According to market analyst firm IDC, file data accounts for nearly 80% of business data and has been growing at a rate of 60% every year. With such overwhelming growth in the volume of sensitive data files, persistent insider threats and complex regulatory mandates for data protection, there is immense pressure on organizations to secure confidential data. Also, conventional file security approaches have failed in providing complete protection, as these methods have several limitations.
More often than not, organizations are unable to handle data security challenges because they are mostly unaware of the status of their file data security. And hence, assessing the file security posture of your organization is crucial in overcoming data security issues. Here are some questions that can help you assess the data security posture in your company:
- 1. Who controls/owns file data? The critical nature of data and its relevance to the business is often best understood by data owners. Hence they are responsible for protecting file data. But if your organization is unable to specifically identify data owners, then it is an indication that your file data might be at risk. On the other hand, if you have a clear idea of who your data owners are, it is easier to ensure that they work with other groups responsible for compliance and data security.
- 2. Who is accessing your data? To efficiently keep track of who is using the data and for what purpose, auditing is a prerequisite. An audit log can establish who the data owner is, who has access to file data, when or how frequently they access sensitive data, etc. Audit logs also help identify security lapses and the reasons for these lapses. Hence, if your organization does not have a continuous auditing trail, your file data is at high risk.
- 3. Who has file access rights? Many security regulations require organizations to have clear visibility of file access rights. While this is a best practice to ensure data security, it is also essential to demonstrate compliance and reconsider or remediate excessive access. Your organization should therefore be able to monitor and report data access rights on an ongoing basis in order to prevent security breaches.
- 4. Do you know when there is a policy violation? Several organizations give excessive access rights, but do not review these rights periodically. If your organization is one of them, then your data is at risk. Access rights review cycles are very important as they help identify policy violations. By thoroughly analyzing access rights and file access activity, you can easily determine whether a violation has taken place. If this process is automated, problems can be detected and addressed as soon as the violation occurs.
While IT compliance mandates and data security concerns can be very challenging, you can effectively overcome these challenges by addressing the above questions. It is also a good idea to opt for integrated solutions for file activity monitoring, rights access, user rights management and compliance management. Such a solution can not only help address the above questions but also provide a comprehensive system of IT security and governance.