Four Questions to Ask Before Choosing a Cloud Data Security Tool

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Read more about author Amit Shaked.

The cloud was the driving force behind much of the digital transformation sparked by COVID-19. Public cloud applications and services allowed enterprises to support employees as they shifted to a fully remote workforce, and now many major components of day-to-day business are on the cloud. In fact, the cloud market is projected to amount to $832.1 billion by 2025.

Enterprises should take advantage of all that the dynamic nature of the cloud environment offers and the sprawl of new public cloud apps and services. However, the rapid changeover to the cloud has also brought about some challenges. 

Cloud transformation has introduced significant changes to cybersecurity practices, workflows, and acceptable solutions – which have all introduced risk. According to my company’s recent report, one in two companies experienced a cloud breach in the past two years. Perhaps the biggest contributing factor behind this alarming trend is unknown or “shadow” data. Shadow data is company data that is likely copied, backed up, or housed in a data store that is not governed under the same security structure, nor kept up to date. With more and more data being moved to the cloud, it’s easy for data security professionals to lose track of it. As a result, 82% of data security professionals are concerned about shadow data on their networks. 

Let’s face it: Enterprises need strong, more automated security in cloud-based environments to keep data safe. But where should data security professionals start? 

There is enterprise data security on-premises and cloud security for infrastructure, but very few solutions on the market secure data for everything organizations build and run in the cloud. With so much on the line, data security decision-makers must take their time and do their due diligence to truly evaluate a solution before incorporating it into their network. It’s important to ask the following questions to gauge whether the solution will accurately be able to monitor and protect cloud data.

Does the solution embed data security within the cloud architecture? 

With organizations in a race to the cloud to maintain their competitive advantage, challenges in cloud-native and multi-cloud environments are popping up fast. By searching for a tool that automatically builds data security into cloud architecture, data security professionals can easily optimize for security. Data will stay safe within the cloud with only metadata sent out.

Can the solution discover and secure shadow data? 

Increasing democratization of data in the cloud is creating one of the largest risk areas, and shadow data is a primetime example. Discovering and securing this data autonomously will give security teams the advantage they need to gain complete observability to remediate and secure data across the cloud. 

Will the solution enforce sensitive data security posture? 

An organization’s data security team should be able to easily keep up with the cloud. For that to be a reality, the team must be aware of where the sensitive data is located and who has access to it. The platform should provide automated verification of data security posture and guided remediation so that data security teams can overcome data governance challenges as they arise.

How will the tool ensure compliance? 

Despite its innate flexibility, the public cloud can make compliance considerably more challenging for organizations. And without adhering to regulations, companies could face thousands of dollars in fines and reputational damages. Data security professionals need to select a cloud data security tool that automates discovery and control to ensure compliance efficiently. The ideal course of action is Data Security Posture Management (DSPM), which enforces optimal data security practices and data policy, directs remediation, and minimizes attack surfaces. 

The Cloud Is Here to Stay – Don’t Leave Data Security Professionals in the Dark 

Given that the cloud is here to stay, data security teams must have the visibility and resources necessary to successfully manage the risks associated with cloud data. Without the appropriate tools, today’s security professionals will remain paralyzed by fear of the unknown and leave themselves open to attack. 

Data security teams can identify leaks and address them more quickly by using a cloud-native, agentless solution that monitors unauthorized data access in real time and looks for unusual behavior in access logs. By asking the above questions and partnering with the right solutions, data security professionals can once again feel in control of their data.

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