COVID-19 had a significant impact on how IT teams approach data protection. During the global pandemic, many existing strategies were tested against new challenges and unanticipated threats and found to be lacking.
The most significant stressor on many organizations' approaches to data protection was the flood of data being generated by millions of users moving their professional, personal, and social lives from the physical world to the virtual world. All that extra data needed to be stored, processed, and secured, but few businesses were prepared to handle the volume.
Between the onslaught of data and the abrupt shift to remote work environments, IT teams quickly had their hands full.
Early in the pandemic, millions of businesses sent their employees home to work remotely. Although this was a responsible public health decision, from an IT infrastructure perspective, it was a nightmare.
Remote work creates additional network access points, most of which are insufficiently secure. Remote access expands the company’s attack surface and provides hackers with easy entry points to highly sensitive data and business-critical applications.
The pandemic also accelerated digital transformation for many organizations that rushed to adopt cloud-based infrastructure and applications to support a remote workplace and move operations to a virtual environment. One Microsoft study found that 72 percent of enterprises reported that their pace of transformation had sped up significantly, thanks to the pandemic.
The lure of large quantities of unsecured data coupled with widespread disruption within businesses prompted a surge in ransomware and other types of cyberattacks early in the pandemic, which even now shows no sign of letting up.
The Growing Need for End-to-End Data Security
The elevated threat of cyberattacks has exacerbated many organizations’ data protection challenges, leading IT teams to seek out new and innovative end-to-end data security solutions.
End-to-end data security comprises a comprehensive set of tools—normally provided by a single, trusted partner—that protects your entire IT environment. The beauty of an end-to-end data security strategy is that it takes much of the guesswork out of data protection. But, as with any new process or technology implementation, due diligence is essential.
What to Look for in an End-to-End Data Security Solution
There are several key considerations when narrowing down your options for the best end-to-end data security solution for your organization:
Integrated data protection converges the data protection, cybersecurity, backup, and disaster recovery processes and technology into one unified solution. This type of data protection reduces complexity, increases visibility, and lets you manage your data protection and recovery from anywhere at any time.
Fitness for Purpose
Before committing to any new technology or process, ask your team the fundamental question: “Does it solve our problems?”
To get an accurate answer, take inventory of your infrastructure and assets to ensure the solution will support and protect legacy systems, multi-platform environments, public/private/hybrid cloud workloads, and other essential functions.
End-to-end data protection requires coordinating many moving parts. However, with the right solution, the outcome is a seamless security perimeter that grows and adapts to address changing needs and evolving threats.
When evaluating potential solutions, look for these core capabilities to maximize data protection:
- Data encryption: Safeguard data in transit and at rest with AES/SSL encryption.
- Access policy enforcement: Protect access to sensitive files, systems, and applications with multi-factor authentication, Zero Trust, privileged access management, and other identity and access management best practices.
- Vulnerability assessment: Identify threats and security gaps in networks, databases, and applications.
- Centralized data activity monitoring: Monitor and analyze database activity to get a comprehensive picture of normal usage so it is easier to spot suspicious activities and anomalies.
- Threat intelligence: Understand the current and potential threats that are targeting or might target your organization so you can prepare for and prevent attacks.
- Incident response: Detect and neutralize threats quickly before your sensitive data is affected.
- Business continuity and disaster recovery: Respond to disruptions such as ransomware attacks, natural disasters, and human error quickly and ensure uptime and data availability.
- Advanced analytics: Identify changing use patterns, perform complex correlations, and use behavioral analysis to stop never-before-seen ransomware and boot-record attacks.
- Secure backup: Create immutable backups—stored on-premises or in the cloud—across your entire infrastructure and for every type of workload.
- Long-term archives and compliance: Support corporate and regulatory compliance by maintaining full protection of your systems, from long-term email archiving to continuous data replication.
What’s Next for Post-Pandemic Data Protection?
Coming out the other side of a historic global health crisis, businesses are all too aware of the danger of underestimating and under-preparing for both known and unknown risks. Adopting an end-to-end data protection strategy is a step in the right direction toward creating a broader, non-geographically dependent security perimeter. Download The 2020 Data Attack Surface Report to learn more about protecting your business from ransomware attacks and securing your data against existing and emerging threats.