technologies to ensure organizations are able to better protect their sensitive data from modification, malicious or accidental destruction or theft. 

Learn The Top 8 Data Security Best Practices 

Yet data security is a complex process. It requires organizations to gain complete visibility into their data, evaluate the risk associated with their attack surface and then implement improved data protection tactics that mitigate those risks. 

In this blog, we look at five fundamental steps of successful data security management. 

Data Protection Solutions Guide

1 - Data visibility
 

You can’t protect what you don’t know you have. In many cases, valuable information on a company's network is not protected or recoverable, primarily due to the business’s inability to find it. Organizations cannot protect their data if they don’t know what data they have, where it lives or who has access to it. 

This is why it’s important to use a data discovery platform. Data discovery technology scans your entire environment, providing your business with complete visibility into all of the assets connected to your organization and all of the sensitive data that these assets collect and store. 

To go one step further, data classification (the process of adding metadata into data so that you can classify it) helps your business to easily find data and determine where it should prioritize its data security effort. 

2 - Erase data that you don’t need

The majority of organizations never delete data. The result is that the sensitive data they have on their network continues to grow, and this means that the company’s overall attack surface and risk also increases. 

Successful data security management requires organizations to only keep business-critical data. This means scaling down data collection where appropriate and only retaining personal information that the business needs on file. 

Businesses should build a process that specifies how they identify what data must be kept, how to secure it, how long to keep it and how to dispose of it securely. Minimizing the amount of data kept across your network will mitigate data security risk. 

3 - Continuous monitoring of your attack surface

As your organization invests in new assets and collects new data, your attack surface grows. To minimize the risk that comes with this, it’s critical that organizations continuously monitor their attack surface so they know exactly what their risk level is and what they need to do to enhance data protection. 

Attack surface management ensures companies have the people, processes and technologies in place to manage and mitigate cyber risk and the threats that target their internal and external digital assets.

Interested in learning more? Read our blog, What is Attack Surface Management and How Has it Changed? 

4 - Protect stored data

Once an organization has discovered and classified its data, it has all of the visibility and control it needs to improve its data protection strategy based on risk. With these insights, businesses can begin to enhance their data protection strategy based on prioritizing their most vulnerable assets. 

Data protection should be made up of a range of tactics, such as employee best practices, data loss prevention (DLP), data backups, firewalls, authentication and authorization, encryption, endpoint protection and so much more. 

5 - Get an vulnerability assessment
 

Not sure where to start? A third-party assessment can help businesses better understand their data risk and where they can improve their existing data protection strategy to mitigate the risk of cyber threats accessing, manipulating or deleting sensitive data. 

That’s why Cavelo offers a free vulnerability assessment for businesses looking to improve how they protect sensitive data. Want to learn more about your company’s risk level?

Sign up for the free vulnerability assessment today.

FREE Vulnerability Assessment