Establishing Trust and Control in the Age of Data Privacy Regulation

One of the most important components of data privacy and security is being compliant with the regulations that call for the protection of information.

Regulators want to see transparency and controllability within organizations, because that is what makes them trustworthy from a data privacy and security standpoint. Ideally, organizations will deploy systems that provide compelling evidence to support their claims that they are meeting their requirements to deliver the protection and performance needed by stakeholders.

Protecting data from theft and improper use has long been the domain of cybersecurity and IT executives. But today, this is really a concern for the entire C-suite and, in many cases, the board of directors, all of whom are well aware of the repercussions of a data breach and failing to comply with regulations.

There is simply too much at risk when companies don’t ensure a level of control and trust in how they handle data. This is the case because of several converging trends:

The ongoing growth in the volume of business data, including a huge amount of information about customers and employees — much of it personal and personally identifiable.The importance this data holds from a strategic standpoint. Companies rely on the insights they gain from analyzing market data to provide a competitive advantage.An ever-expanding threat landscape, with increasingly sophisticated and well-financed cybercriminals going after this data for profit.A disappearing enterprise “perimeter” with the increase in cloud services, remote work and mobile devices used by employees in various locations. The idea of a fixed perimeter protected by a firewall no longer applies to most organizations.

In the midst of all this is the increase in government regulations designed to hold organizations accountable for how they gather, store, share and use data. An organization that fails to comply with such regulations can face stiff fines and other penalties, as well as negative publicity and damage to its brand.

Gaining trust and control

One of the challenges with establishing control and trust with data is a lack of visibility regarding the data: where it resides, who has access to it, how it is being used, etc. Organizations need to know their level of risk and how risk can be mitigated, as well as their level of progress in enhancing data security and privacy.

Endpoint devices present a particularly high level of cyber risk, because of the challenges of managing a large and growing number of mobile devices and apps in the workplace, as well as desktops and laptops used for remote work. Many threat actors target corporate data for theft and extortion, and endpoint devices present potential entry points into an organization.

The endpoint attack surface has expanded quickly over the past few years,

thanks in large part to the growth of remote and hybrid work. For many organizations, there is a sense that the attack surface is spiraling out of control, because of the challenge of gaining visibility and control of this environment. They realize that just a single compromised endpoint could result in an attack that causes significant financial and reputational damage.

Unfortunately, few tools on the market are designed specifically to monitor and manage cyber risk on a unified basis. Organizations have had to stitch together point solutions to get by. And in many cases, they lack data that is current, accurate, comprehensive, and contextual.

In addition, many organizations lack the ability to measure and compare corporate risk scores with industry peers; quickly take action after risk is scored; set goals for vulnerability remediation; and prioritize which areas to spend limited security resources on.

In order to build trust and gain better control of data, organizations need to leverage technology that gives them the ability to know how vulnerable their critical assets are, whether they are achieving their goals to improve security posture, how they measure up against industry peers; and what they should be doing to become more secure.

Ideally, technology tools should be able to provide organizations with real-time comparisons with industry peers in areas such as systems vulnerability, outstanding patches and lateral movement risk.

From a visibility standpoint, tools should identify vulnerability and compliance gaps across all endpoints used in an organization, enabling organizations to prioritize those issues that represent the highest risk, visualize complex relationships between assets and collect real-time feedback. They should be able to track each asset by collecting comprehensive data on all endpoints in real time.

In terms of control, security tools need to help organizations greatly reduce the attack surface by managing patches, software updates and configurations. Metrics should provide a clear sense of progress over time and indicate where improvements are needed.

From a trust perspective, tools should provide a single, accurate view of risks, enabling risk scoring and dashboards that give executives a clear sense of the level of risks and how they can be mitigated.

When it comes to ensuring compliance with data privacy regulations, IT and security leaders need to establish trust and control within their organizations’ environments. That’s the only way to demonstrate to regulators — as well as to customers, employees and business partners — that they are taking data privacy seriously and taking the necessary steps.

The most effective ways to be compliant and at the same time enhance data security are to gain greater visibility into the organization’s infrastructure, including every endpoint device, evaluate the effectiveness of security solutions and make needed improvements, and compare risk metrics with those of comparable organizations.

Assess the risk of your organization with the Tanium Risk Assessment. Your customized risk report will include your risk score, proposed implementation plan, how you compare to industry peers, and more.

Data Privacy