Data governance and security flywheel
Blog Post

The Data Governance Flywheel

A balanced, self-optimizing approach to maximizing data value while minimizing risk

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Data is one of your company’s most valuable intellectual property assets. Your most sensitive data drives your ability to innovate and create contextually relevant interactions and engagements with your customers, partners, and suppliers. The more you know about them, the more effectively you can serve them and meet their needs. And doing that leads to unprecedented business success.  

But we don't believe utilizing this data should force you to live with increased risk. You should be able to allow the appropriate people to have access to relevant data when they need it, without fear of negative repercussions. With ALTR’s industry leading approach to knowing, controlling and protecting your data you can have both: you can leverage data to its full value while reducing risk to near zero.  

Truly know your data

Many data governance solutions focus just on creating intelligence around data itself by discovering, classifying, and cataloging sensitive data. This provides a necessary foundation but leaves a significant gap in “knowing your data.” How can you really know your data if you don’t know what your data is doing?  

ALTR’s unique data consumption intelligence technology delivers rich reporting on data usage that allows you to observe and understand how data is consumed throughout the normal course of business – who’s accessing data, when and how much. You can see how different roles and different users touch different types of data over weeks and months via ALTR’s exclusive heatmap for data consumption intelligence. You can comprehend which individuals need access daily versus monthly. You can also see how automated services such as marketing programs or analytics platforms need specific data at specific times.  

This holistic yet detailed visibility enables a comprehensive understanding of how data flows through the enterprise, so you can map out what represents normal. Without this knowledge, how will you know if a request for a large amount of data at an off hour is a threat or just a standard business process? In the absence of knowing normal, everything looks abnormal. We can help you arrive at that understanding of normal quickly, and from this powerful vantage point, you’ll have the capacity to detect and respond to abnormal requests for data in real-time before they can even execute. Having this baseline understanding positions you to start building refined data access controls.  

Custom-fit control of your data

The goal of data access controls should be to limit access to data to only legitimate uses, to prevent misuse or misappropriation, without adding unnecessary friction to business processes. The body of knowledge you gather from seeing how data is used normally allows you to create policies that are not arbitrary, but instead custom fit to how your business actually works. When you know what valid usage looks like, you can put consumption policies in place to control data efficiently without constricting the business.  

With ALTR’s platform, you can easily, with no-code required, create granular policies that automatically block access to sensitive data completely, dynamically mask data, or set consumption thresholds based on risk. Our active controls can not only limit access of data to specific users, but also allow preset actions predicated on those controls such as logging the request, sending an alert, or stopping access entirely.  

Then these actions themselves become signals that increase your knowledge of data usage. You can see how often a threshold was exceeded, and you can then adjust and tweak your policies based on what you learn. If, for example, you thought a certain role only needed 10,000 rows once a week, but every 4 weeks, they actually need 50,000 for month-end reporting, you can modify your policy to allow that expected activity. You will no longer have to address an anomaly that really isn’t while also removing an impediment to the user. You can also set rate alerts at significant milestones such as 100, 1000, 10,000 and 100,000 records which then allow you to build a distribution curve of the most common access requests to least so you can easily home in on requests that are out of normal.  

Over time, these controls also provide a body of knowledge that continues to grow every time an alert is triggered. The insights you gather put you in a better position to protect your data.

ALTR Data Governance Flywheel

More effectively protect your data

At each stage of this system, your understanding of legitimate data usage gets more precise and your controls around data access become more granular. This helps the abnormal requests stand out, shining a light on activities that might indicate a real threat. With ALTR, you can detect and respond to those anomalies in real time, alert your security team to potential threats through your enterprise security SIEM or SOAR, and completely, immediately stop data from being viewed or accessed. And for the most sensitive data, you can preemptively tokenize it to ensure that it’s secure at rest, in use, and in transit.  

And again, the signals and alerts you receive when threats arise in this stage help you better understand where dangers exist and optimize your policies around those. This allows you to enable greater freedom of data use where needed but also tighten your data protections where necessary to reduce risk.  

A continually optimized data governance and security flywheel

By utilizing ALTR’s unified solution for knowing, controlling, and protecting your data wherever it lives, you can build a self-perpetuating system or flywheel that creates a feedback loop, relaying relevant insights so you can continually refine policies and optimize efficacy at each stage. The more you know about how data is being used, the better you can control it. And the better you control data, the better you can protect it across the enterprise.

With ALTR, you can maximize the full value of your data while continually minimizing the risk.  

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