Why Knowing How Your Data Behaves is the Key to Cybersecurity


Data is everywhere. On your phone, in MRI scanners and more. It’s a key element in our modern world because it enables us to achieve more than ever before. However, securing that data has never been more crucial and complicated.

The Key to Cybersecurity

This is due to potential vulnerabilities in networks carrying data that are emerging at almost the same pace as the growth in data that navigates them. There’s also the added difficulties of understanding where data is, the state it’s in and how these affect the strategies that are put in place to secure it. This has already made traditional cybersecurity approaches unnecessary.

Defending against evolving threats

Securing digital assets, by offering a secure path for data to pass networks, clouds and devices and arrive in users where it’s needed, is now essential. Your average cyber-criminal is replaced by countries waging digital warfare and more. All these cyber-attackers may have different goals, but they will all have one thing in common: they don’t care where you keep your data. They are only interested in how they can access and exploit it.

So, where does this leave security?

These days, you have to think about every single element that generates, stores, sends and potentially gives access to your data. Are you aware of where all of these may actually be in the world? The chances of being attacked have increased dramatically and continue to do so.

Your firewall no longer offers the protection you need. Threats are becoming more complex and firewalls simple cannot adapt in line with the real-time nature of end-to-end attacks, where data in transit is vulnerable in different ways. You need an adaptive approach that is as quick as the threat landscape.

Two types of data and many combinations

You can have many considerations about data, but there’s a simple approach when thinking about security: data in transit or data at rest. Data in transit is on the move, travelling from data centres into the cloud, to a device, applications, etc. Data at rest is data stored anywhere digitally and at a particular point in time. It doesn’t move around a network. In many cases, this is where data is translated into contextual information.

The value and risks associated with data can depend on whether it is in transit or at rest. The same applied to the ways you secure it. An in-depth understanding of what your data is doing, what it should be doing, when it should be doing it and who is responsible for it, is essential for a more flexible, automated, security approach.

Gaining this insight into what’s happening with your data is crucial. You must learn what ‘good’ looks like. This enables you to utilise new technologies such as AI to identify when something deviates from this, causing a halt in that operation or data transaction autonomously.

“Thing” first

To learn what good looks like, you much approach your security from a position that cybersecurity has never taken – that of the user and that of the “thing”. This is because, with data everywhere, it’s just as likely that what is accessing or producing the data is a “thing”. It’s also the biggest link in the chain that will have been overlooked in traditional security.

This is a critically important approach in a modern decentralised organisation. Think about your businesses IP. To ensure it doesn’t get stolen, you will need to secure the user and their interaction with the IP’s data. After this, predicting trends and behaviours is easier, allowing organisations to work backwards and to eventually shift focus onto the digital base support that is needed for app and tool innovations.

From here, you can identify what ‘good’ looks like. This means that data and apps are required by which users and how they need to access them, what apps must connect with each other and resources for delivering these requirements, leading to adaptive security. By adopting flexible, automated security policies, this enables you to face new, zero-day threats in real-time. Reducing the visible surface area of your infrastructure to reduces what can be attacked is also essential for modern transformed security.

Learn about your data behaviour

Cyber-attacks are becoming more complex as time goes by. Each time we connect to a new device, we create a new potential target for attack. With data everywhere, security should be everywhere. It must be multi-layer to ensure cyber-criminals to break into and manoeuvre.

Finally, the threat landscape is extremely dynamic with an almost unlimited number of instances of new zero-day malware appearing on a daily basis. The only approach for fighting threats on this scale is to make your security just as dynamic and autonomous.

Join us for BDA UK 2019

At Whitehall Media’s prestigious bi-annual 15th Big Data Analytics Conference, we will explore how businesses can maximise the potential and return of their data programmes. Join us to hear from leading data evangelists on topical themes, from the potential and implementation of AI and Machine Learning to organisational and cultural change.