Before trying to better understand what enterprise data security is, it’s best to know the meaning of data security in a broader sense. In essence, data security is everything that surrounds the protection of digital data from destructive forces or unwanted actions of unauthorized users, such as from a cyberattack or data breach. Data security should be a priority for just about any business or organization from mom-and-pop shops to mid-market companies; cyberattacks and data breaches do not discriminate.
The same can be said for large enterprises with several thousand employees, though, and oftentimes, the consequences of a security incident can be even more damaging due to the nature of the data those organizations handle. Enterprises like hospitals, financial institutions, and manufacturers create, transfer, and store particularly sensitive information that, in the eyes of cybercriminals, can be far more lucrative. In this way, because enterprises require specific solutions that can handle the sheer volume and sensitivity of the data they manage, enterprise data security is often considered a highly calculated and sophisticated form of data security.
Why Does Enterprise Data Security Matter?
What often separates a security incident experienced by an enterprise from a security incident experienced by a small- or mid-size organization is the scale of the impact. For example, if a small retail business is hit with a ransomware attack, there’s no doubt that the business would need to find a means of restoring operations, whether that means paying the ransom or finding another means of stopping the attack, but the attack wouldn’t necessarily have immediate, negative repercussions for the business’ customers. On the other side of that coin, however, if an enterprise like a hospital were to be hit with that same ransomware attack, highly sensitive information like health records, financial information, social security numbers, and more could be put at risk, but more importantly, the health of patients could be put in immediate jeopardy.
In short, enterprises and their daily operations are often considered essential to the point that any disruption, breach, or attack could cause immediate, severe complications for many. That reality, in combination with the sharp rise in hybrid work environments and remote collaboration, means data is less static than ever before, there are higher chances of an accidental data breach occurring, and more attack vectors are available for criminals to exploit. As a result, enterprise data security solutions should protect data throughout its entire life cycle and must be as comprehensive and far-reaching as possible to ideally prevent security incidents from ever occurring.
Common Pain Points in Enterprise Data Security
Choosing the Right Solutions
Choosing the right data security solution(s) can be a daunting task in and of itself, particularly for enterprises that are only just beginning to ramp up their security efforts. Are there any already-known weak points in your data’s life cycle, and could any of that data cause your enterprise harm if compromised? Does your enterprise already have other security solutions in place? These are all questions worth exploring before attempting to find more solutions to add to your security plan. Otherwise, you may find that your newly implemented solutions cause more headache than protection.
Data visibility remains one of the most common pain points in enterprise data security, with a whopping 63% of respondents from our 2022 CISO Perspectives: Data Security Survey reporting that it is their organization’s biggest security challenge. Particularly for large enterprises, whose thousands of employees handle sensitive data daily, being able to locate where that data moves can be a tricky task without the proper solutions in place. If those enterprises don’t know where their sensitive data lies, adequately protecting it from getting into the wrong hands becomes far more difficult, if not nearly impossible. Data protection solutions like data classification, data loss prevention (DLP), and digital rights management (DRM) can help to identify sensitive data, track it wherever it goes, and even revoke access in real-time in case of a breach.
Ease of Use
For security solutions to be effective in practice, they should be easy for employees to implement in their workflows, work with your enterprise’s existing security framework, and integrate with one another if several solutions are being used together. Unfortunately, security solutions aren’t always easy to use , so it’s always best to explore all your options, take advantage of solutions that automate complicated processes when possible, and ensure that implementing a given solution won’t place significantly more work on your employees’ shoulders.
Threats Outpacing Security Initiatives
Circling back to our 2022 CISO Perspectives: Data Security Survey, 52% of respondents claim that cyber threats have become fiercer in the past year. Creating and implementing a data security strategy within a large enterprise can be a lengthy process, and because the threat landscape is ever-growing, “catching up” to those threats before an attack actually occurs can feel like an impossible task. Even so, rushing to create and implement a data security plan without taking time to weigh all your options could turn out to be just as dangerous. The time to begin taking data security seriously is now but doing so with time and care will ensure that your data security strategy is ultimately successful.
How to Tackle Enterprise Data Security
Generally speaking, depending on which security solutions are most compatible with your enterprise’s existing infrastructure, workflows, and data, the best solutions for your enterprise could look vastly different than those of your closest competitors. But even so, the most successful enterprise data security strategies still have some common ground.
Create a Layered Security Plan
While individual security solutions can adequately keep your enterprise’s data secure during part of its life cycle, there is no silver bullet solution that will keep it protected at all times. The best way to ensure that your sensitive data is protected at creation, in transit, and at rest is to layer several solutions together for comprehensive, integrated coverage. Work not only to ensure that your data is properly labeled, wrapped in encryption, and has granular access controls attached to it, but also that your employees are trained to spot phishing emails, that your corporate network is properly segmented, and that all devices used by employees are updated and secured.
Find Solutions That Cause the Least Resistance
Data security solutions should work with your enterprise and its employees, not against them. If you find that your implemented solutions have slowed workflows or are creating more work for your employees, it may be time to consider other options. Start by taking advantage of solution integrations with automated processes, like how HelpSystems secure file transfer solutions can automatically apply digital rights management as soon as a file is securely transferred.
Find Solutions That Are Flexible and Scalable
Although your enterprise may already be well-established and employ thousands of people, changes can happen quickly, and your security solutions need to be able to adapt. While finding solutions that will meet your enterprise’s security needs now is paramount, finding solutions that are flexible and scalable enough to evolve with your organization in the future can save the time and effort that would otherwise be spent shopping for new solutions.