Data is the new uranium
I just love a good analogy, don’t you? Let’s explore an analogy I keep hearing over and over again where data is likened to uranium.
As you may already know, data has become one of the world’s most valuable resources and is the new currency of the world. Some claim it’s as valuable as oil. Some suggest that it’s even more valuable than oil and comparable in value to uranium. That’s right, data is the new currency and a good approach to data protection is to think about data as if it is as valuable as uranium. Full stop. Let’s dig into this…and discover why this analogy works so well.
Uranium and data are very dangerous if misused
Uranium is radioactive, making it hazardous because of its instability and very dangerous if misused. Data can also be misused in many ways, such as by attackers in a wide scale data breach of government or corporate data which could lead to blackmail, reputational damage, financial or other issues to the individuals whose data may have been compromised. The very personal nature of the data that organizations track about their users means that it can be weaponized against the users and against the organizations collecting and using that data. Just look at Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, Google, Uber, Morgan Stanley]—all have very famous examples of data misuse in the real world.
Uranium and data both have actual monetary value
Units of physical uranium are publicly listed on the market and can be bought and sold just like stocks. Data too, can be monetized, as demonstrated by the world’s five most valuable companies dealing in it. Having the right data can lead to ad revenues, product innovation, and just general market domination. Having lots of the right data can make you extremely rich (Apple, Microsoft, Google, Amazon, and Facebook).
Uranium and personal information are powerful sources of “fuel”
Uranium is widely used to fuel nuclear energy plants. Data is used to fuel AI adoption and digital transformation. Organizations that harness it well enable their people, their decisions, experiences, technologies, and so on. For the end user like myself, it drives our behavior through the innovations we can experience. It’s used to unlock your iPhone, it drives better customer experiences, it is THE fuel for digital transformation!
Uranium and data must both be controlled and disposed of properly
There are numerous rules around data and uranium, and when they are not being used, they need to be protected and disposed of. Just as one would not use radioactive uranium for unrelated items (i.e., a paperweight), data should not be used outside of its intended purpose. The same goes for disposal: there are very specific ways to dispose of uranium, and increasingly strict laws around the world ensuring that data, too, must be disposed of properly, so it can not be found and reused (or abused) in the future.
Ok, I think you get it now, so what does all this mean?
It’s time to take a closer look at how we secure data and treat it with the value and danger that it can hold. Think about it, you wouldn’t have a haphazard approach to how you keep your uranium secure, would you?The same more strict approach should go for handling data. Digital transformation is an unstoppable force that continues to accelerate and gain momentum…making the fuel that is data directly accessible to just about anyone and everyone who needs it within the organizations that deal in it in today’s world. There are no more “walls” to close off the perimeter, when you move to the cloud everything is an API-first approach. That means that we need a data-centric approach to our security that takes additional steps to ensure the data is safe from improper or harmful use.
Proper permissions are imperative for data, along with full observability in real time, in order to remediate or secure it.
Educating, training, and proper permissions for security and governance teams to understand and secure cloud data should be top of mind, which will significantly reduce the risk of being compromised. The pace of change alone is so rapid that the data in the cloud is largely invisible to these teams, and cloud data that is unknown and invisible means it is often unprotected, exposed, and vulnerable to both external and internal threats.
Stay in the offense, don’t allow your cloud data to be unprotected, exposed, and vulnerable to breaches. It’s high time you future-proof operations to reach your transformation goals. It’s time to take steps to better understand what data you have, and where it resides. What are you waiting for?
Data is valuable beyond measure, like uranium.
To sum it all up, I must say one more time—uranium, like data, is extremely valuable and should be treated as such—as one of the world’s most valuable (and vulnerable) resources. This means protecting “your crown jewels,” your most important data, from internal or external corruption and illegal access needs always be top of mind.
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