Top 6 data security posture management use cases

Data security posture management is a top 10 security issue for 2024, according to research. Check out the top six use cases for DSPM and weigh in on other possibilities.

Data security posture management is one of the hottest topics in data security and identity security, and the vendor community is zeroing in on the issue.

Research from TechTarget's Enterprise Strategy Group found data security posture management (DSPM) is a top 10 priority for 2024, alongside longtime categories such as data loss prevention, email security, and data privacy and governance.

For those new to the topic, DSPM provides a continuous process of locating, classifying and protecting an organization's sensitive data across all environments, from cloud assets to on-premises servers. This includes all data, both structured and unstructured.

These tasks are overwhelming for organizations, especially as data stores grow and evolve, new data stores crop up, access to data stores changes and new applications get deployed.

The complexity will continue to grow, especially as organizations use more AI, which depends on access and transfers of data.

Given that data dynamism, DSPM is not a one-and-done task but an ongoing process. The complexity will continue to grow, especially as organizations use more AI, which depends on access and transfers of data.

While the interest initially focused on cloud data that contained the most risk, enterprises also want to understand the posture of on-premises data stores.

6 DSPM themes and use cases, for now

As I began evaluating data security, one of the questions I had about DSPM revolved around its use cases. Enterprise practitioners are looking at the following key themes and use cases:

  1. Locating regulated or critical data. Enterprises need to locate personally identifiable information, intellectual property or other data, but they want to do so without rules or training. This can include locating and protecting regulated data or preventing inadvertent exposure of regulated data to employees who might not need to have access.
  2. Facilitating compliance. Organizations need to locate and categorize data to comply with regulations, including PCI DSS, GDPR or HIPAA.
  3. Stale access to sensitive data stores. This is important to help understand where admins gave access to a contractor or employee and forgot to terminate that access when they departed. This helps maintain access hygiene and control against potential data loss.
  4. Rationalizing stale data. Locating and deleting or moving stale data or duplicate data is important. DSPM can help enterprises move stale data to cold -- and cost-effective -- storage.
  5. Data detection and response. DSPM can locate and protect regulated data, as well as prevent inadvertent exposure of regulated data to employees who might not need to have access.
  6. Supporting incident response. If a compromise occurs, data security practitioners need to know the scope of the breach and who had access to the data. Investigations involving data repositories can be log-driven, a process which is cumbersome and inaccurate. DSPM can speed this process.

These are all areas that, when addressed, can make a strong impact on an organization's security posture, as well as enabling faster response to threats and attacks.

Have another use case for DSPM? I want to understand it. Feel free to reach out.

Todd Thiemann is a senior analyst covering identity access management and data security for TechTarget's Enterprise Strategy Group. He has more than 20 years of experience in cybersecurity marketing and strategy.

Enterprise Strategy Group is a division of TechTarget. Its analysts have business relationships with technology vendors.

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