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What is Sensitive Data Discovery? How to Pick the Right Tool for Sensitive Data Discovery?

Massive amounts of sensitive data are accessed and stored by organizations and corporates across the spectrum. As a result, sensitive data discovery becomes vital for businesses in today’s data-driven environment. 

In addition to maintaining their data, businesses need to ensure that all their sensitive data is secure at all times. Data security is particularly crucial given the surge in data breaches and leaks even within highly secured corporate environments. To meet compliance, organizations must ensure the proper identification and management of all their sensitive data.

Sensitive data discovery tools help in scanning and locating sensitive data across an organization. Continue reading to know more about the use of sensitive data discovery tools and how you can choose the right data discovery tools for your organization.  

What is Sensitive Data Discovery?

Sensitive data discovery is the process of identifying and locating data that is considered sensitive. The primary purpose is to ensure that the data is effectively secured or removed.  

Massive amounts of data are accessed and stored by businesses and organizations daily. Even with proper data maintenance and storage, security teams often discover sensitive data in various unexpected places across the organization. Not knowing where all your data exists can severely compromise the security of the data making it difficult to mitigate any potential risk to the organization. 

Sensitive data discovery becomes essential for heavily audited organizations, such as healthcare, financial services, telecommunications, and government sectors. These organizations adhere to strict sensitive data discovery protocols and follow specific industry-based rules and regulations. 

What are Sensitive Data Discovery Tools?

Sensitive data discovery tools help businesses and organizations effectively identify or locate sensitive data across known sources of data. Importantly, a good tool can identify sensitive data in previously unknown sources. In addition, an effective sensitive data discovery process helps the organization optimize its data storage and security around it.

Sensitive data discovery tools allow these organizations to classify their sensitive data and improve their understanding of the associated risks and how best to mitigate those risks. An excellent sensitive data discovery tool can make a big difference – it enables organizations to simplify their data protection risks by many folds.  

Core Capabilities of Sensitive Data Discovery Tools

There are several highly effective sensitive data discovery tools in the market. So how do you pick the right solution for your organization? 

There are core capabilities that any sensitive data discovery tool should deliver. These include;

  • Identify sensitive data from a variety of data sources
  • Support industry – specific (e.g., Finance, Healthcare) sensitive data discovery  
  • Support customizable data classification based on its sensitivity, risk profile, and its vulnerabilities.  
  • Deliver acceptable performance – can it parse a large volume of data in a reasonable time and resource?

In addition to the core capabilities mentioned above, here are a few pointers that you should use when selecting a sensitive data discovery tool. 

Designed with current technologies – regardless of which sensitive data discovery tool you choose for your organization, ensure the solution utilizes current technologies, including machine learning to identify and locate sensitive data irrespective of its location or type. In addition, your solution should be built with integrated contextual intelligence to analyze even complex unstructured data and then extract relevant sensitive data. 

Risk classification – Sensitive data can be classified under different risk metrics based on the content of the data, e.g., personal data, employee data, or intellectual property). Risk classification is crucial for organizations that handle large sets of sensitive data across multiple structured and unstructured data sources. It helps security teams to classify the associated risk that comes with each data source.  

Customization – When it comes to sensitive data classification, one size doesn’t fit all. Every organization has a unique definition of sensitivity and how they classify their sensitive data. If a solution is easily extensible, you can assign data classification action or metrics/terms that sync with your organization’s workflows and objectives.

Intuitiveness and user-friendliness – of the solution is another important consideration. A complex solution will only lead your security team to waste precious time and resources understanding the software. While choosing a sensitive data discovery tool for your organization, ensure you assess the solution on its intuitiveness and user-friendliness. Solutions that support visual reporting are generally easier to train the internal teams and adopt. 

In Conclusion

Data sharing and usage are constantly changing in today’s data-centric business environment. As a result, businesses must utilize tools and solutions that support effective management of all types of data, including sensitive data. In addition, the use of effective sensitive data discovery systems and tools makes it easier for organizations to ensure complete data compliance and data security.