Data Security Posture Management: Proactive Protection for Valuable Data


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If you are looking for more diligent management frameworks and solutions to bolster your data and information security you might find this article interesting. If you want added protection against cyber threats for your digital assets, consider data security posture management (DSPM). It’s a comprehensive approach to identifying and managing vulnerabilities in your digital ecosystem.

If DSPM is executed properly, you are likely to have improved visibility and control over data security, allowing you to proactively mitigate risks and safeguard your assets better. Basically, DSPM could be considered in the middle of risk management and IT service management, if you ask me. Beyond that, data security posture management surely also relates to application security posture management just with a different focus.

The ABCs of DSPM

Data security posture management is a comprehensive approach that ensures the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of sensitive data. By continuously monitoring data location, access, and usage, DSPM fortifies data security, mitigates cyber threats, and promotes a secure digital environment for businesses. It provides visibility into data security, identifies risks and vulnerabilities, implements necessary controls, and maintains an effective security posture. DSPM is certainly valuable for IT departments, security teams, compliance teams, and executive leadership, but only if executed diligently. There is also a variant of this called CSPM, in which the acronym means cloud security posture management, which has a focus on cloud infrastructure. So what could an ABC for DSPM look like?

  • A is for access: DSPM establishes controls that limit the access of data to only authorized personnel. This is done by setting up roles and privileges, monitoring user activity, and ensuring access rights are properly assigned.
  • B is for breach detection: With DSPM, organizations can identify malicious activities, anomalous behaviors, or unauthorized attempts to access data. This ensures that any potential security threats or breaches are quickly flagged and addressed quickly.
  • C is for compliance: DSPM helps organizations adhere to regulatory requirements and industry standards. It also helps in maintaining the integrity of digital assets through regular audits and assessments.
  • D is for data encryption: Strong encryption techniques are used to protect sensitive data from interception or manipulation. This adds an extra layer of protection against cyber-attacks and unauthorized access to confidential information.
  • E is for education: Implementing an effective DSPM program requires education around data security posture management best practices. Regular training sessions can help cultivate a culture of safety among employees and ensure their understanding of the latest security protocols.

What do you think? Is it something worth doing? Let’s proceed with more details about these practices.

Why data security posture management matters

Have you heard of any data security issues in the news recently? It’s a thing and where cyber threats are a significant concern, data security posture management (DSPM) plays a crucial role in protecting your valuable data. As a robust and proactive early threat detection system, DSPM continuously monitors and analyzes data activities, swiftly identifying and addressing potential risks before they escalate. By taking a comprehensive approach to data security, DSPM ensures the utmost protection and integrity of your critical information, giving you peace of mind in our interconnected world where data is invaluable.

Share of organizations in Canada that took actions toward more prominent third-party risk management as of October 2021, by action type
Share of organizations in Canada that took actions toward more prominent third-party risk management as of October 2021, by action type (Image: Statista)

The benefits of DSPM

The benefits of using DSPM are vast and include improved visibility into the sensitive data that businesses process, store, and transmit. With DSPM, businesses can gain insight into their overall security posture as well as proactively manage risk by leveraging targeted controls to address vulnerabilities before they have a chance to be exploited. Additionally, DSPM provides full audit trails containing detailed information on all user activities for quick incident response and forensic analysis. Its combination of automated monitoring and user-defined controls makes it easy for businesses to maintain compliance with internal policies as well as external regulations such as CCPA or GDPR. In short, it offers a comprehensive approach to managing security threats in today’s digital environment.

Getting Started with DSPM

To implement a data security posture management (DSPM) framework effectively, collaboration among all stakeholders is crucial. By adopting a comprehensive approach, organizations can protect sensitive data and mitigate risks. Here are the key steps:

  • Gain leadership support: Senior leaders need to actively champion data security initiatives and emphasize their importance. Their commitment sets the tone for the organization, fostering a culture of data security.
  • Conduct regular audits: Periodic audits ensure data health and integrity. By identifying vulnerabilities, weaknesses, and non-compliance, organizations can proactively address concerns.
  • Provide employee training: Equip team members with skills to identify security threats and respond effectively. Ongoing training enhances data protection awareness and incident response capabilities.

By following these steps diligently, organizations establish a strong DSPM foundation, improving overall data security and privacy practices.

Real-world facts and figures about data security posture management

According to researchers from Dig Security, a Tel Aviv-based company backed by several venture capitalist organizations, more than 30% of cloud data assets contain sensitive information. Among the common types of sensitive data, personally identifiable information (PII) is the most prevalent, with over 10 million social security numbers and nearly 3 million credit card numbers discovered in a sample data set of 1 billion records. The Dig Security State of Cloud Data Security 2023 Report focuses on three key areas: identifying the types and locations of sensitive data, determining who has access to it, and understanding the flow of sensitive data.

Cloud adoption has resulted in widespread data sprawl, which increases the risk of security and compliance breaches as data is shared, copied, transformed, and potentially forgotten. The report reveals alarming statistics, such as 91% of database services with sensitive data lacking encryption at rest, 20% with disabled logging, and 1.6% exposed to the public. Additionally, over 60% of storage services were not encrypted at rest, and almost 70% lacked logging. Excessive privilege and insufficient separation of duties pose security risks, with 95% of principals granted permissions through excessive privilege and more than 35% having the privilege to sensitive data assets. Data flows also present risks, as sensitive data is accessed by an average of 14 different principals, with 6% of companies having sensitive data transferred to publicly open assets.

What solutions are out there?

There is no one solution that fits all companies out there but in case you are at the start of your research for a solution provider to augment your DSPM efforts you can have a look at companies such as Securiti, Varonis, Dig Security, Symmetry Systems, TrustLogix, or Sentra (in no particular order) but if you are already working with larger IT organizations such as IBM, for instance, you could also talk to them about their offering in this particular space.

Wrapping it Up

I don’t need to preach to you how important information security is and if you don’t care I can’t help you either but I hope that you found this information about the concept and the aspects that make data security posture management an important discipline interesting and informative. It provides a proactive approach to risk management, safeguarding valuable data from breaches and unauthorized access. Robust DSPM practices fortify organizations against a wide range of threats, emphasizing prevention over remediation. In a time of increasing data breaches, knowledge is key to protecting sensitive information and maintaining the trust of customers and stakeholders.

YouTube: What is data security posture management? Understanding DSPM – Data security revisited – Adrian Sanabria and Jonathan Roizin (hosted by Security Weekly)

Photo credit: The feature image is symbolic and has been done by Christopher Isak with Midjourney for TechAcute.

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Christopher Isak
Christopher Isak
Hi there and thanks for reading my article! I'm Chris the founder of TechAcute. I write about technology news and share experiences from my life in the enterprise world. Drop by on Twitter and say 'hi' sometime. ;)
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