IT and Business Insights for SMB Solution Providers

The Data Discovery-Security Connection

You can’t protect what you don’t know is there, which is why locating, categorizing, and prioritizing data is critical for an effective cybersecurity strategy. By Pedro Pereira

DATA IS THE QUARRY cyberthieves covet above all else, and the resource that channel pros must protect above all too. Yet you can’t protect what you don’t know is there.

That’s why data discovery—locating, categorizing, and prioritizing data—is critical to any cybersecurity strategy. It’s especially important with sensitive employee and customer data subject to regulatory compliance, as well as any proprietary data a business generates.

Data discovery is a service that channel pros are delivering to customers by leveraging tools such as Tableau, Microsoft Power BI, Conversionomics, Atlan, and more.

Barbara Paluszkiewicz, CEO of CDN Technologies, an MSP in Oakville, Ontario, likens data discovery to gathering information on the performance of a hockey team’s players. “Can you imagine how difficult it would be to put a hockey team together to win a Stanley Cup without having any data about the performance of the players?” she asks. “It would be impossible.”

The same principle applies to the data in your computer network, Paluszkiewicz notes. “Data discovery enables you to understand where your data is located, how is it secured, accessed, and transported when, where, and by whom.”

Barb Paluszkiewicz

Data discovery helps companies stay compliant with regulatory requirements and internal data management policies too, adds John Douglass, CEO of Pileus Technologies, an MSP in Wichita, Kan. It can uncover risks, alert a business to potential exposure, and ultimately prevent breaches by triggering mitigation.

Data discovery services also represent a significant opportunity for solution providers to tighten bonds with clients. Businesses want to avoid the monetary losses and reputational damage that often result from data breaches; providers deliver value by helping to prevent such an outcome.

“Many solution providers, including me, are shifting their mindsets to be more security-focused and starting to have conversations with our customers so that we can present them with the information they need,” says Douglass. Providers that don’t do this are leaving clients at risk, he warns.

“There is a huge market out there for data discovery as [a] new service,” Douglass continues. “Once we can show the customer the possibilities and have the conversations needed to shift their mindsets from old-school thinking to where they should be and how we can help them, it opens the door for us to add this service.”

The profit opportunity for providers is significant. And as Paluszkiewicz points out, profit is measured in multiple ways: “It is not only measured by the bottom line but also by efficiency, productivity, and how well the owners of a company can sleep at night knowing that everything is taken care of regarding their IT.”

PEDRO PEREIRA is a New Hampshire-based freelance writer who has covered the IT channel for two decades.

Image: iStock

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