A data security platform (DSP) is a data security solution that combines several traditionally standalone security tools into one. Most DSPs are designed to find and secure data in internal servers and systems and the cloud.

A DSP normally discovers and classifies data, tracks user privileges and permissions, analyzes user identities and behaviors, monitors for compliance, and audits for environmental changes. But all these features are accessible via a single interface. That way, security teams won’t have to deal with several applications to implement and manage cybersecurity.

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If we’re to compare a DSP to a kitchen appliance, it’d be like an oven that combines the functionality of a conventional oven, a microwave oven, and an air fryer. Anyone who buys it, therefore, won’t have to buy three separate appliances, especially if they don’t have that much space in their kitchens.

What Are the Benefits of a Data Security Platform?

DSPs offer several advantages, given that as many as 92% of data breaches in the first quarter of 2022 alone are caused by cyber attacks. These benefits include:

  • A DSP is easier to manage compared to several disparate solutions. You can see all the information you need in a single dashboard, allowing you to make adjustments and provide fixes faster.
  • A DSP also makes security team member training easier because they have to deal with only one solution instead of several applications. Even new hires won’t have that much trouble.
  • A DSP lets you save on ongoing and support maintenance costs. It will also require less time and effort when renewal periods come.
  • A DSP can also be less expensive than purchasing several solutions to cover all your data security needs. That leads to lower operational expenses, too.
  • An advanced DSP can show you where your most sensitive data is stored and tell you why it requires protection. So when your next compliance audit comes, for instance, you can quickly generate a report.
  • A DSP can show you who has access to sensitive data and track permission changes among your employees. That is very handy for maintaining the least privilege policy.
  • A DSP can tell you what users do with data. If some are changing the data or its permissions, the action can lead to data overexposure or even a data breach.

What Does a Typical Data Security Platform Do?

A typical DSP does the following:

1. Discovers and classifies data:

It answers questions like:

  • Where is your most sensitive data stored?
  • What classifications does a piece of data belong to? What does it contain? Is it relevant to data security and compliance?
  • How much risk does the data pose if it gets exposed?

2. Manages user permissions and privileges:

It answers questions like:

  • Who is permitted to access the data?
  • Has the data’s list of allowed users changed? Does it have overprivileged users who can expose it to security threats?

3. Analyzes user behaviors:

It answers questions like:

  • Have any of the data’s users been creating unauthorized or unwanted changes that could translate to a security breach?
  • Who made unauthorized or unwanted changes to the data?

4. Eases auditing and reporting and gives off alerts:

It answers questions like:

  • Is the data environment secure?
  • Who is accessing what, when, and how?
  • Do I have a significant potential attack surface due to open shares or stale accounts? (Open shares refer to data that anyone in the company network can access. Stale accounts, meanwhile, could belong to former employees that security personnel failed to delete.)

Why Is Using a Data Security Platform Critical?

Data breaches have, unfortunately, become a norm. It doesn’t help that a single breach can cost a company as much as US$180 per stolen record. And that amount doesn’t include remediation and non-compliance costs. A single compromise can cause an organization to lose millions and soil its reputation in the process.

It is, therefore, no longer enough to use an anti-malware solution. Instead, companies, regardless of size, must protect their networks from all angles, which isn’t possible with a single tool, hence making DSPs vital.