Data has become the most important asset of virtually any company. It fuels decision making, personalized offerings, efficiency, automation, and, ultimately, competitiveness. Like any fuel, it’s only valuable if you use it, but unlike oil or gasoline, data loses some of its value when stored. Although historical data has worth, some data’s peak value is when it’s generated and immediately available to the people who need it.
Delaying the flow of data could negatively impact a business’ ability to:
Receiving any of that data after the fact has little value -- other than to show a business how it could have prevented a problem.
As companies advance their digital transformation, they are transitioning tasks such as document management and team collaboration to the cloud. Cloud solutions can enhance operations and deliver insights that can help employees do their jobs more efficiently – but not if data protection solutions slow those insights down.
Cloud solutions give companies greater access to data and, often, greater freedom to share it both within their organizations and with external business partners or customers. To ensure that data sharing complies with corporate policies, companies may deploy security solutions, such as identity access management (IAM), strong authentication controls, or data loss prevention technologies.
The old data protection model was known for adding steps to employees’ workflows to ensure that sensitive data wasn’t accidentally (or intentionally) shared. Unfortunately, employees, especially those always in a time crunch, look for the fastest ways to do their jobs and may disable security requirements or worse, attempt to circumvent the protected systems entirely.
An overabundance of hoops that employees have to jump through to prove that they’re performing their jobs properly can also have a negative impact on company culture. Some employees may feel that “big brother” is watching, which can decrease enthusiasm for data protection solutions even more.
When employees don’t use those solutions, the business loses visibility into employees’ activities, the types of data they’re sharing internally and externally, and whether they’re complying with data protection policies. And they may only find out how sensitive data fell into the wrong hands after receiving a fine from a regulatory agency.
There is a solution to the data protection vs. streamlined workflow challenge: trust but verify. You need to trust users to make decisions that align with company policy, but you need to maintain oversight.
Maintaining visibility into whether employees follow company policies when accessing and sharing data stored in the cloud will show that they’re complying or not and provides an audit trail. It also gives security teams and managers opportunities to intervene and correct small missteps by an employee before something worse might happen.
The technology necessary to power this type of solution leverages data science and continuous monitoring to detect risks and anomalous behavior. Instead of requiring users to install cumbersome software or pass through numerous gates just to get normal work completed, it runs in the background transparently understanding all actions to detect intentional or unintentional data risks. Business leaders can empower their employees to take ownership of their projects and make their own decisions, and the technology confirms that those activities align with data protection policies. The solution will also provide security teams with alerts in real time that helps them remediate errors and protect minor issues from evolving into regulatory noncompliance or a serious data breach.
A LogicMonitor and IDC study revealed that 83 percent of enterprise workloads would be in the cloud by 2020, and Gartner research found that the pandemic accelerated growth in specific areas, such as Desktop as a Service, estimated to grow by more than 95 percent in 2020. With employees accessing, storing, and sharing more data in the cloud, there is more of an opportunity for it to fall into the wrong hands.
With the right technology, however, businesses can enable streamlined workflows that help employees be the most productive while still giving leaders the visibility they need to protect their data. Legacy solutions that required employees to pass through slow and frustrating security gates are not the answer in cloud environments where business and collaboration are happening constantly. The optimal solution supports the speed and convenience that cloud applications offer so that companies can get the most value from their data while still ensuring a high level of data protection.
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