Data is an invaluable asset for modern businesses, but it also poses a significant risk if not protected correctly.
Security leaders often have doubts about data security, which is why data governance and Zero Trust security are essential components of protecting data assets.
Here are five guideposts shared by Microsoft Security that can help organizations protect their data more effectively:
1. Create a data map of all your data assets
You can only protect your data if you know where it is and who has access to it. A comprehensive data map should include data classifications, access information, and ownership details.
2. Build a decision and accountability framework
Document the roles and responsibilities for each asset by answering key questions, such as who is accountable for the data, how access will be granted, and how lifecycle management will be handled. Implement role-based access controls (RBAC) and monitoring and reporting processes to ensure that these controls are effective.
3. Monitor access and use policies
Document policies for each data repository, including who can access the data, how it can be shared, and how it will be used. Implement just-in-time (JIT) access or just-enough-privilege (JEP) to reduce the attack surface and eliminate standing privileged accounts.
4. Track both structured and unstructured data
Data governance should cover all data types, including structured and unstructured data shared on cloud apps, on-premises data, and shadow IT apps. It is important to capture any domains and sub-domains containing sensitive or confidential data, subject to government regulation.
5. Delete data that’s no longer needed
Many organizations pay to store "dark data" that goes underutilized in decision-making. To protect against security breaches and comply with privacy laws, it's important to regularly delete data that is no longer useful. An integrated data governance solution with intelligent machine learning capabilities can automate this process by classifying content and applying appropriate sunset policies.
By implementing these five tips, organizations can protect their data assets more effectively, and reduce the risk of data breaches.