What is a Data Security Platform? Definition, Benefits and More

Aidan Simister by    Updated On - 11.08.2019   Data Security

In simple terms, a Data Security Platform (DSP) is a type of data security solution that aims to combine a suite of traditionally siloed security tools.

Most Data Security Platforms will combine functionality designed to locate and protect data on-premises and in the cloud. The most popular functionality included in DSPs include data discovery and classification, privileges/permissions analytics, user/entity behavior analytics, compliance reporting and environment change auditing.

All of this functionality is presented in a single interface to help overcome the complications that arise when you’re implementing and managing multiple security tools across complex infrastructure.

The Data Security Platform Increases in Popularity

In 2018, cyberattacks affected over 40% of all businesses in some form or another. The number of data breaches recorded doubled last year when compared to 2017, and there’s no reason to believe that the trend won’t continue into 2019 as cyberattacks continue to increase in sophistication, capability and complexity.

This, combined with the fairly recent introduction of compliance requirements like GDPR in Europe and CCPA in California, has increased the risks companies face if they fail to keep their data secure. Companies now face the prospect of potentially crippling fines for non-compliance, in addition to the devastating effect that the negative PR associated with a data breach can have on the bottom line.

Many organizations find that simply increasing their security budget, or increasing the number of security tools they buy, will equal better data security. This is simply not the case. An organization may spend millions on a state of the art SIEM solution, integrated with numerous security tools, and never get around to using it to its full potential.

Data Security Platforms, according to Gartner, are likely to replace siloed security solutions in 40% of enterprise organizations by 2020. But why?

The Benefits of a Data Security Platform

Some of the biggest benefits of deploying a Data Security Platform come when you consider the advantages of deploying a consolidated solution over multiple siloed tools. These benefits can be broken down into:

  • Your data security will become easier to manage as you will only have to use one solution to get all the information you need.
  • It will be easier to get your IT/Security team trained up on one solution than on multiple tools (including any new hires).
  • It will be far easier to identify and fix problems in your data security analytics if you only have one solution to look at, patch and upgrade.
  • During the sales process of acquiring tools, and ongoing support and maintenance, it will save you a lot of time and hassle if you only have to deal with one data security vendor.
  • Generally, purchasing just one Data Security Platform will be far cheaper than purchasing multiple siloed security solutions. OpEX budgets are less affected because there are fewer vendors to deal with in terms of maintenance, and CapEx budgets are less affected by being able to purchase one product instead of multiple point solutions.

From a data security perspective, the benefits of a Data Security Platform are all to do with how much visibility they are able to give you around where your sensitive data is and whether it is secure. These can be broken down into the following:

  • DSPs can show you where your most sensitive data is and tell you why it’s sensitive. This means that when you come to your next PCI compliance audit, for example, and you’re required to show how you’re securing payment card information, you’ll be able to generate a report easily for files and folders containing this data.
  • DSPs can show you which of your users can access your sensitive data and track permission changes so that you can maintain a policy of least privilege. If you know which users are “privileged” you can keep a close eye on them to ensure that your data isn’t at risk.
  • DSPs can show you what your users are doing with your data. If your users are making changes with your data or the surrounding permissions, it could lead to over-exposed data or eventually a data breach.

The Gaps Plugged by Data Security Platforms

Data Loss Prevention or Privileged Access Management solutions, when deployed in silo, can generate a vast number of alerts about sensitive files or permission changes, but what they lack is context.

For example, if you have a PAM solution and you’re using it to track access rights, you’re going to want to ensure that you get visibility into what your most privileged users are doing with your data. Most PAM solutions on their own will not provide this kind of functionality. Many PAM solutions offer simple user/entity behavior analytics capabilities, but they are nowhere near advanced enough to keep up with modern security and compliance demands.

What it comes down to here is context. You’re only going to be able to fully understand how secure your data is when you can understand the full context around your environment and any changes being made. Data Security Platforms (in theory) are the solution to this problem.

What Tools Make Up a Data Security Platform?

The following tools are the most common functionality that are included in most DSPs:

Data Discovery and Classification

  • Find out where your most sensitive data is
  • Tag and classify this data depending on the content and its relevance to data security and compliance.
  • Score this data based on risk to identify the highest priority files/folders in terms of your security.

Permissions and Privileges Management

  • How are these permissions applied?
  • Are permission changes creating over-privileged users and exposing my data to security threats?

User and Entity Behavior Analytics

  • Are there anomalies in the changes my users are making that could mean a security breach?
  • Are unauthorized or unwanted changes being made to my data or the surrounding permissions?

Auditing, Reporting and Alerting

  • Is the environment surrounding my sensitive data secure?
  • Who is accessing what, when and how?
  • Do I have a large potential attack surface (from open shares or stale accounts)?

The Lepide Data Security Platform

No discussion about Data Security Platforms would be complete without mentioning the Lepide Data Security Platform. The solution is able to do everything that was discussed in the above blog, including being able to detect insider threats, prevent data breaches, generate compliance reports and enforce least privilege. Request a demo of the Lepide Data Security Platform with one of our engineers today.

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