Ensuring your data is compliant can be a fairly straightforward task. Your IT team works their way through the checklist, and stays out of trouble with lawyers and regulatory agencies. There’s value to that. But true data protection is more than regulatory compliance. In fact, even if you’re compliant, your organization could still be at risk unless you strategically identify and protect your most valuable data. Traditionally, you’ve been presented with IT security metrics—sometimes reassuring, other times alarming. But simply reviewing IT security metrics is not meaningful in and of itself. As an executive, you don’t evaluate issues in siloes. Instead, you excel at assessing issues in the broader context of your organizational operations. In other words, technical security data and metrics lack value unless viewed through the lens of business risk. When you’re presented with IT security metrics, your question is: What does this mean for my business? And ultimately, what data should I be most concerned with? The point is, not all data deserves equal protection. A more effective approach is to understand:
• Which data is most critical (also known as “crown jewels”)?
• Where does that data reside?
• How is it exposed to security risks?
• What potential impact would a security breach to this data have on your organization?
• What are the appropriate steps to take based on the data’s criticality? Ideally, this information should be offered in a business-consumable, highly visual presentation—one that clearly delineates business impact and risk exposure in a concise, actionable format.