How embarrassing: one second you’re trying to provide a third-party vendor with the information they need to perform a very specific task, and the next thing you know you’ve accidentally dangled all of your private data right in front of their eyes. Best case scenario, the vendor is kind enough to turn and look the other way while you put your unseeables back where they belong. Worst case scenario, the vendor exploits your unintended exposure by selling your vulnerability to the highest bidder.
It’s an all too common tale of the 21st century, and something every business should consider since every organization has sensitive data and countless users can access that data. Here’s why it’s so dang hard to keep data protected these days.
Risk 1: Going Global
The operations landscape nowadays is far more complex than those of previous eras. Businesses today rely on their relationships with contractors, vendors, and partners to ensure every facet of their organization is optimized, and many of those relationships are now location agnostic. Thanks to the internet, the entire world has become one big talent pool, but with cloud allowing you to be anywhere, the risk to your data has multiplied.
Risk 2: You Can’t Trust Anyone
It’s not that everyone these days is dishonest, it’s that even your most trusted business partners are capable of making an honest mistake. Without proper tools to secure data, even trustworthy vendors may see more than they should. Take, for instance, the risk posed by third-party application developers. Oftentimes, in an effort to use realistic datasets to build and maintain applications, developers end up accessing production data. This puts the development partner and the business at an increased risk of a regulatory or compliance breach, not to mention detrimental reputation loss. Improper data exposure with partners is common, and everyone from HVAC vendors (in the case of the Target breach) to medical transport providers is seeing more than they should.
Risk 3: Access-Management Tools Are Antiquated
The most common method for protecting private data is controlling access at the application level. This is definitely important to keep the bad guys out, but what about the data itself? Are you also managing what data and how much these users can consume? What happens if the user’s password is guessed or stolen by a cybercriminal? All your sensitive data is now exposed to a malicious third party with credentialed access to as much data as they like.
Risk 4: User Error
The reason these risks present themselves in the first place is because current solutions fail to focus on what it is that needs protection: data. In essence, these controls are about users, not about protecting the data itself. Newer methods use dynamic data masking and thresholds so that credentialed users can only see the minimum amount of data they need to perform their jobs and can only access a certain amount of data in a chosen time frame.
Solution: Data Security as a Service
That’s how ALTR’s Data Security as a Service delivers the privacy your data deserves. With ALTR, organizations gain a clearer understanding of the relationships between users and the actual data they are accessing. They also provide format-preserving dynamic masking of data to ensure sensitive data is hidden from unauthorized groups. Lastly, they provide real-time breach mitigation by imposing thresholds on how much data can be accessed based on normal usage patterns. By understanding who is accessing what data, and how much, businesses are better able to secure private data before it is exposed without having to re-engineer applications.
To learn more about how ALTR protects your business, download our complimentary white paper, How to Address the Top 5 Human Threats to Your Data.