Malware & Ransomware Protection

How DSPM Can Help You Discover, Classify, and Secure Your Sensitive Data

rectangle Written by: Matthew Delman rectangle 2 5 min read

The rising tide of ransomware attacks and the tightening regulatory regime globally have combined to ensure that data security is top of mind for every CISO and security leader globally. Securing sensitive data like personally identifiable information (PII), financial records, intellectual property, and healthcare data thus has a dual purpose: protect from cyberattacks and ensure regulatory compliance.

Unfortunately, many organizations struggle with a critical blind spot – they lack a clear picture of where this sensitive data resides. The increase in shadow IT makes this an even more pernicious problem; fully 30% of breaches are expected to come from data stored in a database that the security team knows nothing about.

With the average cost of a data breach at $4.45 million as of 2023, something has to be done to resolve the issue. Data Security Posture Management (DSPM) is that solution. It acts as your knight in shining armor, wielding a powerful searchlight to illuminate your data landscape. DSPM empowers you to discover, classify, and ultimately secure your sensitive information.


Data Discovery: From Darkness to Light

Data security relies on knowing where sensitive data is stored so it can be protected. This means that often hidden data repositories like shadow IT – unsanctioned applications and storage used by employees outside of official IT channels – can stymie an accurate data security strategy.

These rogue systems can harbor sensitive data, creating a significant security risk. DSPM utilizes automated discovery tools to scan across your entire environment, on-premises and in the cloud. These tools delve into databases, file shares, cloud storage buckets, collaboration platforms, and even mobile devices, leaving no stone unturned. With DSPM, you can finally gain a comprehensive inventory of all your data stores, allowing you to identify and address potential security gaps.


Data Classification: Not All Information is Created Equal

Once you’ve unearthed this hidden data, it’s crucial to understand its significance. Financial records containing Social Security numbers require a far more robust security posture, for example, than marketing campaign data. Here’s where DSPM steps in again. It helps you classify your data based on a variety of factors, including:

  • Regulatory Compliance: Certain data, like PII or healthcare data, is subject to strict regulations like GDPR and HIPAA. DSPM can help you identify this data and ensure you have the necessary security controls in place to comply. Moreover, this information can ensure that you’re able to quickly respond to data requests tied to these types of regulations.
  • Sensitivity Level: The inherent sensitivity of the data itself is crucial. Different types of data, such as financial information, intellectual property, and trade secrets require the highest level of security. Knowing where that sensitive data resides is a key part of ensuring its security.
  • Business Impact: Consider the potential impact of a breach on your organization. Certain types of data, when stolen, will have a bigger impact on your organization than others. The theft of marketing data may not matter that much in the long term, but regulatory fines for a data breach if you’re found to not have deployed the right security measures can be substantial. There could also be lost revenue in the form of churned customers over time, should you not have proper security measures in place.

Imagine a system that automatically classifies financial data as “high risk,” healthcare data as “regulated,” and marketing data falls under “low risk.” This critical step empowers security teams to prioritize their efforts and allocate resources effectively. With this information, you can then ensure that the data with the need for the tightest security has the right protections in place.

Securing Your Treasure Trove: Implementing Targeted Defenses

DSPM empowers you to implement targeted security controls on sensitive information. Keep in mind that data security has to make data simple to access for the people who have permission to do so. If the data is difficult to access, employees are as likely to break security policy to get their jobs done. Data security tools deployed in a targeted manner means that this can likely be avoided.

Targeted security controls could include things like:

  • Data Encryption: Highly sensitive information like financial records or intellectual property can be encrypted at rest, in transit, and in use, rendering it useless even if intercepted or exfiltrated.
  • Access Restrictions: Granular access controls can be implemented to ensure only authorized users can access specific data sets. Imagine restricting access to financial data to only the accounting department and senior leaders, or patient data to authorized healthcare providers.
  • Data Loss Prevention (DLP): DLP solutions can be deployed to monitor and control data movement. This can prevent sensitive data from being accidentally or maliciously leaked via email, cloud storage, or unauthorized devices.
  • Data Activity Monitoring: DSPM can continuously monitor user activity around sensitive data, allowing you to detect and respond to suspicious behavior.


The Power of Visibility: A Proactive Approach to Data Security

By employing DSPM, you gain a newfound visibility into your data landscape. This allows you to not only effectively secure your sensitive assets but also minimize the risk of data breaches and ensure compliance with data privacy regulations. In the ever-evolving world of cybersecurity, DSPM offers a powerful tool to tame the data beast and safeguard your organization’s most valuable information.

It empowers you to shift from a reactive, “patch the hole” approach to a proactive strategy that anticipates and mitigates threats before they can cause harm. DSPM is an essential investment for any organization that wants to take control of its data security posture and protect its sensitive information in the digital age.


How Sotero DSPM Secures Your Sensitive Data

The Sotero platform unifies DSPM and data detection and response into a single platform for robust defense against data threats like ransomware across all architectures. Sotero’s machine learning-powered data discovery is enabled to let technical and non-technical users define and manage sensitivity levels of specific data attributes. It’s AI empowers teams to proactively scan and flag sensitive information, for effective risk mitigation and data protection.

The Sotero solution empowers you to customize sensitivity parameters based on your data governance policies and compliance needs. These attributes can be customized to align with your specific requirements, ensuring the greatest possible flexibility in-platform and allowing for easy data classification.

Our continuous monitoring and access management capabilities ensure that you’re never caught unaware of risks and can accurately ensure that only authorized personnel access sensitive data. With this defense in place, security teams can ensure regulatory compliance and defense against critical attacks.

Sotero customers can be confident in our comprehensive data security for both structured and unstructured data, whether on premises, in the cloud, or in hybrid environments. With Sotero, DSPM is more effective and critical data becomes more secure.

To learn more, request a demo of Sotero today.



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