March 1, 2023 By Rahul Sahni 3 min read

The rise in digital technology is creating opportunities for individuals and organizations to achieve unprecedented success. It’s also creating new challenges, particularly in protecting sensitive personal and financial information.

Personally identifiable information (PII) is trivial to manage. It’s often spread across multiple locations and formats and can be challenging to find and classify.

Organizations need a modern data discovery and classification solution to identify sensitive data across physical, virtual and public clouds.

The current state of sensitive data discovery and classification

Organizations are either in two camps (or a combination of the two):

  • Reliant on manual processes that require users to watermark sensitive data or use traditional spreadsheets with the help of DBAs to keep track of sensitive data sources
  • Using an automated Data Discovery tool based on pattern matching or keyword.

This traditional data discovery and classification might get an enterprise close, but when it comes to data security, close is not good enough. At the same time, these processes are inefficient and time-consuming at best. For data security in general, we have seen enterprises leverage AI and automation to augment their cyber defense. With data sprawl across clouds and the exponential growth of users accessing data, the need for a trusted AI-based data protection solution is growing. That similar trend is reflected in the data discovery segment, where enterprises simply cannot rely on manual processes to safeguard sensitive data.

Learn more on IBM Security Discover and Classify

Benefits of modern data discovery solutions

Modern data discovery solutions transformed how enterprises identify and secure their data. These solutions enable them to gain insights into their data by discovering, classifying, analyzing and visualizing data using advanced AI and machine learning techniques.

Data discovery is the first step in securing data spread across multiple clouds. Complex compliance and security requirements need businesses to have more granular info on where data is located physically and who is accessing it. This is often a challenge for enterprises due to several reasons:

  • Decentralized data discovery – Manual processes and lack of a central platform give inaccurate results at that data element level.
  • Data sprawl – Multiple vendors and clouds and disparate applications all housing ever-expanding data assets.
  • Siloed data – Sources of data that are their own island inhibit a strategic approach to the problem.

In addition, enterprises find it expensive to implement modern data discovery and classification capabilities, and, as a result, the inertia to do nothing continues.

However, the benefits have far exceeded the costs for enterprises that have taken steps to identify and classify the data. In addition to improved ability to pass complex audits and reduced exposure to privacy and compliance risks and fines, enterprises have improved their overall security posture by tying controls to actual data. Also, by knowing what data exists where, they can reduce the costs and complexity of managing data by deleting or moving old, unused data.

A good data discovery system will help you find structured and unstructured data.

The most significant benefit of any data discovery and classification solution is that it’s a central, enterprise-grade platform easily integrated with existing systems. It also provides all the standard functionality needed to get up and running quickly.

Whether you’re looking for insights into your current state or trying to plan for the future, data discovery tools give you access to a wide range of information about your data, including:

  • Size
  • Type
  • Format
  • Distribution
  • Quality
  • Lineage
  • Metadata relationships
  • Access rights.

Data discovery tools are also used to automate the discovery process, so you don’t have to review files manually.

What is IBM security discover and classify?

IBM Security Discover and Classify (ISDC) is a comprehensive tool for discovering, cataloging and protecting data. With advanced capabilities in automated data source discovery, AI/ML models for accurate data cataloging and integrations with dozens of tools, ISDC fills the gaps where others fall short.

With the correct Discovery and Classify tools, customers can gain immediate insights into their data, make more intelligent decisions faster and save money by providing the tools to automate the work of data scientists and data analysts. ISDC is engineered to do just that, and with its scaled-out architecture, it can support multiple enterprisewide deployments scanning petabytes of data.

Data Discovery is often a missing step in the enterprise journey to secure its data. This is expected to change as consumers start to demand more security over their data, and regulators are responding with stiff fines for enterprise missteps. In fact, according to Gartner, by 2023, companies that earn and maintain digital trust with customers will see 30 percent more digital commerce profits than their competitors. With a robust Data Discovery and Classification tool on their side, not only will the enterprise stay out of the data breach headlines, it will gain a significant advantage by winning customer trust.

If you’re interested in learning more about IBM Security Discover and Classify, please check out the product page. For a deeper dive into data discovery and ISDC, register for these on-demand webinars, A Perfect Marriage: ISDC + Guardium and Leveraging IBM Discover and Classify features to identify and secure data at previously unknown locations.

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