Mar 14, 2024




Jason Albuquerque

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Businesses are increasingly turning to the cloud to manage their data democratization strategies, which is a trending approach to provide more access to valuable data across an entire organization. This shift, while offering incredible benefits in efficiency and scalability, also introduces new challenges and risks to businesses and their clients. As organizations tackle the complexities of data democratization – coupled with the risks of cloud storage – a strategic and proactive approach to cybersecurity and data protection becomes critical.

As sensitive information becomes more widely accessible, the risk of human error, data loss, and breaches rises. Additionally, the rapid migration of data to the cloud and its storage across diverse environments create countless blind spots for businesses. A lack of awareness about the location of your organization’s data can lead to data sprawl, exposure and breach fallout including fines, legal battles, reputational damage, and more.

To address these challenges, business leaders must prioritize comprehensive data security and data classification. Organizations must have visibility and oversight over their “data estate". Modern tools for real-time discovery, tracking and protection of sensitive data across multiple platforms can enable complete views of how and where data is being used, whether in the cloud or not.

Once armed with the knowledge of data locations and its contents, businesses must focus on protecting that data. Safeguarding sensitive data can be accomplished through best practices such as discovery, classification, monitoring, vulnerability assessment, and advanced threat detection.

Business leaders must also have telemetry around the usage of their data. Today’s advanced analytics allow for quickly spotting suspicious behavior, potential fraud and threat-related activities. To combat risks, we must improve our ability to monitor user activity to ensure that we are meeting our data protection obligations.

"We must prioritize monitoring sensitive data sources with well-defined policies and invest in modern solutions with advanced analytics."

Jason Albuquerque

As data sprawl continues in businesses, adopting centralized security oversight becomes incredibly important. Knowing where sensitive data resides and integrating that knowledge into the cybersecurity program ensures effective protection. Ambiguity can lead to vulnerabilities. Assigning company “data stewards” helps establish clear responsibility for data governance, promoting a culture of security. Unpatched vulnerabilities are also easy targets for cybercriminals. Implementing a thorough vulnerability management program, including regular scans, assessments and prioritized remediation, is essential. And in the era of big data and artificial intelligence, monitoring sensitive data and user behavioral activity has become critical. We must prioritize monitoring sensitive data sources with well-defined policies and invest in modern solutions with advanced analytics.

While migrating to the cloud offers numerous advantages, overlooking security issues can lead to pitfalls. A “defense in depth” strategy still holds true today to help organizations strengthen their cybersecurity. For resilience, organizations must actively identify and reduce risks beyond just “check in the box” regulatory requirements. A proactive approach involves discovering and classifying sensitive data, using analytics for risk assessment, enforcing data protection through encryption, access controls, and monitoring for unusual activity.

As businesses continue their digital transformation, adopting proactive security measures is non-negotiable. We must maintain a “security by design” culture.

Every day, we confront the constantly and rapidly evolving cyberthreats, and maintaining a “security by design” attitude with our cloud usage is vital. Collaboration with cloud security experts can be invaluable. By prioritizing strong authentication methods, access controls, data management, data classification, activity monitoring and ongoing staff training, businesses can strengthen cloud-based security. As organizations continue to embrace the power of the cloud, they must simultaneously embrace robust cybersecurity measures to safeguard their most sought-after asset – their data.