Staying Ahead of Regulations with Unstructured Data Management
Regulatory oversight has become critical to safeguarding sensitive data and protecting consumers. As technology continues to advance and cyber threats evolve, businesses and organizations are dealing with more security risks than ever. Despite this, there is a skill shortage emerging in the cybersecurity world. Most organizations (56%) say that it’s difficult to find qualified cloud security specialists, which then contributes to the fact that 39% of businesses struggle to comply with regulations. One of the most challenging areas for many organizations lies in unstructured data management.
Unstructured data refers to information that does not fit neatly into traditional databases. This can include emails, documents, images and multimedia files. As businesses accumulate vast amounts of unstructured data, effective management and security solutions become paramount.
Unstructured Data Management in the Regulatory Landscape
In the world of cybersecurity, several key regulations set the bar for data protection and privacy standards. Some of the most well-known — the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) — all place strict regulations on the ways that businesses and organizations can use, store, and share or not share the data they receive from the people who use their services.
Recently, the Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) was also introduced and, while not yet finalized, will soon place strict requirements on businesses that work as Department of Defense contractors.
When it comes to complying with these and other regulations, improper unstructured data management poses a significant risk. Gaps in unstructured data security can result in data breaches, unauthorized access, and mishandling of sensitive information. In turn, businesses and organizations can be penalized for violating regulations through financial ramifications, legal consequences, and reputational damage.
A Comprehensive Approach to Unstructured Data Management for Compliance
Under these conditions, unstructured data management is vital to fortifying an organization’s security measures and maintaining regulatory compliance. With the assistance of qualified cybersecurity specialists, a robust unstructured data management strategy should implement:
Access controls — Effective access controls are the first line of defense against unauthorized access. Control policies that grant individuals the appropriate level of access ensure that only authorized personnel can view or manipulate sensitive data. Examples include role-based access and multi-factor authentications.
Proper data handling — Unstructured data management requires a meticulous approach to data handling. Categorizing data by levels of sensitivity, defining access permissions, and implementing retention policies are all vital components of proper data handling.
Audit trails and logging — Creating comprehensive audit trails and logs is a regulatory requirement. By recording every interaction with data, organizations are better able to pinpoint the source of any breaches or unauthorized activity. Robust logging mechanisms allow cybersecurity professionals to analyze logs for unusual patterns and identify potential threats before they occur.
Data encryption — Encrypting data ensures that even if unauthorized access does occur, the data will be virtually useless without the encryption keys. In unstructured data management, identifying which data requires encryption allows cybersecurity professionals to select the appropriate encryption methods and set up encryption key management to prevent data from ending up in the wrong hands.
User activity monitoring — With real-time user activity monitoring, cybersecurity professionals can prevent unauthorized access to unstructured data. Activity monitoring also provides a proactive strategy when it comes to dealing with threats. Analyzing user behavior allows for the early identification of suspicious behavior so that appropriate actions can be taken to mitigate risks before they escalate.
Data monitoring and threat detection — Closely related to user activity monitoring, data monitoring and threat detection are vital components of an unstructured data management strategy. With the implementation of cutting-edge tools and methodologies, cybersecurity professionals can identify unusual network behavior, potential malware infections, or unauthorized access attempts. Again, this proactive approach can neutralize threats before sensitive data is compromised.
If this seems involved, that’s because it is. Due to the nature of unstructured data management, a one- or two-layered approach to security is insufficient. Any gaps or unaddressed vulnerabilities could have drastic consequences. This is particularly the case in light of the rise of AI and more sophisticated cyber-attacks.
Anticipating Future Threats and Challenges
Looking ahead, businesses must prepare for the emergence of more elegant tactics when it comes to cyber crimes. Unstructured data management strategies are critical to maintaining the integrity of cybersecurity measures for businesses and organizations of all sizes.
For instance, while AI and machine learning are powerful tools for innovation and efficiency in the business world, cybercriminals can also leverage them for malicious purposes. With more intricate attacks, unstructured data management is increasingly vital. Identifying anomalies early on and analyzing behavior within unstructured data enables cybersecurity specialists to stay ahead of threats.
Stay on Top of Unstructured Data Management with Inversion6
At Inversion6, we’re a seasoned cybersecurity risk management provider delivering custom security solutions for businesses of all sizes. Our full suite of information security services is designed to define strategy, remediate risks, deploy the best technology, and protect your organization against malicious attacks. With our decades of combined experience and our commitment to staying ahead of cyber threats, we strive to bring peace of mind to C-Suite and IT leaders.
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