Why Data Risk Management Starts with a Risk Assessment

Your data is a valuable asset and one that attracts an ever-growing number of cybercriminals. In order to prevent data theft and its consequences, you have to have a clear picture of your data. If you don’t know what data you have, then data risk management is next to impossible. How can you accurately evaluate your data risk?

The Role of a Data Risk Assessment

You cannot manage what you don’t understand. Therefore, you’ll need to perform a comprehensive risk assessment on your data. From there, you can make intelligent decisions about how to manage your data and reduce risk.

Risk assessments need to be a regular part of your business operations. Cybersecurity experts recommend reviewing your data risk annually with a thorough audit. It’s here where decision-makers raise their first objection: It takes too long to perform a proper risk assessment.

The time it takes to complete a risk assessment only gets longer as your company gets bigger. In fact, it could even get to the point whereby the time you’ve finished your evaluation, your data has changed so much as to render your results irrelevant. Is it possible to get the risk assessment spiral under control?

Data Risk Management Done Right

If a job takes too long, it’s time to change the tools you use to get that job done. Analyzing your data risk by hand is simply no longer viable in this day and age where data volumes have greatly exceeded human capacity. You need automation.

Consider just a few of the variables you need to quantify in order to perform a risk assessment and you’ll quickly see why you need automated assistance.

Taking Stock of Your Files

You need to know your data to know the risk it presents to your enterprise. This would typically be a painstaking venture. You have to categorize your data into various classes since data risk is not uniform from file to file.

If your CDO called you right now and told you there’d been a data breach, what files would come to your mind first? What data would you be most concerned about? Consumer personal information could be a top priority since it’s where the majority of fines and lawsuits stem from.

Perhaps even more important are the proprietary files that form the foundation of your business. Practices, accounts, sales figures, and even intellectual property could compromise your company if stolen. With automation, you can take the guesswork out of classifying these files. A smart platform can do it for you.

Dark Data Obfuscates Risk

The work you just did is for naught if you don’t actually have an accurate picture of all the data in your enterprise. Unfortunately, most companies miss data when they perform risk assessments. This is because data is everywhere. Programs put data wherever they please and regularly ignore your best practices.

Data that you don’t know about is considered dark data. Your data review will not be complete unless you look in every corner and under every rock. Without automation, there’s simply no way your team can search the entirety of your file system. Even if they did, they probably wouldn’t be able to make sense of some of the files they find.

With a smart automated platform, you can bring dark data out into the open where it can be seen, classified, and added to your data risk assessment. If you don’t know about all of your data, there will always be hidden risks that threaten your business.

Taking Action After Assessing Risk

Let’s say you’re 100% sure that your team has cataloged all of your data. There’s not an ounce of dark data in your organization. You’ve identified the steps you need to take to secure your data more effectively. What happens next?

Your IT staff will have come up with a proposal for new protocols to protect your data. But it takes time to apply these protocols correctly. Access permissions may need changing, and data will need to be archived or relocated in some cases. Meanwhile, your organization is generating more data with every passing day.

It’s easy to see how this becomes a treadmill problem. You never stop running, and eventually, you run out of breath. How can you get a real understanding of your data when it’s always changing, and your risk assessments can’t keep up?

Switch to a Smart Platform

The solution is simple. You need an automated platform that can find files, categorize them, and apply restrictions according to your IT department’s recommendations. That’s what Aparavi does. See it for yourself: Book a demo today or ask us for a rapid data risk assessment.