What is a ‘Data Centric’ Security Baseline?

In this clip from our recent webinar ‘Data Security and Data Protection in 2024’, Sam Malkin, HANDD’s Lead Solution Architect discusses the critical importance of a data centric security baseline. Sam emphasises the need for a data-centric cybersecurity model, and advocates for increased visibility and protection across all data forms and locations, whether at rest, in transit, or processed externally. The clip also highlights the necessity of shifting cybersecurity strategies to ensure data security is embedded at all levels.

View the clip and transcript below or watch the full webinar.

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So as mentioned, I wanted to start with talking about data-centric baselines and why data is absolutely of mega, mega importance.

Now, whenever I do these webinars, I always end up throwing out the old ‘data is the lifeblood of modern industry’, or ‘it’s the new oil’, or any of those catchphrases.

Whether you like them or not, I think it’s an immutable fact that data is so important to every single organisation and everything that we do.

I think most of you guys and girls on the call – preventing data loss is a large part of your job roles. It’s something I’ve dedicated my whole career to. It’s something that I’m not ashamed to say I’m actually quite passionate about. And it’s also something that we’ve got laws to help us to prevent and aid us in delivering.

So it may come as a surprise then that what I think is true is that despite the fact we’re in a multi-billion dollar cybersecurity industry, if you were to ever look inside a SOC or talk to any security analyst about the tools that they were using or what they were looking at, what you would realise is that that’s not from the data perspective at all, actually quite far from it.

They’re not looking at the events that are occurring to the data, they’re looking at data about the events that are occurring.

So instead of looking at the data, a modern SOC is built up of things like intelligence feeds, SIEMs, vulnerability assessments, firewalls, intrusion, IDR, EDR, XDR, SOAR, all these bits and pieces.

I was over at the RSA conference in the States two weeks ago and there was a modeled SOC that you could stick your head into and have a look at what the guys and girls were doing in there. And they were all looking at these tools. Everyone was looking at what is effectively infrastructure, and I would also argue what is still the perimeter.

Now, for decades we’ve been talking about the perimeter being distributed and diverse and, you know, no longer where we should concern ourselves. But we’re still looking at this infrastructure layer and we’re not concerning ourselves with the data footprint, the data layer or the events that are kind of happening to the thing that we actually need to keep safe. Which, certainly in my perspective is borderline bonkers.

If we’re all in agreement of how important the data is and that data is a real commodity and boards are now looking at data to make decisions and stuff like that, we’re still building security as a massive wall and we’re not putting anything on the inside to keep the thing that is important safe.

And again, for years, we’ve been talking about getting that increased visibility, talking about the perimeter being dead.

We have achieved that to a certain extent, but we’re really continuing to only gain that visibility across the infrastructure and the network layers.

And we’re not thinking about data as that commodity and that commodity which requires the visibility and the protection, rather than putting those two things on the building blocks where the data sits on.

So what I want to, or what I want HANDD as an organisation to help people and enable people to do is start to build a data centric cyber security model so that we can all as professionals start to understand the data that we’re tasked with keeping safe and secure and protected. And also building a security model that extends across all locations and format -ss whether that is data at rest, whether that’s data in transit, data moving outside of this organisation to your organisation or wherever it goes, whether that’s an individual or a system that’s looking at it computationally, that the security is baked into it and will move with it.

Now, as I mentioned in the introduction, to start applying that shift in thinking and adopting this new concept, we’re going to have to get involved with a few key areas, projects and actually some quite challenging landscapes.

So what I’ve done is I’ve highlighted four or five of these and over the next few slides, I’m going to delve into them, talk about some of the challenges that we face when it comes to data security across them, but also give you some things to think about to add into conversation of how data security might mesh into that and how that might play out.

–End of transcript–