What is data security posture management?

Do you know where all your organization’s data resides across your hybrid cloud environment? Is it appropriately protected? How sure are you? 30%? 50%? It may not be enough. The Cost of a Data Breach Report 2023 revealed that 82% of breaches involved data in the cloud, and 39% of breached data was stored across multiple types of environments.

If you have any doubt, your enterprise should consider acquiring a data security posture management (DSPM) solution. With the global average cost of a data breach rising to $4.45 million in 2023, it is more important now than ever to be aware and understand where your data lives, who has access to it and how it is being utilized. A DSPM solution can help your organization meet its data security and compliance needs.

What is DSPM, and how does it work?

As defined by Gartner, “data security posture management (DSPM) provides visibility as to where sensitive data is, who has access to that data, how it has been used and what the security posture of the data stored or application is.”

The DSPM approach aims to help organizations in three ways to improve their security posture: cloud data visibility, cloud data movement and cloud data protection.

  1. Cloud data visibility: Discover shadow data rapidly expanding in the cloud with autonomous data discovery. This capability provides a powerful and frictionless way to find data that sprawls within cloud service providers and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) apps. Understanding where your data resides helps to shrink your attack surface and reduce data risks.
  2. Cloud data movement: Analyze potential and actual data flows across the cloud. Identifying where and how data moves will help provide clarity on which data access controls and policies can best prevent vulnerabilities and misconfigurations.
  3. Cloud data protection: Uncover vulnerabilities in data and compliance controls and posture. DSPM gives a risk-based prioritization of data vulnerabilities and remediation recommendations to resolve potential issues rapidly.

The benefits of DSPM

Data security teams can deploy a DSPM tool to prevent risks in the following areas:

Eliminate exposed data to reduce the likelihood of a data breach or noncompliance fine.

Tying up loose ends and ensuring your data is securely shared only with the intended recipient and inaccessible to unauthorized parties help to remove the risk of a vulnerability arising. With your cloud vendors and SaaS applications, make sure to remove any sensitive information they could expose without your knowledge.

Prevent data leaks by safeguarding your valuable data and keeping it out of the wrong hands.

Closely monitoring the movement of your sensitive information as it flows between different cloud environments and various SaaS applications helps with your understanding of where and how your data is used. Data breaches across multiple environments (public cloud, private cloud and on-premises) reached a higher-than-average cost of $4.75 million.

Reduce third-party exposure by gaining a detailed perspective on third-party vendors that can access your organization’s cloud workloads.

Determining which vendors have access to sensitive data and whether they possess the necessary certifications to manage such information is a crucial part of data security. Evaluating whether maintaining or excluding their data access is appropriate should be a continuous effort. This process helps to streamline the assessment risks from external vendors and determine the best course of action to stay protected.

Monitor data transactions more efficiently and accurately.

DSPM solutions can help with overseeing data transactions between countries to help ensure compliance with regulations that require regional data retention. Identifying the pertinent services and their responsible parties to halt such data flow and maintain continuous data compliance can help ensure confidence in your security posture.

Keep data safe across your cloud environment

A DSPM solution helps organizations unify their data security efforts for cloud workloads and SaaS applications, which is the ultimate way to safeguard sensitive data from security risks. It allows data security professionals to confidently discover, classify and protect their cloud data more holistically and efficiently.

If you’re interested in learning more about DSPM, please check out “Got Sensitive Cloud? Data Security Posture Management Helps Protect It” on the @IBMTechnology YouTube channel. Ready to improve your data security posture? Start with IBM Security Guardium Insights SaaS DSPM.

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