Dark, Risky Data is Your Biggest Threat

Data discovery is the collection and analysis of data from various sources to gain insight from hidden patterns and trends. It is the first step in fully harnessing an organization’s data to inform critical business decisions and avoid a potential breach. It is also a key component of the Data Centric Audit and Protection Strategy (DCAP) recommended by Gartner, and it involves finding, identifying, and collecting data from across all organizational databases and silos, from cloud-based storage to individual laptops/workstations.

Keeping PII and PCI Secure

Being able to locate and classify data should be front and center of your cybersecurity strategy. New regulations require you to not only know where your data is, but what’s in it, particularly if it contains personally identifiable information (PII).  Every organization manages PII, whether for customers or employees. At the very least, your HR and finance teams are dealing with this sensitive data that can include social security numbers, personal addresses, bank account information, driver’s license numbers, and more. Payment Card Industry (PCI) data is equally common, with many organizations accepting credit card transactions from customers and clients.

Protecting Confidential Business Information

Beyond PII and PCI, businesses contain a range of other confidential client and internal information that must be closely guarded. In professional service firms with remote workforces (like consultants, lawyers, and CPAs), employees are regularly entrusted with information from multiple clients and expected to keep it all separate and secure. Here again, unhappy employees are a risk, as well as any employees being terminated. Doing data discovery reduces this risk by offering insight into what type of data individuals have, so that you can protect your organization and your clients.

Additionally, data discovery can identify confidential records that are no longer needed by individuals or the company and that can be deleted per defensible deletion policies. You should also tag and classify all confidential data, so that you can better manage its lifecycle going forward.


Download our complimentary white paper, “Data Discovery: The First Step in Reducing Organizational Risk.”


Quickly Responding to Security Threats

When a security breach or other incident occurs, your team needs to act fast and triage efforts around the most sensitive and highest priority data. The longer that takes, the greater the risk. If you’re already regularly executing data discovery and classifying documents based upon their sensitivity and organizational value, your teams will be equipped to immediately focus their attention on protecting the data that matters most.

When to Execute Data Discovery

The data landscape of your organization is constantly changing. Every day, information is added, edited, downloaded, saved, and deleted. Quarterly, yearly, or even monthly manual data discovery won’t cut it. To ensure you have an up-to-date understanding of your organizational data and risk, data discovery must be an ongoing process powered by automation to decrease both human error and the hours invested in inventorying and analyzing your data.

Finding a Data Discovery Solution

Data discovery is important across industries and organizations to reduce your vulnerability for data breaches, privacy compliance costly noncompliance fines, and other unnecessary expense and risk. Sherpa’s Altitude® data discovery platform allows organizations to search and collect data, create comprehensive audit reports, defensibly delete data, and answer regulatory and privacy compliance. What’s more; it provides total visibility into all data from anywhere, including all local workstations/laptops. In addition to your structured databases, Altitude can search for sensitive data in the following locations:

  • Laptops and desktop workstations
  • Network files shares
  • On-premises software
  • PST files in email systems
  • Cloud services like OneDrive, SharePoint, and Google Drive

With these features and more, Sherpa’s Software Altitude empowers you to efficiently remediate risk and comply with essential regulations like GDPR, CCPA, and HIPAA, all with one easy-to-use software platform.

To learn more and see how Altitude’s data discovery tools can mitigate risk in your organization, contact us at 1-800-255-5155 or info@sherpasoftware.com.