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December 15, 2022

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min read

A New Approach to Data Security for the New Year

Over the last few years, we have seen more and more organizations moving into hybrid and remote working environments. With that change, IT teams have learned that they cannot trust the network like they have in the past. Using the internet, employees now have direct access to your organization's resources, circumventing traditional security tools like virtual private networks (VPNs) and firewalls. And the change isn't limited to the network — remote work has proven that anyone can get work done from anywhere, on any device. 

With countless new factors to keep tabs on, the question becomes: how do you efficiently keep your business productive and secure? The short answer is to focus on two areas — identity and data. If you think about it, every employee, customer, or contractor that joins a company has a digital identity, and these entities all consume, produce, transfer, and transport data. 

Going into 2023, your organization should be laser-focused on identity and data, and the technologies that secure these elements will have to evolve. 

Attacks are getting more personal: the blurring of work and life

Speaking of identity, one thing to consider as we head into the new year is that targeted attacks  are becoming much more personal in nature. We’re already seeing attackers move away from targeting official work emails. Instead, they're finding more success sending social engineering campaigns to employees' personal accounts using SMS messages and third-party messaging apps like WhatsApp. 

This change stems from a larger trend, which is that our personal lives and our work lives have blurred together as technology has advanced. Even before the pandemic, 80% of senior IT and business leaders surveyed by Oxford Economics believed that their employees could not do their jobs effectively without a smartphone. 

When we look at the recent Uber breach, we can see that there is very little visibility or control into what's happening to enterprise data on employees' personal devices, which are easy to exploit. As a result, user error and account compromises could become more prevalent in the coming year. 

Contextual DLP is critical to thwart data breaches

The flip side of identity is the sensitive data your users need access to. This is where I believe that a much more intelligent data loss prevention or DLP comes into play. 

There are a few ways DLP could evolve. One area is how technology understands data content. Identifying sensitive data and personal identifiable information (PII) is a completely different task than identifying whether a document, file, or object contains sensitive information. Modern DLP solutions give organizations the tools to understand the contents of a file without the manual need to read a 100-megabyte document, and within moments, a DLP can tell you whether a document should be classified for HIPAA or PCI.

Once you understand data, you can start to put controls in place for protecting that data. DLP provides a single approach to coverage wherever your data travels, including email, internet, and sharing traffic. When integrated with user and entity behavior analytics (UEBA), DLP can provide context that enables you to predict and detect data infiltration and exfiltration. 

In the event of a ransomware attack, for example, attackers may live undetected in your network for months before they start moving data to another site, but with DLP in place, as soon as data starts to move to another site or server, that traffic will be inspected. In the same fashion, DLP can catch when important files are exposed on an Amazon S3 bucket or Google Drive.

Siloed tech is the weak link: use the right tools in 2023

As we ring in 2023, organizations need to be confident that their security tools are capable of applying zero-trust principles to identity and data. The siloed security products that were common in the past are quickly becoming the Achilles’ heel of enterprise security.

The warning signs are everywhere: data security best practices sometimes fall through the cracks and breaches are becoming incredibly complex. As data, devices, and users continue to become more interconnected, IT and security teams need to consolidate their security solutions to avoid the complexities of trying to secure data with multiple tools.

The platform approach will help ensure that all data — regardless of whether it lives in the cloud, on-prem, or in a private app — is being protected under uniform data security policies. The secure services edge (SSE) framework is proving that a combination of cloud access security broker (CASB), zero-trust network access (ZTNA), and secure web gateway (SWG) in a single platform is the most forward-looking approach to securing remote workers and protecting data across the modern enterprise infrastructure.

Lookout takes this a step further by integrating mobile endpoint security and applies solutions like DLP, UEBA, and enterprise digital rights management (EDRM) uniformly across your entire organization.