Data Quality and the Fight Against Cyber Security Breaches

Data Quality and the Fight Against Security Breaches

How can you avoid falling victim to the next big cyber security breaches? Part of the answer lies in ensuring the quality of your data, which is key to detecting and preventing attacks.

You don’t have to be a cyber security expert to know that these are trying times for digital security and privacy. From Heartbleed in 2014, to the Dyn DDoS affair in 2016, to the WannaCry and Petya ransomware attacks this year, security breaches have become a regular part of the news cycle  and those are just the big ones.

Data Quality and the Fight Against Cyber Security Breaches

The question is no longer whether you’ll be the target of a cyber security attack. It’s when and how frequently the attacks will hit your infrastructure.

Defense Strategies Against Security Breaches

Today’s security breaches come in different forms from DDoS to ransomware to data sniffing  and they are executed through a multitude of attack vectors. In the face of such a dynamic threatscape, there is no single way to keep yourself safe. Protecting yourself against the attacks instead requires a multifaceted approach that involves constructing many layers of defense:

  • Setting up network-level defenses like firewalls
  • Hardening your operating systems and applications using access-control tools like AppArmor
  • Running intrusion-detection systems that look for anomalies to detect attacks once they are in progress

None of these strategies will guarantee you immunity from attack, but they will make it harder to attackers to breach your defenses and gain access to sensitive data.

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Data’s Role in Cyber Security

One of the linchpins in your defense strategy is your data. That’s because data provides the foundation on which many modern cyber security tools operate.

Intrusion-detection systems use data analytics to determine what a normal environment looks like and find anomalies by comparing events to that healthy baseline.

The more advanced security tools available today also use data analytics to automate the configuration of firewall rules or modify access control policies in real time in response to threats.

Data Quality and the Fight Against Cyber Security Breaches

Cyber Security and Data Quality

Because so much of your cyber defense strategy hinges on data, ensuring the quality of your data is essential. Security tools that leverage data analytics will only perform as effectively as the data that powers them.

If the machine data that your intrusion-detection tools collect about your software environments is filled with incomplete or inaccurate information, then the tools will not be able to detect dangerous threats effectively. If user databases are populated with inaccurate information, your security tools will not be able to enforce proper access controls.

This is why maintaining quality data is essential for keeping your organization off the list of victims of the next major breach. Data quality is important for lots of other reasons, too, but cyber security is high on the list.

Syncsort’s data integration and data quality products can help you maintain effective defenses and harden your infrastructure against attacks. Learn more about what Syncsort can do in our report Building a Data Lake Checklist.

Christopher Tozzi

Authored by Christopher Tozzi

Christopher Tozzi has written about emerging technologies for a decade. His latest book, For Fun and Profit: A History of the Free and Open Source Software Revolution, is forthcoming with MIT Press in July 2017.
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