The way business happens in today’s world makes data security inherently complex. Employees are working on a variety of devices in various locations. Thanks to the cloud, the tidy perimeter that existed with on-premises networks no longer exists.
In 2020, the use of malware increased by 358%, and ransomware usage increased by 435%, according to research by Deep Instinct. And the risks are increasing as new technology such as IoT creates more opportunities for cybercriminals. For example, Cisco estimates that distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks will grow to 15.4 million by 2023—more than double the 7.9 million recorded in 2018. The security risks that come with modern business require a laser focus on data loss protection.
What Is Data Loss Protection?
Data loss protection comprises a set of tools and processes for preventing and detecting data breaches, exfiltration, and unwanted destruction of sensitive data. It’s designed to defend an organization against both data loss (such as in a ransomware attack) and data leakage (where sensitive data is exposed).
Data loss protection is the next generation of data loss prevention. Traditionally, data loss prevention dealt with on-premises networks. But as the network has evolved with the capabilities of the cloud, the perimeter essentially dissolved, and most threats today originate at the endpoint. For this reason, data loss protection must go much further than traditional prevention strategies did.
Causes of Data Loss
As the perimeter has dissolved, the causes of data loss have become more varied. Data loss protection must accomplish the following three responsibilities.
Address insider threats: According to a Verizon report, the cost of insider attacks has increased 31% since 2018 and is now at $11.45 million. Insider threats may come in the form of a disgruntled employee or an attacker who’s compromised a privileged user account to access data.
Prevent data exfiltration: Verizon's report also notes that 55% of data breaches involve financially motivated organized crime. Often, attackers are seeking sensitive data as their target. Attackers use a variety of methods, including phishing, malware, and code injection.
Avoid unintentional data exposure: Other data loss occurs by accident. Employees may unintentionally lose data publicly, provide access to information via the internet, or fail to restrict access in the way company policy demands.
Organizations must ensure tools and policies are in place to identify risk points in each of these scenarios.
What Do Organizations Need to Protect?
The significance of the data protection mandate is evident as we watch more and more organizations experience the fallout of both cybercriminal activity and simple mistakes that expose sensitive data. Data loss protection strategies must consider the following.
Compliance regulations such as HIPAA and GDPR govern the collection and storage of personally identifiable information (PII), protected health information (PHI), and payment card information. You’ll want to be sure your system allows you to easily identify, classify, and tag sensitive data and monitor activity around that data. You’ll also need to keep reports to satisfy compliance.
The financial well-being of many organizations is tied to their intellectual property. Data protection should prevent intellectual property and trade secrets from loss and leakage.
One of the challenges of protecting data is a result of today’s mobile workforce. Employees and contractors are working from home, coffee shops, and other locations, often on their own devices. Data security systems must ensure that protection covers all these environments.
With cloud platforms and SaaS solutions, it can be challenging to ensure that access is granted only to individuals who should have access—and that access lasts only as long as necessary. Organizations must ensure that data generated and stored by these solutions is fully secured.
It’s also important to note that robust data loss protection requires full visibility into data movement. You need to know what data users are accessing and how they’re interacting with it in order to spot anomalies—and catch bad actors before they do significant damage.
How Snowflake Protects Against Data Loss and Leakage
Implementing data protection shouldn’t take a lot of time or a large budget. You can accomplish it easily with a platform such as Snowflake that’s designed to protect user data against attacks on all levels of the data architecture.
Snowflake provides a comprehensive set of features that help protect data from human error, malicious acts, and software or hardware failure at every stage in the data lifecycle.
Snowflake’s security features include:
Network policies for granting or restricting users access based on their IP address
Security roles for controlling user access to all objects in the system
AES-256 strong encryption for all ingested data stored in Snowflake tables and all files stored in internal stages for data loading and unloading operations
Maintenance of historical data (that is, data that has been changed or deleted) through Snowflake’s Time Travel feature (for querying and restoring data) and Fail-Safe feature (for disaster recovery; performed only by Snowflake)
Cross-region and cross-cloud replication/failover capabilities, which are key for recovering from region-wide outages.
At the same time that Snowflake protects your data, it ensures the high availability of data, so your data is ready for use when team members need it. Snowflake provides standard failover protection across three availability zones (including the primary active zone). As your data is ingested into Snowflake, it is synchronously and transparently replicated across availability zones.