Data-centric Security: an in depth look at data security defense

What is a Data Centric Security Strategy for Cloud?

All security is data security. What’s different about the cloud is that data is more prolific and more dynamic than ever before. Given data’s new place in modern business as the new currency between businesses and between businesses and consumers it’s natural that a data-centric security strategy is needed.
A data-centric security strategy for the cloud must start by integrating fully with the public cloud itself, using modern, cloud-native approaches. Within virtually every enterprise are hundreds of technologies and apps that store, use and share data in the cloud. These tools can be managed by cloud service providers (AWS S3 buckets, Google Cloud Storage, Azure Blob Storage, etc.), IT (AWS RDS) and even developers or operations teams (database that runs on an EC2 or a Kubernetes node). Furthermore, each technology is configured and used differently on a daily basis. These architectures are complex, dynamic and constantly changing, which increases risk dramatically over legacy data management.

As these environments are so dynamic, a cloud-native tool or application is critical for companies seeking a place in the future. A cloud-native tool or application is designed to utilize the cloud service provider’s (CSP) native APIs for complete visibility to the environment.

Why do Companies Need a Data Centric Security Strategy?

Last year, organizations saw the highest average cost of a data breach in 17 years, with costs rising from $3.86 million USD in 2020 to $4.24 million USD in 2021. As a result, overburdened security teams are consistently trying to stay on top of the latest threats, vulnerabilities and hacker tactics.

$4.24M

Average cost to remediate
a breach in 2021

Complicating matters even more is the rapid adoption of the public cloud, which has surged from $270 million USD in 2020 to an estimated $397 million USD in 2022. This fast-paced digital transformation gave way to the rapid development of digital products and services. Unfortunately, the cloud has also blurred the security perimeter and opened up more opportunities for attackers to exploit data.

$397M

Public Cloud Services
Spending in 2022

While chasing down cyber adversaries and attempting to reduce the opportunities for hackers to attack seems like the right step to take, many security teams are missing the point: the data itself.

3 Steps for Data Centric Security

Data has gone from a commodity to a currency. As a result, it is just as valuable for attackers as it is for business. Having a solid understanding of the latest cyberthreats is important, but just as critical of an issue is that security teams are almost blind when it comes to data residing in public cloud infrastructure due to the sprawl of cloud services and pace of change for devops.

And how can you protect what you can’t see?

There are three critical steps that security teams must put into motion if they want to maintain efficient and adequate visibility of sensitive data within public cloud environments and ultimately bolster security posture.

Step 1: Find a Cloud-Native Security Tool

In cybersecurity, there is no one size fits all solution. However, the cloud is an ever-changing environment which means the solutions must change too. Cloud native security solutions can now be built into an organization’s public cloud infrastructure to combat data breaches by autonomously discovering data stores and continuously analyzing and remediating risks or leaks. 

Too often do data security professionals and leaders find themselves unable to see the full picture of their data. Ensuring your security solution can integrate with cloud infrastructure allows for a seamless transition and visibility, identifying data that resides in the shadows.

With the ever-expanding public cloud, and how bloated with data they are becoming, CISOs everywhere are scared about their unknown and unprotected data stores. Criminals are capitalizing on this and repeatedly breaking through these systems due to the rapidly changing landscape – our defenses must adapt.

Step 2: Monitoring and Protecting Your Treasured Data

As previously mentioned, a company’s sensitive data can and will be copied and backed up. It is an organization’s responsibility to ensure that this data can be properly monitored and protected with a cloud data security platform. This responsibility can only be achieved by understanding the data, where it is, and where it is going. Security relies heavily on known variables hence a solution without full visibility compromises the entire organization’s security posture.

85%

of data breaches
involve human element

Whether accidentally or intentionally, human error can cause devastating losses both financially and socially for a company. Up to 85 percent of data breaches now have a human element. All organizations must understand data exposure, who is within their system and why they should be accessing public cloud data at all times, otherwise organizations risk losing their treasure trove.

Step 3: Create a Data Centric Security Plan

The “Achilles heel” in cybersecurity is too often, a leadership team with their heads in the sand. Far too many organizations believe themselves to be immune to the current ransomware crisis looming over industries across the board. It is essential to have an incident response plan and team in place. Excruciating detail should be provided for the roles that each core pillar of an organization should play during an ongoing crisis. Proactive monitoring of the crown jewels allows security teams to be notified of abnormalities and access risks that was not possible a few years ago. This Zero-Trust approach to data allows for less human error and more power into security operation centers.

Prioritize a Data Centric Security Strategy

Accepting that technology is fluid and ever-changing will dramatically assist security teams and leaders when it comes to protecting an organization. The cloud is here to stay, and it is being relied upon even more as the pandemic ensues and teams continue to work off-site. Thus, finding the appropriate solution for an organization’s security needs must become a foundational level priority moving forward. Personal and corporate data should be protected as the treasure trove it truly is. Efficient and effective Public Cloud solutions should be able to monitor and protect data silos, revealing what data is hiding in the shadows. It is important to remember that it is incredibly costly for business and reputation if cyber adversaries sell their treasure trove of data to the highest bidder.

Amit Shaked

Amit Shaked is CEO & Co-founder at Laminar. Prior to Laminar, Amit was a group leader for deep learning and AI at Magic Leap, a software development manager at the Israel Defense Forces, and a lead developer at the Israel Defense Forces.

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