March 05, 2021
Regulatory Compliance

Reinforce Your Data Security By Integrating Data Classification and Multi-Factor File Level Encryption

While the world came to a screeching halt during the COVID pandemic, cybercrime was alive and well with the incessant onslaught of data breaches and ransomware attacks. Recent reports show more than 37 billion “records” were exposed, a 141% increase over 2019, and ransomware made up half of all cybersecurity incidents in 2020.

Many organizations were caught off-guard when they quickly shifted to remote working environments, leaving them less than fully prepared to protect their networks and critical data. According to the 2020 Remote Workforce Cybersecurity Report, nearly two-thirds of the organizations surveyed had to transition over half of their workforce to remote work practically overnight, with 83% of them finding the transition moderately, very, or extremely challenging.

The move to remote work is exasperated by the growing volumes of data in various locations and the need to safeguard that data with protections that don’t burden users and the flow of daily business operations. The new normal of remote work, coupled with the explosive growth in data breaches, highlights the need for new data protection strategies and a resilient cybersecurity posture that includes seamless integrations with data discovery and classification tools that can scale to support an organization’s evolving requirements.

Data Discovery & Classification and Why You Need It

There really isn’t a data discovery and classification standard; however, many organizations have their version of a data classification framework that classifies data based on its sensitivity and value. According to Gartner, many successful data classification programs use a variation of the simple three-classification approach: Public, Internal and Confidential. Organizations must be able to identify their data to develop and implement a defined framework of rules, processes, protections, and procedures for how their data is accessed, shared, stored, copied, and destroyed.

Data discovery and classification is essential from a compliance perspective because it provides a way for you to maintain the integrity of your data and helps you actually know what data you have. And data discovery and classification is no longer limited to companies seeking  to meet regulatory requirements, even though based on the growing number of fines being issued for various regulatory violations, data classification is needed more than ever. General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) fines grew by 40% in 2020 to the tune of $193.4M, with more considerable fines to come in 2021.

While data classification tools can help you understand what data you have and where it resides, some organizations unfortunately tend to equate data classification with data security. Gartner states that organizations tend to gain a false sense of security when implementing a data classification scheme or process. Just because a data item has a classification label doesn’t mean it’s secured. Classifying your data without more is simply not enough.

According to Forrester, organizations need to inventory and classify their data across their environment, enforce access control, apply and enforce policy, and encrypt data regardless of location. “Data-centric security is supported by integrated security functions and consolidated controls that form a security ecosystem.”

Data classification is a crucial component of any organization’s security policy, but there is no one silver bullet to keep your data protected regardless of its location. There are tools that can help you automatically identify and classify your data, but you need to go beyond your data classification tools and integrate with other security tools that work better together to ensure your data is protected.

Enhance Data Classification with Atakama’s Multi-Factor File Level Encryption

You can enhance your data discovery and classification tools with the power of Atakama’s multi-factor file-level encryption. The data discovery and classification solution scans and identifies files with sensitive information. Once the sensitive information has been identified, the files are labeled in accordance with policy. Working seamlessly in tandem with your data classification solution, Atakama takes the extra step by automatically encrypting the file based on its classification label. The process is fully automated and does not rely on user subjectivity. One tool discovers the at risk information, and the other tool instantly protects the information. It’s that easy.

Atakama encrypts each file with its own unique AES 256-bit key. Each unique key is automatically fragmented into “shards” and distributed to a user’s physical devices without the need for passwords and central key stores. To access an encrypted file, the user simply taps “approve” on their smartphone. Once your data has been classified and encrypted, authorized users only can access the files.

Atakama is easily deployed and installed within your existing environment, all without disrupting your existing user workflows, to work with your data classification tools. 

Request a demo to see how Atakama integrates with the leading data classification tools to protect your critical data.

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