You know how it is: They’ve met online, the attraction has built, and now they are going on their first date.

She’s precious to you, and you’ve poured so much of your care, time and attention into keeping her — your sensitive data — safe. You know you can’t be by her side forever and you must give her freedom. Luckily, you’ve created a secure environment and given her the analytical mind she needs to make good decisions.

That doesn’t mean you’ll trust her with just anyone; you want to make sure she’s protected and in a safe environment. To do that, you need to know you have comprehensive data security before she walks out that door.

Data Security and Dating

Surprisingly, a parent’s relationship with a precious daughter is similar to how teams need to treat their sensitive data. Here are the four things you want to know before she leaves on her date — or before your sensitive data leaves your side.

1. Determine the Who

A father will ask who the date is. He’ll want to meet the date, talk to other people who know them and make sure they can be trusted. Similarly, a team protecting sensitive data must look at who is accessing and/or modifying that data, determine whether they should have access and to what degree and then keep track of what’s going on.

2. Tell Her Not to Settle

Your daughter deserves someone who is 100 percent dedicated to her and always has her back. Your sensitive data also deserves 100 percent!

Protecting some of your sensitive data in some of the places it lives is not sufficient — it’s just playing a shell game with attackers. To safeguard sensitive data, you need to secure data everywhere it lives, including big data environments, file systems, cloud environments and more.

Securing only databases just isn’t enough anymore. Given that IT environments constantly change, you need to make sure your security solution can keep up and adjust as your needs shift and grow.

3. Know Where the Action Is Happening

If you can’t be there yourself to watch the date, you want to make sure that other people will be around to spot possible questionable behavior.

In the same way, you must make sure you are tracking your sensitive data — except this is so it doesn’t wind up in a public place! Monitor sensitive data wherever it is.

You can jump right into monitoring to get a better understanding of what’s actually happening in your environment, or you can first discover and classify sensitive data and then put monitoring in place. Don’t forget that advanced analytics are an important part of monitoring. It allows suspicious behavior to be identified automatically so you can take the right real-time action.

4. Pass on the Right Tools

You want to know she can reach out and let you know if she needs anything, whether she’s delighted with how the date is going, feeling uncomfortable or runs out of gas. She’s smart and a good judge of character. She has all the tools she needs, from having that fully charged cellphone to knowing how to drive stick shift to being able to pull out the judo moves.

Likewise, your sensitive data needs the right tools so that it can call for help and you can act in real time. If your sensitive data is at risk now, it’s not sufficient to do something to protect it next week. You must be able to rely on a solution that can identify internal and external threats and also act in real time — whether that’s through alerting an administrator, blocking access or quarantining a suspicious user until investigation can be done.

Read Gartner’s Market Guide for Data-Centric Audit and Protection

Security Tools Can Help

IBM Security Guardium is a comprehensive data security solution that can help you support the four activities mentioned above. It also does more, from encrypting and masking data to performing vulnerability assessments on data repositories to automatically discovering and classifying sensitive data.

Guardium accomplishes this by delivering three key data security capabilities:

  • Analyze: Automatically discover sensitive data, uncover risks and take action to prevent data loss.
  • Protect: Provide complete protection for sensitive data. This includes the ability to monitor and control access to sensitive data and files, protect the data itself and protect the business from risk by providing automated compliance support.
  • Adapt: Seamlessly handle changes within the IT environment as you add new users and technologies and need to adjust to the increasing volume of data moving throughout the environment in a manageable and cost-effective way.

In addition to providing automated load balancing to help adjust to large and fluctuating workloads, Guardium supports a full array of data repositories so it can protect your sensitive data whether it’s in a database, an application, a big data environment or a cloud application. Guardium is modular, so you can start where you need to and expand capabilities as your needs change.

By leveraging a comprehensive solution that can analyze, protect and adapt, you can safeguard sensitive data and meet compliance mandates with confidence while reducing risk, containing costs and improving efficiency. Once you know you can do all these things, you can sit back, relax and let your data go out on a date.

Read Gartner’s new “Market Guide for Data-Centric Audit and Protection” to learn more about IBM Security Guardium’s comprehensive data security coverage.

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