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For Cloud Adopters, Data Privacy Day Is an Occasion for Both Hesitancy and Hope

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Read more about author Keith Neilson.

Data Privacy Day is an occasion that brings decidedly mixed emotions for those who rely on the cloud to do business. On the one hand, it’s a day to celebrate the importance of data privacy and the very real advances that have been made by enterprises to ensure it. On the other hand, it’s a day to recognize the remaining data privacy risks – and redouble efforts to mitigate them.  

Data privacy not only ranks among the public as a top priority, it’s also a major concern for entire business sectors, such as the finance industry, that struggle for responsible ways to ensure data privacy as they expand the reach and digital nature of their operations. These concerns are important, but there’s good news from my perspective as a longtime cloud professional working with some of the largest multinational companies. 

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That’s because powerful tools and techniques for cyber asset management are increasingly available to help companies ensure stronger data privacy, especially as they adopt newer technologies that pose new risks, while still remaining agile enough with their data to stay innovative and scalable in their operations.

Navigating a Demanding Regulatory Landscape

Data privacy is not just a good idea, it’s an enterprise mandate that’s enforced by strong regulation. Within the United States alone, a skein of disparate federal and state laws exist to regulate many forms of data, such as credit or health information, and protect specific populations, such as children. 

Given the global, digitized nature of commerce, companies in the United States are also affected by the European Union’s expansive General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and other regulations. This compliance landscape is ever-expanding, including GDPR-inspired governance mechanisms such as the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), which gives private individuals additional legal rights – including the right to sue – over their private data.

Against this backdrop, organizations must thread the needle as they expand cloud architectures and grow their capabilities – such as artificial intelligence and machine learning, Internet of Things, edge computing, and enhanced collaboration platforms for remote workers – without expanding attack surfaces for data breaches. Thankfully, businesses are increasingly seeing that cyber asset management can help achieve this delicate balance.

Cyber Asset Management Can Solve the “Seamless vs. Secure” Conundrum

Data Privacy Day is the perfect occasion to elevate the role of cyber asset management as a  top priority for every organization. After all, companies cannot ensure compliance and data security unless they have visibility and control over their cyber assets. Comprehensive cyber asset visibility allows proactive management to identify misconfigurations and automatically prioritize risks to improve overall security posture. In doing so, this helps cloud professionals honor the nagging caveat that has shadowed the entire history of data privacy efforts: how to ensure security without degrading the seamlessness of the digital enterprise experience.  

Perhaps nowhere is this “Seamless vs. Secure” balancing act more relevant in the cloud than in enterprise access management. Behavioral biometrics, liveness detection, and other cutting-edge authentication techniques involve a much more complex set of cyber assets and policies. Those assets and policies must be optimized to strike the right balance of security with seamlessness: Too many hurdles to authentication and the systems become too cumbersome for authorized users; too few safeguards and the frictionless experience is also fraught with cyber-risk. 

In authentication and many other enterprise business and operational settings, cyber asset management will increasingly be the codex for striking the right balance in protecting data privacy while still ensuring smooth, agile, and scalable enterprise operations. In that sense, Data Privacy Day is cause for celebration. When all assets are properly known, tagged, and mapped, cloud teams can help secure the whole IT environment and the sensitive data that’s coursing through it.

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