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What is a Modern Data Security Approach?

Data governance and protection are essential for sensitive workloads as they move along the data pipeline. Risk, compliance, governance, and security professionals understand this need, fueling the desire to secure data not only in cloud data warehouses, but also in source systems, data transformation subsystems, and analytical stores.


The Failings of Current Approaches

Many companies use the cloud to store their data, but they still use old protections. These ways were made for data that was small and easy to control, that stayed inside the company's network. Now, data is big and complex, and it comes from many sources and goes to many places. Data and security teams need to make sure that the data is safe, even when it is used by different people and applications outside the company's network.

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Modern data systems use different kinds of data, like databases, files, events, and APIs. These data types may come from different providers, and they may have different security rules. When data moves between them using ELT or ETL, the security rules may not match or work well together. So, old ways of securing data are not enough. We need a new way of securing data that is flexible, scalable, and compatible with different data types and systems. The lack of common security standards makes data security more challenging, as traditional products may not work well with each other for operational or analytical data stores.


Therefore, organizations are now reevaluating their data security by looking at the different layers of their old data stack and finding out what they need for interoperability, scalability, and security without any old assumptions. To protect data before it reaches the cloud data warehouse, many data teams are shifting to a “shift left” approach to data security where data is secured early from the source system.

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What Does it Mean to Shift Left?

Shift left data security and governance are new approaches to protect and manage data throughout its lifecycle, especially when it is moved to the cloud. They involve applying policies and controls to data as soon as it leaves its source, and keeping them attached until it reaches its destination. This way, data security and governance are not left to the last stage, but are embedded in every step of the data journey.


Shift left data security and governance complement the existing features of cloud data warehouses, which offer strong access and security capabilities. They also empower data users to ensure that the right policies are followed and enforced while data is in transit and at rest. Shift left data security and governance help teams to address data risks earlier, faster, and more effectively.

How to “Shift Left” with Data Security

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“Shift left” data security has two important components: expanding data observability and establishing comprehensive data governance.


Data observability means that data security should be the priority before any application is deployed. It should not be limited to data quality or reliability, but integrated with the rest of the data observability features. This way, data security can benefit from the alerts and notifications that data observability provides.


Data governance platform capabilities usually include business glossaries, catalogs, and data lineage. They also use metadata to speed up and govern analytics. In “shift left” data governance, the same metadata is enhanced by data security policies and user access rights to increase trust and allow authorized users to access data. Using and establishing comprehensive data observability and governance is the key to data democratization. As a result, these proactive and transparent views over the security of critical data elements will also boost application development and improve productivity.


The “shift left” approach for data management is the new north star for data quality, observability, and now data security. Sensitive and regulated data that is unprotected before reaching cloud data warehouses is at a high risk of exposure. The concept of data mesh, and initiatives such as data products are shifting the responsibility of data to the business domain teams that are on the left. By applying these “shift left” principles, organizations can supercharge their security and governance by achieving full regulatory compliance and by allowing faster access to operational data for non-technical users via easy self-service.


Moving Forward

In today's digital world, data security is a top priority for any organization. However, many businesses struggle to keep up with the evolving threats and regulations that affect their data. That's why Webcheck Security offers Fractional Information Security Officer (FISO) consultants who can help clients "shift left" with data security.


Webcheck Security's FISO consultants have the expert knowledge and experience to help clients implement best practices for data security, such as encryption, access control, backup, and monitoring. They can also provide guidance on how to align security with business goals, budget, and culture.


Whether you need a FISO consultant for a short-term project or a long-term partnership, Webcheck Security can help you achieve your data security objectives. Contact us today to find out how we can help you shift left with data security.

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