What are The Basic Requirements for Enterprise Data Security?

Ankita Rawate Fortanix
Ankita Rawate
Published:Jun 3, 2024
Reading Time:4mins
enterprise data security

When a company opens for business, whether on a small scale or a large scale, one of the first challenges it encounters is handling data and its numerous operations. Compliance laws are becoming increasingly stringent, pushing businesses to prioritize securing their data before considering profits. Secured data forms the backbone of product innovation and efficient service delivery.

However, how does a company select the right solutions amidst many available? What are the essential features to consider?

To address these concerns, we have outlined the basics of enterprise data security here. 

1) Encrypt Data with Confidential Computing

Even with data encryption at rest, in storage, and during transit, applications and sensitive information remain vulnerable to unauthorized access and tampering during runtime.

An example of this vulnerability can be observed in database encryption. Suppose a company that encrypts its database while stored on disk and transmitted across the network.

However, when the application processes a user query during runtime, the data must be decrypted to be read and manipulated. At this point, if the operating environment of the application is compromised by a cyber attacker who has gained control through a vulnerability, the plaintext data becomes exposed.

The attacker can read sensitive information or inject malicious code to manipulate the data. This vulnerability calls for securing data at rest, in transit, and during its use, making Confidential Computing a fundamental component of a company's data security strategy. 

Confidential Computing helps secure data while it is in use with hardware-based trusted execution environments (TEEs) or software-based virtual equivalents, adding an extra layer of protection for sensitive data. 

2) Implement a Unified Key Management System (KMS) 

Organizations must opt for simplifying encryption key management. In a multi-cloud setup, each cloud provider's KMS might differ in features, management interfaces, and security protocols. This can lead to increased complexity, potential misconfiguration, and higher operational overhead. 

Organizations can streamline key management processes by adopting a unified KMS, enforcing consistent security policies and practices across all cloud environments. A unified KMS ensures that encryption keys are uniformly managed, rotated, and destroyed, reducing the risk of key mismanagement and potential vulnerabilities.

It offers centralized auditing and monitoring, providing better visibility into key usage and enhancing compliance with data protection regulations 

A customer-controlled Key Management System that integrates with a native cloud platform empowers organizations to take charge of their encryption keys like never before. 

3) Separation of Cloud Keys from Data 

The risk of a data breach is higher in a public cloud due to shared infrastructure and diverse threat models. Public clouds host many tenants, serving hundreds or thousands of organizations. This multi-tenancy increases the attack surface, allowing vulnerabilities from one tenant to affect others.

Cloud service providers (CSPs) manage the hardware and network, so any misconfiguration, security lapse, or vulnerability at their level directly impacts user organizations. While CSPs invest heavily in security, the visibility and control they offer clients are usually less detailed than in private or on-premises environments. 

While CSPs ensure the security of the cloud infrastructure, the onus of securing the data itself, including encryption and access management, lies with the organization. 

If cloud provider insiders or cybercriminals gain access to those keys, they can decrypt data stored in the cloud, leading to a data breach and violation of privacy regulations. Organizations should separate the cloud keys from the data they protect to maintain control over their encryption keys and data. 

4) Key Access Controls Based on Zero Trust

Managing numerous usernames and passwords can be cumbersome and worsens the risk of potential security breaches. Single sign-on (SSO) addresses these challenges by allowing users to authenticate once and access all authorized applications and services. 

This reduces the risk of password fatigue and weak practices like reusing passwords across platforms. The shift towards SSO is driven by the zero-trust security model, which assumes that threats can exist inside and outside the network. Under this model, consistently verifying trusted users and devices is the core principle.

Organizations must consider integrating the Key Management System with a single sign-on. The KMS should offer role-based access control (RBAC) and further fine-grain access control at the key level to ensure that only authorized personnel can access or manage encryption keys.

RBAC assigns users to predefined roles based on their job responsibilities, providing a structured approach to permission management.

Organizations can document that even within permitted access, the scope of actions is appropriately limited, reducing the likelihood of accidental or malicious key misuse.

5) Single-Pane View into Data 

Being able to monitor multicloud key management operations and author cryptographic policies from a centralized console helps with an audit trail to prove compliance with regulations.

If you have integrated your Key Management System with SIEM tools like Syslog, Splunk, or CSP logging, you can get enhanced protection and deep visibility into the data activity through the audit logs of these external tools. 

Organizations need to comply with data security regulations. Via the centralized console, the company's security team can author and enforce cryptographic policies, ensuring all encryption keys meet regulatory standards.

A unified Key Management System (KMS) integrated with Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) tools can enable the collection of audit logs from various cloud environments, offering real-time insights into key usage and data access patterns. 

If an unusual activity is detected, such as an unauthorized access attempt to an encryption key, the SIEM tool generates an alert and provides detailed logs. These logs help the security team trace the activity's origin, understand the extent of the breach, and take immediate action to mitigate potential risks. 

This consolidated approach simplifies the management and auditing process and strengthens the organization's security posture by ensuring comprehensive compliance with data protection regulations and enhancing visibility into the data’s lifecycle.

Conclusion 

In conclusion, organizations must follow these fundamental principles to secure their data no matter how advanced the threat landscape gets. These steps lay the groundwork for a robust security posture, but they are just the beginning.

Moving toward a layered security approach is essential for protecting diversified data. With advancements such as AI and post-quantum cryptography on the horizon, data security solutions must evolve to address these emerging challenges.

Our latest solution capability, Fortanix Key Insight, offers a comprehensive platform to discover, assess, and remediate data security risks, ensuring your organization remains ahead of potential threats. Download the solution brief here.

Share this post: