How Security Threats Drive Technology Evolution

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Some weeks, it feels like security news is dominating the media landscape. Between accounts of private data stolen from messaging services and wider implications of personally identifiable information (PII) theft, data privacy issues are gaining traction and reaching bigger audiences than ever before. I met with an IT security team last week that is moving quickly to support a CTO mandate to secure the corporation’s intellectual property by building the capability for file activity and access tracking. The directive is to insure that information never leaves company property – almost to the point of creating a data island for IP. This group wants to see who has access to the data and where it’s flowing. In the wrong hands or mistakenly dropped into a public share, this data could severely impact the future health of the company.

This increased awareness is partially a result of the growing demographic tasked with managing data governance and security; for example, at a mid-sized organization, there may be only one IT manager in charge of protecting the company’s data and ensuring its security alongside her daily responsibilities of keeping data center processes running smoothly. However, this growing trend is also the result of the increased frequency and variety of threats presented to businesses on a regular basis, and a mounting realization that reactive strategies will no longer suffice to protect employees, intellectual property and companies themselves.

These growing security concerns are actually great news for business and IT pros. While the concerns initially create tension within organizations, they also spark much-needed changes as companies adapt in order to assess and eliminate threats before they wreak havoc. This increased awareness of security risks is also driving innovation and evolutions in the technology space that may otherwise never have been realized. Below are a few changes in the technology space that have already taken hold, and what they mean for the future of corporate data protection:

1. Expectations have grown for legacy hardware systems.

Storage systems were once the place active data went to rest. Now, data storage is a dynamic resource, capable of providing actionable insights about the information housed on its servers in order to identify threats, improve business practices, and implement alerting capabilities to harden data at its core. These actions eliminate the need to rely on disparate backward-looking security apps and focus on the protection of a company’s crown jewels in near real time. The ring-fence security model is complimented by embedded intelligence within the infrastructure. Herein lies the opportunity to track information flow not only at the application layer, but at the point of storage and in the network.  These data-aware solutions enhance the confidence of finding anomalies and cut the time to discovery by orders of magnitude.

2. Taking a shot in the dark – in any situation – is no longer acceptable.

We think of companies that must adhere to strict compliance regulations as those in industries like healthcare or government, which must assess processes and data against mandates such as HIPAA, FERPA or FISMA, but the reality is that most organizations have to take some level of legal or internal guidelines into account. As data-aware technology offers greater depth of visibility and audit capabilities for stored data, compliance administrators can see irregularities and recognize exactly which files may violate regulations. As a result, they can cease all guesswork on which they may have previously relied and feel confident about the security of sensitive information and systems.

3. Employees aren’t wasting time at work.

You don’t waste energy on an important task when you know the best way to get it done. Data insights can be used to inform every project or undertaking within a company, meaning recorded user behaviors and patterns shed light on which methods are working to accomplish a certain task, which teams are most efficient when they collaborate together, and which employees are creating a bottleneck, but may be able to offer more value when given a different assignment. When the company is powered by resources that enable employees to work smarter, it can produce greater results as a whole.

 

For more information on the impact of security events, read our “Recovering from Ransomware” white paper

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John Joseph

John Joseph

President and co-founder of DataGravity, John Joseph leads company’s sales, marketing, operations and customer initiatives. John previously served as vice president of marketing and product management at EqualLogic, leading these functions from the company's initial launch through the successful acquisition by Dell in 2008. He subsequently served as vice president of enterprise solutions, marketing at Dell for three years after the acquisition.