Shift Left: Governance from Source Systems to the Cloud

Shift Left™: The Importance of Governing and Securing Data From Source Systems to the Cloud

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Shift Left™: The Importance of Governing and Securing Data From Source Systems to the Cloud

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In today's fast-paced world, businesses are generating and accumulating data at an unprecedented rate. To maximize the value of data to the enterprise, any modern data architecture must contemplate how sensitive data is governed and protected across the entire data journey- from source, to the cloud, to users.

The focus for many companies is instilling effective data access governance and data security in their cloud destination, like Snowflake. However, risk, governance, compliance, and security stakeholders now recognize that those sensitive workloads should be subject to full data governance and protection before it lands in Snowflake. It’s no longer enough to rely on securing your data after it lands in a cloud data warehouse; data owners must protect data from the instant it migrates from a source system and throughout its entire journey to the cloud. This applies to data in ETL and ELT pipelines and transient storage mechanisms like GCS and Amazon S3 buckets.

ALTR’s unique architectural advantages allow any enterprise to easily extend robust data governance and security features on Snowflake upstream into data pipelines and data catalogs, guaranteeing the security of sensitive data throughout the entire data journey – something competitors cannot offer.  

With data coming from many sources and the critical importance of securing that data upstream, the ability to shift your data governance and data security implementation left has become a necessary capability for the modern data enterprise.

What Does it Mean to “Shift Left™”?

The modern data ecosystem faces a major issue with the complexity of moving highly sensitive data from on-premise systems, where it’s likely been held for years, to cloud data warehouses. Data teams are so hyper-focused on where the data lands in Snowflake that often they don’t realize that the data in motion, while traversing data pipelines, is visible in plain text. Failing to protect and secure data in motion before landing it in the cloud data warehouse represents a significant compliance risk in many highly regulated environments like Healthcare and Financial Services institutions.

“Shifting Left™” means initiating robust data governance and data security capabilities available in Snowflake and extending them back to data as it leaves source systems. Doing so ensures the policies are attached to, and remain with, the workload throughout the data journey to the cloud.

As soon as data leaves a source system and enters an ETL/ELT pipeline, that solution can call directly to ALTR through existing open-source connectors or via our Rest APIs to instrument data classification, data tagging, and data tokenization, directly in the ETL/ELT solution.

The same holds true for Data Catalogs. That means sensitive data is governed and protected from the instant it begins its journey from source to cloud. And, when those data land in Snowflake, they land with everything tagged, with active data access governance policies in place, and any highly sensitive values tokenized. Only ALTR can accomplish this because of the architectural advantages made possible through our unique integration withSnowflake. We have a growing library of open-source connectors for best-in-class solutions for ETL/ELT providers and Data Catalogs, and some providers are even building ALTR directly into their offerings (more on these exciting developments soon…).

Why is Shifting Left™ Critical for Your Data Governance Solution?

For many organizations, significant levels of compliance, governance, security, and privacy risks have yet to be rationalized for data in transit to the cloud. These gaps between Source Systems and Cloud represent major security threats and significant compliance issues for organizations operating in highly regulated environments like Healthcare and Financial Services.  

ALTR can deliver immediate time to value, closing these compliance and security gaps from source, to Snowflake, to your data consumers. No other solution on the market today can make that same claim. ALTR’s SaaS based approach to data governance and data security is unique and is why we’re the only Data Access Governance solution that can take the same powerful capabilities over Snowflake, and shift them left to orchestrate further upstream in your data architecture.

Our esteemed competitors typically require a 6-month implementation cycle for their offerings, and they often only apply to data that already exists in Snowflake. Because of their legacy architectures and proxy-based approaches, they cannot be instrumented as highly-available, cloud-native services elsewhere in the data journey. These organizations cannot shift left™ and cannot help your organization close any compliance, security, or privacy gaps that exist before data hits Snowflake.

How Can ALTR Offer a Shift Left™ Approach?

ALTR is the first and only data governance solution to build a cloud-native integration with Snowflake using its external function capabilities to bring data governance and data access into the Snowflake environment. Snowflake has incredibly powerful native capabilities for data governance, yet at scale, these can be extremely complex, time-consuming, and require hours of manual SQL coding.

ALTR’s architectural advantages allow for classification, data governance, and access controls to occur seamlessly with our point and click user interface. ALTR orchestrates data governance in Snowflake because we’ve capitalized on their powerful native capabilities, making these features infinitely easier to use at scale. ALTR removes the complexity of leveraging Snowflake to its full capacity and increases the utility of Snowflake to all customers by making it safe for highly sensitive workloads and opening it up for entirely new use cases.

ALTR is uniquely positioned to offer shift left™ capabilities because we allow you to implement data governance policy into ETL pipelines, into data catalogs, into streaming busses - anywhere in your architectural diagram that exists to the left of your cloud data warehouse.


Leaving your sensitive data unsecured and out of compliance until it reaches the cloud means it’s at significant risk of exposure.The design principles of ALTR’s highly available, cloud-native, SaaS-based offering for Snowflake makes ALTR the only Data Access Governance and Security solution that can ensure the protection of your sensitive data from source system, to cloud, to data consumer.  

See it in Action: Automate Data Control Protection with ALTR

Let us show you:

  • How we integrate with industry-leading data platforms like Snowflake
  • How you can protect data with your ETL throughout your cloud data migration with best-in-class providers like Matillion
  • How easy it is to automate data governance and security at scale directly from best-in-breed data catalogs like Alation

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