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Is your data getting out of hand?

by Jamie Manuel

 

Information handling has gotten cumbersome for most organizations. Business is generating so much data that companies don’t even know where all of their data resides or what type of information all those files and folders contain.

 

One of the biggest obstacles to a well-defined information handling strategy is that many organizations struggle to accurately identify data as employees use and share it in their day-to-day work. These organizations struggle to create and deploy reliable processes for improving information handling — to help people understand what data they’ve got, where it is stored and how sensitive it is. They also need tools to help ensure that it is protected.

 

The risks of poor information handling are enormous. If a company’s sensitive data gets into the wrong hands, what could that mean for the business? Well, let’s say a cybercriminal hacks into a corporate system and gets a hold of customer data that includes contact information, credit card information, birth dates and other personal details. That organization has got a whole lot of trouble on its hands— liability to the customers whose data was stolen, the costs associated with recovering from the breach and potential damage to the corporate brand.

 

What if an employee accidentally emails a new product design plan to an outside party, who then forwards it on to another and another? What if a competitor gets a hold of it? There goes a company’s competitive edge.

 

As threats to the security of data have grown in number and sophistication, industry and geographic data regulations have become more complicated and stricter than ever, with hefty fines if not followed. Penalties for GDPR noncompliance, for example, can be up to €20 million, or 4 percent annual global turnover — whichever is higher — of an organization’s worldwide annual revenue.

 

These regulations are only partially about protecting sensitive personal and business data; they’re equally about making sure organizations are up to date on how they should be handling sensitive information.

 

Digital tools for identifying and properly categorizing data can help businesses develop a comprehensive data protection strategy to meet these challenges efficiently and accurately by simplifying processes and taking the guesswork out of the equation. Within the flow of regular work, data protection solutions suggest sensitivity levels (i.e., “classified,” “restricted” or “public”) that users can select and use to make information handling decisions. Properly identifying and categorizing data can happen as information is generated, as it moves around via email and uploads to the cloud, and also as it is stored. These protections become part of the way people work — or simply, the way they handle information.

 

We’ve written a white paper that goes a bit deeper into some of the issues around information handling and how various technologies can lend a hand:

 

  • Digital policy managers work within user workflows to help organizations implement information handling best practices that protect their data.
  • User-friendly guided selection technologies ask users simple questions to help them make better decisions about how to identify, categorize and secure information.
  • Sophisticated metadata schemas allow organizations to customize their information handling practices for greater protection within the context of a particular industry and business.
  • The analytical models within machine learning help make all of this more efficient, accurate and secure.

 

It’s also key that any data protection solution be open and flexible to allow you to put your policies into action. But it also needs to be able to communicate with the other security technologies in your IT environment, such as data loss prevention (DLP), cloud access security brokers (CASB), enterprise digital rights management (EDRM) and others.

 

Want to learn more about how you can get a handle on your data? Check out the white paper.

Jamie Manuel As Director of Product Marketing, Jamie leads go-to-market strategies for the company’s data protection solutions, including positioning and messaging across all markets, industries, customer segments and sales channels.