Zscaler Cloud Platform

Why Do So Many Data Protection Programs Fail

Why Do So Many Data Protection Programs Fail

If complex operations and administration are hindering your data protection program’s effectiveness, check out our Data Protection Transformed event, where we'll unveil groundbreaking innovations that will help your program get to where it needs to be.

It astounds me how often I hear about the failure of a data protection program. If I were to pick 10 CISOs out of a line up, I could guess that half of them have a story about such a failure—worse yet, the other half probably don’t even have a program in place. Your organization’s data is its lifeblood, and it’s one of the most valuable things you have to protect, so it’s imperative to learn from mistakes and understand why and how to avoid typical data protection program pitfalls.

So, what are the main reasons why a data protection program fails? There are usually two themes that appear over and over again: operations and accountability.
 

When Operations Fail

This one is a common one, and it harkens back to on-premises data loss prevention (DLP) technology. Traditional appliance-based approaches to DLP were quite popular back in the day, and they’re still prevalent across many large organizations, but they’re inherently complex to manage and administrate. Detection is largely dependent upon the quality of your DLP regex signatures, and this requires specialized expertise to fine-tune. Add to the equation a healthy dose of rinse and repeat day to day and you have a process that can quickly snowball into a full-blown operations nightmare. Many companies find it difficult to keep up with the requirements for such a program, or, they simply don’t have the skill set or budget to upkeep it.  

So, how can this be avoided? We’ll start off by stating a simple fact: legacy approaches to DLP are no longer viable. Data has left the data center for the cloud, and users have left the corporate network and are connecting through unsecured networks, instead. There’s no more traffic on your network to inspect for data loss, which means you’re likely missing it left and right off-network. Forcing users back onto the network through a DLP appliance kills the user experience as well.  

Moving to a cloud based SSE approach is usually the primary response to this challenge, but not all SSE platforms are created equal. A true SSE platform is built with key capabilities in mind, such as:

  • Proven inline inspection at scale - If an SSE platform can’t deliver best-in-class inspection based upon enterprise grade SLAs, you can’t trust it with your business critical traffic.  
  • ML and behavior analytics to improve detection fidelity and efficacy - An SSE platform should reduce the amount of required customization and administration and deliver simply better data protection.
     

When Accountability Fails

This data protection challenge is common, and it’s largely a knowledge issue. Most organizations have a wealth of data across multiple departments—some sensitive, some not.  How do you know which sensitive data needs to be blocked and which doesn’t? Each business unit has their own unique requirements, and it can be difficult to know these requirements. To make matters worse, communications between the data protection team and the business units themselves tends to be far from optimal. You may get a snapshot of data protection requirements by business unit, but as time goes on, these requirements can change, and, because of the lack of communication, aren’t updated. This results in protection policy inefficiencies that can lead to data loss.

To avoid this outcome, you need the right security. Leveraging a cloud-delivered data protection platform drastically helps with visibility, and since all devices and cloud apps, on- and off- network, are inspected by the platform, you have visibility that you’d lack with an on-premise DLP. That said, you still need to understand the classifications of data getting transferred as well as what types of sensitive data are leaving your organization. Look for a platform with strong classification engines and the ability to scale inspection with ease across organizational traffic.  As you illuminate the data leaving your organization, you’ll quickly discover risk areas and behaviors that help you close the gaps on the data you need to protect.
 

Building the Right Data Protection Program

As you think through your organization's data protection needs and evaluate your options for platforms, it’s important to take one thing away: having something is better than nothing.  Many organizations often don’t even have a protection program because of all the challenges that come with creating one. It’s important to realize that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to data protection. Every company has its own needs, requirements, and culture, and these will impact how they strategize their program. One thing is clear, though—a purpose-built, cloud-delivered platform that provides scalability, performance, and intelligent visibility is fundamental for a great data protection program.  

If complex operations and administration are hindering your data protection program’s effectiveness, check out our Data Protection Transformed event, where we'll unveil groundbreaking innovations that will help your program get to where it needs to be.

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