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Addressing the Challenges of Data Security Management

Data security management is a top priority for organizations. As the amount of sensitive data that businesses collect increases, so has the potential for that data to be compromised. Whether the compromise comes from a malicious insider or an opportunistic hacker, the results can include a loss of competitive advantage, breach of customer trust, and significant disruption to operations. In this article, we explore data security management best practices for protecting your company’s data. 

What is data security management?

Data security management describes the processes, procedures, and tools designed to protect your data from loss and from those who shouldn’t have access to it. A robust data security management program implements multiple safeguards to protect sensitive data from being improperly retrieved or stolen. 

While data security concerns protect data from falling into the wrong hands, data protection involves having backup systems in place in case data is accidentally lost. A related term, data privacy, encompasses the proper handling of sensitive consumer data in accordance with relevant data privacy laws and best practices. 

Best Practices for Managing Data Security in an Organization

Your organization’s data security management strategy will depend on your particular industry, company needs, and unique vulnerabilities. But all will be based on a collection of best practices. 

Maintain compliance

Many companies collect and store data covered by one or more legal regulations. Some of these are location-specific, such as the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the Brazilian General Data Protection Law (LGPD), and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA). Others are industry-specific, such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) or connected to federal government entities such as The Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP). Developing an in-depth understanding of relevant compliance requirements is an essential part of any data security management strategy.

Employ appropriate data security technologies

Properly protecting sensitive data from unauthorized users is a complex task and requires the use of multiple tools and technologies. The ones highlighted below have become foundational for data security management. 


Authentication is a simple, frontline data security strategy that can be incredibly effective at keeping data secure. The authentication process ensures the user is actually who they represent themselves to be. There are numerous ways to accomplish this including passwords, tokens, and two-factor and biometric authentication. 


Data encryption uses a complex algorithm to scramble sensitive information, making it unintelligible to anyone who steals it. Only those with the encryption key can access the data in its original form. Properly securing the encryption key is essential. With it, anyone can unscramble the encrypted data, accessing it in its original, usable format. 

Data masking

Data masking, also called data obfuscation, accomplishes something similar to encryption. But rather than scrambling the data’s original format, data masking simply changes the values of the data, substituting or shuffling characters or words while retaining its original format. Data masking software transforms the masked data into its original format when accessed by authorized end users. 

Physical access controls

The most traditional, nontechnical solution to securing your data involves physically limiting access to where your data resides. Using biometric or key card access systems, physical access controls place limits on who can access sensitive areas like an on-premises data center or server room.

None of these technologies is sufficient when used alone. For this reason, most companies employ a variety of different tools and technologies to provide robust protection.

Choose vendors wisely

Software and technology vendors should adhere to data security standards that align with the data security strategy of the organization. When selecting vendors, look for compliance with relevant government and industry data security standards. Examples of these data security-related compliance frameworks include HITRUST/HIPAA, ISO/IEC 27001, SOC 2 Type II, SOC 1 Type II, PCI-DSS, and FedRAMP.

Test your systems

Data security management isn’t a one-time task that can be checked off. It’s a process that involves continually testing your systems for vulnerabilities. Finding and resolving weak points before a malicious actor does can prevent the costly and time-consuming cleanup efforts that result from a data breach. Stress testing can be done using an internal team or outside experts who specialize in identifying potential areas of exposure. 

Identify additional sources of vulnerability and plan a response

Educating employees on how to manage data in an organization is crucial since employees are one of the weakest points in many organizations' data security. Providing training on data security-relevant topics such as creating strong passwords, recognizing and responding to phishing emails, and properly securing company-issued technology help create a company culture that supports good data security habits. 

Ensure data recovery 

Although not strictly part of data security management, data protection is an important part of ensuring business continuity in the event that business-critical data is corrupted or lost. Data recovery strategies may include having backup copies of data or using a cloud storage provider with built-in data recovery capabilities like Snowflake’s Time Travel and Fail-safe features. 

Managing Data Security with Snowflake

Data security has been built into Snowflake’s Data Cloud from the very beginning. Our robust security features are core to Snowflake, freeing you to focus on working with your data, rather than on protecting it. With comprehensive data security, you can entrust your most sensitive data to Snowflake. Our Data Cloud includes a multitude of features such as dynamic data masking and end-to-end encryption for data in transit and at rest. Built for the cloud, Snowflake leverages the most sophisticated cloud security technologies available. 

For government data security compliance, Snowflake’s government deployments have achieved Federal Risk & Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP) Authorization to Operate (ATO) at the Moderate level. In addition, support for ITAR compliance, SOC 2 Type 2, PCI DSS compliance, and support for HITRUST compliance validate the level of Snowflake security required by industries and state and federal governments. Built for the cloud, Snowflake leverages the most sophisticated cloud security technologies available. The result is a service that is secure and resilient, giving you the confidence to enable your most demanding data workloads with Snowflake.

See Snowflake’s capabilities for yourself. To give it a test drive, sign up for a free trial