It is more important than ever for government agencies to get on board with protecting the data they are entrusted with. Unfortunately, this is a classic example of a task that’s easier said than done. Combined with the speed at which we share data and the increasing amount of data being stored, it is becoming harder and harder to protect our assets. GovLoop’s recent online training helped data owners explore tools that support government agencies protect themselves from data breaches and implement data security strategies up to the Department of Homeland Security’s standards.
During the training, Vormetric’s Federal Area Vice President, Wayne Lewandowski, laid out primary objectives for agencies struggling to implement a data security strategy. According to Lewandowski, government agencies must take three steps to accomplish a security strategy that includes cloud and complies with regulations. Once accomplished, your agency will have a great advantage complying with DHS standards.
Step One: Identify Your Data
Before agencies can secure their information, they must determine the scope and type of data that might require protection. This may not be an easy task as data is constantly moving very fast to new locations across different platforms. Some things to take in consideration when identifying your data is how fast data it’s moving around your agency, where the data lives at rest and what it looks like, and the increasing amount of expected data.
The velocity, variety, and volume of data often keep agencies from understanding their information. But, once your data has been properly identified, categorized, and classified, your agency will be a significant step further in protecting crucial data.
Step Two: Assign User Rights
Simply organizing and classifying data is not enough to keep it secure. The next step to stronger data security is delegating access to those who require it and restricting access to those who don’t.
This designation of user rights must be applied to every employee and account. Many data breaches happen due to abuse of administrators’ privileges and lax user restrictions. To safeguard your data from these threats, categorize data rights by user group, determine who needs access to crucial data, and ensure that administrators don’t have access to datasets irrelevant to their role
Step Three: Protect Your Data
Lastly, it’s time to install protections to safeguard your agency’s data from anyone who should not be able to access it. While government agencies’ security solutions already comply with specific standards, additional protections must extend into the cloud environment where other information resides.
By encrypting data before it leaves the agency network, agencies can be confident that their data is secure. Other agencies may have access to the cloud, but they will be restricted from accessing the information for which they don’t have the corresponding encryption key.
Following these three steps will help your agency protect itself against a data breach and secure crucial data. Want to learn more about securing your data against cyber attacks and complying with CDM standards? View the entire online training on-demand!