As data is growing exponentially, with the increased amount of data, such as Big data, the breach of data has also increased in the recent years in the form of cyber-attacks and other such hacking threats. However, data has become the most important asset of business and as enterprises are increasingly dependent on this information, security of this sensitive data has gained great importance in the recent years and many mobile app development companies are focusing on developing apps for the same.


Why data-centric security is needed?

Organizations have been using anti-virus programs, malware blockers, spam filters, next-gen firewalls, network auditing, and other similar security tools for network and endpoint security. However, these tools could not protect the data stored in the cloud or shared via email. Data theft and security breaches not only have long term financial effects on the organizations, but also culminate disbelief in the decision-making process of the organization, thereby risking its reputation. Thus, IT security practices had to make a transition as the security measures currently in place need to be fortified further using data-centric security. So, it is no longer enough to focus on the network and endpoint security.

This can help protect data, files, documents, and folders stored and used by the users throughout its lifecycle and during its motion and distribution both internally and externally within organizations. However, the security solution should not be disruptive to the workflow of end users and allow IT, security, or privacy administrators to access the protected data for auditing or checking out mischievous employee behaviour.


What prevents organizations from implementing data-centric security solutions?

Some organization face certain challenges that prevent them from implementing multi-layer, multi-stakeholder, cohesive data security approaches to prevent data breaches. Some of these challenges are:

  • The organization may be experiencing an exponential growth in the volume and use of sensitive data.

  • The organization may be having varied data repositories that need protection such as file servers, big data platforms, heterogeneous databases, cloud-based file-sharing services, data collaboration systems, etc.

  • The organization may be trying to excerpt maximum value from data on order to support its ever-expanding array of business processes. This may lead to duplication and migration of data across repositories.

  • The organization may be having a tight budget that demands more work with less resources.


What comprises a typical data protection strategy?

A typical data-centric security strategy consists of:

Discovery and classification: You must know how much sensitive data you have and its location. This data then needs to be classified by tagging files with metadata to indicate the type of information the files contain.

Encryption: For protecting sensitive data from theft or misuse, it needs to be encrypted using a strong algorithm. The most secure form of encryption is persistent encryption. It remains with data during rest and while in motion.

Privileged user monitoring: There is need to monitor the privileged user database access and activities. This ensures separation of duties.

Data loss prevention (DLP): Data loss prevention or data leakage prevention inspects and protects the data in motion. It is most effective in integration with an encryption key management solution.

Reporting and auditing: As data volumes increase, there is need to monitor, log, and report data structure changes. Thus, robust reporting and auditing tools are important for internal control and to establish the organization’s compliance with data protection mandates.

End-user training: Employees need to be trained regarding the data protection strategy through proper education though automation of certain steps will make the process easy for them.


Manual and automated data-centric security

Some organizations opt for manual intensive tools for data security by providing training to their employees for the same while other go for a fully automated data-centric security.


Is manual data-centric security efficient?

The manual control of data security using a few manual intensive tools may not be able to minimize the risk truly. It may leave data open to network intrusion in some instances like cases of data theft or cases when the employees believe that the data they are handling is not sensitive or they forget to protect the data manually.

Thus, though manual data-centric security management may be a cost-effective solution, it may lead to uncertainty and doubt. This may cause a higher cost to the organization as compared to the cost of an automated data-centric security solution. The damage caused to the reputation of the organization may be still higher than the financial loss and may never be restored.


Is automated data-centric security the best approach?

Because of the strong encryption features and administrative controls, automated data-centric security solution fully minimizes the risk to data. Administrative controls can be implemented through policy management. For enforcing data protection and standards on data stored in the devices at the organization or endpoints, policy management plays an important role. Also, a contingency key should be included for accessing encrypted data by security administrators. This is needed for auditing or in a situation when an employee leaves the organization.


What are the essential features and functions of a robust data-centric security solution?

  • A centrally managed security policy needs to be enforced in the organization for the use of data security.

  • Use strong encryption for securing files, file names, e-mail messages and attachments irrespective of security format or computing platform to protect data of the organization.

  • Enable a continuous user workflow and integrate it to the desktop and office computing applications such as Word, Excel, Outlook, etc. to reduce complexity.

  • Make sure that encrypted data is accessible on mobile devices.

  • Secure files using digital certificates of PKI encryption and/or complex passwords to reduce exposure to sensitive data.

  • Ensure that sensitive temporary files that have been deleted by shredding cannot be recovered.

  • Use a command line interface or API to provide easy adaption into in-stream applications and job streams.

  • In order to access encrypted files by the IT administrator during emergencies, for audit purpose, or to protect the organization against malicious behaviour of any employee, ensure contingency key support.

It is not an option but a need for organizations to consider data protection as their top security priority. With a data-centric security strategy, the organization frees itself from the outdated protection systems making it easy to manage cyber threats. Thus, a mobile app development company can gain maximum benefit in the market based on the current scenario that prioritizes data-centric security.