Protecting Your Data: The Three-Pillar Approach to Cyber Security

Cyber security is an essential concern for every organization in the current digital era. As businesses continue to rely heavily on technology, they face an increased risk of cyber-attacks and data breaches. So, it is crucial to have a comprehensive approach to cyber security to safeguard sensitive data and information. The three-pillar approach is a practical framework for achieving this goal. 

This article will discuss the first pillar of the three-pillar approach to cyber security: data and information protection.

What is the Three-Pillar Approach to Cyber Security?

The three-pillar approach to cyber security is a framework that involves people, processes, and technology. The approach is designed to create a comprehensive security system that protects an organization’s assets from cyber threats. The three pillars are:

  1. Data and Information Protection
  2. Infrastructure Protection
  3. Threat Prevention and Detection

Data and Information Protection: The First Pillar

Data Classification: Data can be classified into public, confidential, and proprietary categories. An organization might use automated classification tools to help speed up the process and ensure consistency. Moreover, metadata tagging can help track data moving through an organization’s systems.

Access Control: There are different models for access control, such as Role-Based Access Control (RBAC), Discretionary Access Control (DAC), and Mandatory Access Control (MAC). Choosing the one that best fits your organization's needs and size is essential. RBAC, for instance, assigns roles to users and then grants permissions based on these roles, streamlining the process for larger organizations.

Encryption: Understanding the difference between symmetric and asymmetric encryption is vital. Symmetric encryption uses a single key for encryption and decryption, making it faster but less secure. On the other hand, asymmetric encryption uses different keys for encryption and decryption, making it slower but more secure. Also, using the latest encryption standards like AES-256 is crucial in maintaining data security.

Data Backup and Recovery: It's essential to have onsite and offsite backups, known as the 3-2-1 strategy. This strategy recommends having at least three copies of your data stored on two different types of storage, with one backup kept offsite. Furthermore, regular testing of backup and recovery plans is crucial to ensure they will work when needed.

Data Retention: Automated data lifecycle management tools can help organizations define, manage, and enforce data retention and deletion policies. Such tools can help maintain compliance and prevent data hoarding, which can increase the risk of data exposure.

The Importance of Data and Information Protection

In an era where data is frequently referred to as the 'new oil,' protecting sensitive information from cyber threats and data breaches is a non-negotiable priority for every organization. Here are a few reasons that underline the essential nature of data and information protection:

  • Securing Sensitive Information: Protecting sensitive information is the cornerstone of maintaining trust with clients, stakeholders, and employees. Techniques such as data classification help identify which data is most sensitive and therefore require heightened levels of protection. Access control ensures that only authorized individuals can access specific data, reducing the risk of internal data leaks. Meanwhile, encryption adds a layer of protection, ensuring that, even if data falls into the wrong hands, it remains unreadable and, therefore, safe.
  • Mitigating the Impact of Data Breaches: Data breaches lead to financial losses and can cause long-term reputational damage. Having robust data backup and recovery mechanisms allows organizations to restore data quickly during a breach. It reduces downtime, minimizes loss, and demonstrates a level of preparedness that can help maintain stakeholder trust, despite the breach.
  • Maintaining Compliance with Legal and Regulatory Requirements: Various industries and regions have strict regulations regarding data handling, such as GDPR in Europe and CCPA in California. Data retention policies, guided by these regulations, help ensure that data is stored and managed in a manner that maintains compliance. Non-compliance can lead to hefty fines and penalties, emphasizing the importance of effective data retention strategies.
  • Enabling Business Continuity: Besides the points above, data protection is crucial for maintaining business continuity. Disruptions caused by data breaches or losses can stall critical business processes and result in significant losses. Effective data and information protection strategies ensure that businesses can continue operations despite threats and attacks.
  • Building Trust with Customers and Partners: Effective data and information protection reassures customers, partners, and stakeholders about the organization's commitment to safeguarding their information. This creates a trust-based relationship that can enhance business opportunities and partnerships.

Data and information protection is an all-encompassing, essential facet of cyber security that impacts every aspect of an organization, from financial well-being to reputation and regulatory compliance. It should therefore be approached with the seriousness and dedication it deserves.

Protecting Infrastructure and Threat Prevention/Detection

In this blog post, our focus was predominantly on the first pillar - Data and Information Protection - as it is our expertise. However, we understand the significance of a holistic security approach. For those interested in delving deeper into the other two pillars, Infrastructure Protection and Threat Prevention/Detection, we recommend resources such as the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) guidelines and cyber security platforms like CyberSeek and Cybrary. These platforms offer valuable insights into hardening network infrastructure, managing vulnerabilities, implementing intrusion detection systems, setting up Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) systems, and staying informed about the latest threats.

  • Infrastructure Protection involves hardening your network infrastructure, maintaining security configurations, managing vulnerabilities, and implementing intrusion detection systems. The choice between Intrusion Detection Systems (IDS) and Intrusion Prevention Systems (IPS) would depend on your organization's specific needs and the level of automatic intervention you want.
  • Threat Prevention and Detection entails proactive measures to prevent attacks and detect threats early. This involves using next-gen antivirus solutions, conducting regular vulnerability assessments and penetration testing, and setting up a Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) system for real-time analysis of security alerts. Threat intelligence feeds and sharing platforms can provide up-to-date information on the latest threats.

The three-pronged approach to cyber security, starting with data and information protection, is an imperative strategy for any organization aiming to defend its sensitive data from cyber threats and breaches. Employing methodologies such as data classification, access control, encryption, data backup and recovery, and data retention forms the backbone of this primary pillar. By embracing these protective measures, organizations equip themselves with a robust defense mechanism against the ever-evolving cyber threat landscape

Dasera remains at the forefront of these developments, providing a comprehensive data security platform designed to meet the challenges of the modern digital landscape. Dasera leverages automation to provide robust data security and governance controls, ensuring our client's most valuable data assets are well-protected. Request a demo and try it today!


David Mundy