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A Comprehensive Guide to Data Security: Monitoring How Data Is Used

Welcome to the third installment of our comprehensive guide on data security. Building on our previous discussions about mapping, classifying, and establishing ownership of data, we now turn our focus to the critical aspect of monitoring data usage in real-time. It’s essential to understand not just where and how our data is stored, but also how it's accessed and utilized daily. This continuous vigilance is key to safeguarding our data against emerging threats and ensuring its proper use.



 

In the realm of data security, understanding and protecting "Data at Rest" and "Data in Motion" is crucial. Data at Rest encompasses all data stored statically, such as in databases or on hard drives, and while seemingly inactive, it is a rich target for cyber-attacks, necessitating rigorous protection measures. Data in Motion, however, deals with data as it moves through networks, facing threats from unauthorized access and leaks during transit. Securing both states requires a targeted approach, with constant monitoring and strict data handling policies to mitigate risks and ensure data integrity.


Monitoring Data at Rest:

Data at Rest refers to data that is stored in a static state, often residing in databases, file systems, or storage devices. While it may seem like dormant data poses fewer threats, it can be a prime target for attacks, as it represents a cumulative wealth of information. Protection here emphasizes safeguarding from unauthorized access, breaches, and inadvertent changes.

To fortify the security of Data at Rest, it is essential to implement comprehensive event collection across all platforms that handle data. This involves meticulously tracking who creates, reads, modifies, and deletes information, as well as monitoring any alterations to data permissions. Such vigilance is crucial for detecting potential security breaches or policy violations.

Building upon this foundation of event collection, integrating user behavior analytics is a pivotal next step. By analyzing usage patterns, organizations can detect abnormal activities, such as unauthorized access to highly sensitive data—be it personnel records or financial information. This level of scrutiny aids in uncovering not just internal threats, but also external ones like attempts at data exfiltration or destruction indicative of ransomware attacks.

Having a sophisticated solution in place that promptly alerts your security team when these anomalies are detected is imperative. It ensures that any potential threat is addressed swiftly, mitigating the risk of data compromise.

Finally, continuous auditing of data access is a non-negotiable aspect of a robust security posture. It provides an ongoing review mechanism to ensure that compliance standards are maintained and that any unauthorized access is promptly investigated and rectified. Establishing these measures forms a proactive defense against data vulnerabilities and enhances the overall integrity of your data management systems.

 

Monitoring Data in Motion:

Contrastingly, data in motion describes data actively being transferred or processed, be it across internal networks or through external connections. The dynamism of this state makes it susceptible to interceptions, leaks, or unauthorized modifications during transit.

In addressing the intricacies of Data in Motion, it's critical to underscore the importance of effective data classification and the application of sensitivity labels. Properly tagging data ensures clear understanding of its importance and regulates its movement to maintain compliance and security standards within an organization.

To this end, organizations must implement robust systems that manage and control the flow of sensitive data. These systems should oversee the data's journey across all communication and collaboration channels, including company emails, file-sharing platforms, and various endpoints such as workstations and mobile devices. Establishing comprehensive governance policies that define and monitor the pathways of sensitive information is essential in preventing data leaks and ensuring that sensitive data remains within the safe confines of the organization's controlled environment. These measures are foundational to a security strategy that addresses the challenges of protecting data as it moves within and beyond the corporate perimeter.

 

Eevabits Data Risk & Security Assessment

As we navigate the complexities of data security, it becomes apparent that safeguarding "Data at Rest" is a foundational pillar in a robust data protection strategy. While we have discussed the importance of monitoring both Data at Rest and Data in Motion, let's shift our focus to how we can enhance the security of data that is stored statically within our systems.

The Eevabits Data Risk & Security Assessment serves as a critical tool for fortifying the security of "Data at Rest". By taking a detailed snapshot of an organization's user base and their interactions with data, the assessment offers invaluable insights into data usage patterns and ownership. It casts a revealing light on how various departments engage with data, helping to clarify ownership and identify any deviations from the norm that may signal unauthorized or malicious access. Crucially, this snapshot has the ability to unearth traces of ransomware that might have previously gone undetected, thus preventing potential future breaches.

The ultimate value of this assessment lies in its ability to facilitate the classification of sensitive data. By clearly identifying the data that demands the highest security, it sets the stage for future labeling of data and a seamless integration with Data Loss Prevention (DLP) solutions. The assessment provides a strategic starting point for organizations to begin their journey of safeguarding their most valuable data assets, ensuring that the integrity and confidentiality of this data are preserved within the DLP framework.

In essence, the Eevabits assessment is more than just a security measure; it's a transformative step towards a more secure and resilient data management approach, providing organizations with the clarity and direction needed to protect their data where it resides.



 

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