Making Sure 'Agile' Data Is Not Just Secured… But Competitive

Author: Tim Macdermid, Area Vice President, APAC at MarkLogic

The ability to integrate data from disparate sources in order to analyse and make sense of it is not only key to doing business today; it’s the difference between a company’s success and failure.

But so, too, is data security.

And therein lies the rub. Enterprises are trying to strike a delicate balance between an agile data model and strong data security. They must be able to zero in quickly on customer needs and just as quickly provide products and services that meet those needs.

But this pace cannot come at the price of data security, privacy and compliance. Nowhere is this more true than at the database level, where all of this information is entered and stored.

Now consider the sheer volume of cyberattacks of late and the huge burden this places on companies to protect the network. It threatens the core of a business when data is at risk making nimble decision-making impossible. While at rest and in motion, data must be saved in a secure and well-governed manner.

So how can companies achieve both the high-level of flexibility and security needed to be decisively competitive?

This dynamic new model requires new thinking and new expectations on security. 

The way we think about data security must fundamentally shift to not just protecting against some of the most sophisticated security threats, but to providing a market advantage.
Here are the new table stakes of security and privacy functionality that set the tone for companies operating with confidence and agility. 

Encryption with a twist 

Encryption is not a new feature in databases, but encryption must be implemented in an increasingly more strategic and systematic way to protect data from cyber criminals and insider threats. Today, organisations need Advanced Encryption which involves the selective and transparent encryption of data, configuration and logs. 

Advanced encryption protects data from hackers and insider threats using standards-based cryptography, advanced key management, granular separation of duties and state-of-art algorithms that drastically decrease exposure. 

This is particularly important due to the rise in frequency and complexity of internal and external security threats, expanding security requirements and the growing use of the cloud among companies large and small.

Blocking out that which need not be shown to everyone

Enterprises need to balance protection of data with the ability to share it. Redaction enables companies to share information with minimal effort by concealing or masking sensitive information—such as credit card numbers—when data is exported for sharing purposes.

Companies must also be able to implement policy-based redaction using both custom and out-of-the-box rules, including partial masking, full masking and concealment. By removing specific information or replacing it with other values to prevent data leakage, enterprises are given the assurances they need to share data safely, whether it is internally or with another organisation.

‘Element-level’ security should be the new norm

While redaction in and of itself is important, companies need to be able to do it in real-time, as close to the data as possible.

Security at the element or property level – and based on an employee’s role – goes beyond the existing document-level security to allow specific elements of a document to be hidden from particular users. This increased granularity means greater data protection, enabling companies to protect sensitive information, like patient data and intellectual property, throughout the entire document lifecycle.

Element-level security should be extended into document elements and built into indexes for performance. Rich XML and JSON document models can even describe the data itself, demonstrating another aspect of how element-level security can protect all parts of the document. This allows security definitions to actually travel with the data in contrast to definitions in a schema table.

Agile and secure is the goal

All of these data security features are important across company sizes and industries as they help control access to information across the organisation. Take, for instance, the activities involved in serving customers in the financial industries. A financial analyst should have access to a great deal of customer information; on the other hand, a call centre user should have a restricted view. It makes sense that this access control would need to be enforced at the database level in real-time to ensure optimal efficiency and consistency.

A certified multi-model database with capabilities such as advanced encryption, redaction and element-level security ensures that companies can meet their security goals, while quickly adapting to evolving customer needs.

With data driving business decisions like never before, and security threats rising, data agility and security now go hand in hand. The new reality is companies need to be operating with the most up to date arsenal of data security and privacy capabilities in order to effectively manage the customer relationships that define their business success.

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Tags MarkLogiccyberattacksdata securityAgile' DataTim Macdermidencryptionprotection of data

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