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Today, data is everything. And the modern threat landscape is relentless. So, congrats on asking the most important question — “How do I protect my company’s data?”

Like Frodo and the ring, any data-conscious professional knows they’ve got to keep data secret and safe.

Many assume that the boost in AI in many cyber security solutions is a necessarily positive step.  Some tell themselves that “the algorithms will handle it.” So, why would the average person need to understand data security?

Because businesses are legally obligated to protect customer and user data from loss or theft. That’s why.

More than ever, a company’s value and reputation rest on its ability to collect, store, access, and properly dispose of its data. For any company to succeed, customers have to trust them with essential data. And there are many regulatory and compliance obligations that demand a minimum degree of data security with steep penalties for violations. (Some include fines in the multi-millions of dollars or euras per offense, annual penalties, and settlements.)

So yes, data security is a greater concern than ever before. It’s imperative that you assess the geographical and industrial context of your particular data security needs. Whether directly deploying solutions or relying on a trusted partner (such as a managed services provider) to manage data security, all company leaders need to know what data is at risk and how to protect it.

To underscore the importance of this topic, we will first examine the traditional world of data security, then attempt to forecast the future.

Traditional data security, quick and dirty

Among IT professionals, Data Security is an umbrella term for a variety of practices and technologies that protect data from unauthorized access, theft, or corruption. These practices attempt to address every aspect of protection for each data point in an information ecosystem.

A robust data security approach must address physical hardware, such as server infrastructure, as well as software and cloud-based applications, access control schemes, and digital network connections. One should even consider how employees and specific organizational policies affect data security.

Properly executed, a data security strategy can ward off both external cybersecurity threats and insider threats like human error and malicious behavior. Since consumers are increasingly data-savvy, a service provider’s reputation lives and dies on the ability to be trusted with data. And fair or not, their perception is the reality.

Today’s hybrid, multi-cloud landscape presents an increasingly complex array of data security demands. IT professionals have to understand where every piece of data is stored and who has access to it, as well as protect it from dangerous interactions. The most common practices that can help any team accomplish this goal are: encryption, erasure, masking, and resiliency.

Data Encryption

At a high level, encryption processes scramble data into an unreadable format, which can only be decrypted using a specialized key. Both individual files and entire databases can be protected through encryption, ensuring that only authorized users can access data. Today’s most sophisticated encryption techniques use advanced algorithms for encryption process and increase the protection of the data beyond this simplistic description.

Tokenization allows encrypted data to move through the IT stack without compromising the security of the file. In the event of an attack or compromise, encrypted data should be secure from prying eyes, even if it’s exposed to ransom or deletion.

Data Erasure

Much of the data you collect today will have a lifecycle. After it’s no longer useful, data needs to be securely disposed of. Rather than just standard data wiping from a storage or edge device, many companies now use more sophisticated data erasure procedures, reducing the liability of loss in the event of a data breach.

Data Masking

While organizations tend to use large volumes of data for onboarding and training processes, it can be expensive or highly complex to develop sets of training data. By implementing data masking, concealing personally identifiable information by obscuring and replacing letters and numbers, they can use real anonymized data in their training. However, it’s still typically managed with an encryption key, just as your overall data encryption processes would dictate.

Data Resiliency

Another critical piece of a successful data security strategy is how well a company can recover from an infrastructure failure, whether due to hardware, software, public utility, or natural disaster. From backup protocols to off-site duplication, an effective resiliency strategy ensures quick recovery and data integrity. For many companies, this is also the first line of defense against ransomware — an unfortunate inevitability in today’s data environments.

Big picture controls

Across all four of these high-level categories of data security strategy, you also need to  implement the tools and systems to properly manage the security at scale. Many companies are deploying complex tool sets that allow the centralized and streamlined execution of access control, monitoring, and risk analysis. Here are just a few of the considerations:

  • Data discovery and classification tools can automatically identify sensitive information to include within appropriate protective protocols.
  • File activity monitoring can analyze data usage patterns to alert security teams to anomalies and potential risks based on pattern recognition.
  • Vulnerability assessments can spotlight systemic weaknesses like unpatched software, exposed data access points, and weak passwords.

Then, whether using a public cloud, hybrid cloud, or on-premises server array, anyone can also have physical security. From climate control to fire suppression to physical access, controlling data infrastructure, regardless of location, is as important as ensuring its integrity across a network. Even if data managers aren’t personally responsible for the physical hardware, they need to make sure their service provider takes these minimum precautions on their behalf.

Lastly, one needs to consider data security, not just for servers and applications, but also for edge devices. Do employee devices employ adequate security measures in place? What protocols and policies are being used to ensure proper digital hygiene?

It’s OK to feel a little overwhelmed by all of this. The traditional model of data security is enough to keep an entire team busy 24/7. The world is rapidly evolving and a successful data services provider must look outward and inward while constantly staying fresh on the latest threats.

Finding a trusted partner with expertise

The smaller an organization, the less likely it is that it can adequately secure its data. Even major enterprise organizations struggle to fully manage their data security because as a business scales, it increases its data volumes.

Ultimately, you need someone who can take care of your data so that you can take care of business.

The ideal data security partner will understand:

  • Data governance needs across a variety of computing environments, including everything from public cloud deployments, enterprise data centers, and remote servers to the edge devices, IoT sensors, and robots
  • Your regulatory compliance landscape, including GDPR, CCPA, HIPAA, and SOX
  • Your business goals in order to develop a proper risk-based approach across your entire enterprise that begins with clear, tight policies and extends them to the edge of your digital assets in a prioritized and systemic manner

Panzura not only meets all three of these requirements, it also provides unique and unrivaled capabilities in data security that mitigate many risks before they can even begin to threaten your data. As the only global enterprise file system to successfully blend performance with reliability, Panzura makes sure that when you make changes on the back end, those changes are additive — and files are not duplicated.

Your data stays current and reliable, and previous file versions can be accessed, updated, shared, and recovered without incurring egress charges like you would with other cloud storage companies.

Since we don’t replicate data, your data files remain effectively immune to the impact of ransomware. In the event of an attack, Panzura restores your files to an uninfected version and marks the impacted files as “read-only,” making them easy for your antivirus tool to detect and remove.

When Ransomware attacks happen — and they will — Panzura lets you recover from the infection with zero data loss. Nobody else can do that.

Additionally, our patented Byte Range Locking feature allows nodes to share metadata almost instantly — but keeps multiple users from editing data at the same time.

As a result, an entire team can enjoy the time-saving benefits of real-time collaboration without worrying about corrupted data caused by simultaneous edits to the same data.

Changing the game with groundbreaking innovation

It’s surprising how many data security professionals simply adapt existing models to meet new threats. It’s often not until after an incident (or disaster) that anyone bothers to ask why the current approach doesn’t adequately counter the current risk landscape.

Panzura doesn’t refine old models. We define new ones. We de-risk our clients’ data challenges by focusing on providing the precise information they need most: where their data is, how it's growing, who’s accessing it, how secure it is, and how it's being used. This level of detail is baked into every aspect of our solution. It’s fundamental to how we operate. We’re radically transparent.

When we say resilient to ransomware, we truly mean resilient. That’s right; ransomware is no longer a risk to an organization when you use Panzura. In the event of a ransomware attack, data reverts to the most recent unaffected version, which is only seconds old at any given moment of any day.

We provide 99.99999999999% DoD-grade security from edge to core to cloud. That’s a lot of 9s. And yet, our solution still allows for seamless, global, real-time collaboration without lag or performance penalty. This always-on governance also powers real-time global data search and retrieval from anywhere.

Behind the scenes, our AI engine leverages 12 billion bits of data to drive machine learning algorithms and ensure complete visibility into all data, all the time.

Panzura audits both users and the data in stacks, mapping each to the other for highly detailed information on file activity, including open, modified, copied, shared, accessed, deleted, and 30+ other attributes. These audits make regulatory compliance fast, easy, and trustworthy regardless of your industry or geography.

Panzura makes data immutable and resilient automatically, lifting the heavy data load from customers’ backs and handing it to our team’s expert hands.

  • Protect your data from cyber threats
  • Restore clean data in moments without loss
  • Manage user rights and file accessibility with ease
  • Always know who’s accessing your data
  • Know how fast your data is growing and what’s causing the growth
  • Reduce the complexity of data storage while increasing data security overall

Ultimately, Panzura lets you put your data to work without having to worry about data security or paying to store massive amounts of data you’ll never use. You’ll increase productivity using a single, reliable source of data, as well as eliminate duplicate data and locate missing files.

As we shape the future of unstructured data storage, our 38 (and counting) US patents (filed and pending) clearly demonstrate our unique capabilities that are paving the way to smarter, safer, more sustainable data storage.