To protect valuable data, organizations need to control and manage who can access it. Data access management regulates who has permission to view, modify, share, or delete data. It also determines the conditions under which someone can access data.
Without a well-managed data access policy, people can’t retrieve the information they need, and the risk of non-compliance is high. With the right tools, users can easily find the data they need to work more efficiently, and sensitive data is adequately secure. Implementing data management policies, procedures, and technologies is essential to protecting sensitive data and reducing the risk of data breaches.
This glossary covers data access management, its many benefits, and the best practices for setting up a data access control policy for your organization.
What is Data Access Management?
Data access management controls and manages legitimate human and non-human users to enterprise resources, whether on-premises or in the cloud. It ensures authorized users have access to the data they need while prohibiting access to unauthorized users. Data access control tools use authentication and authorization to enable businesses to restrict access based on a set of policies. They verify user identity and ensure they have the right to access the data. In secure environments, authorization always follows authentication.
Best Practices for Data Access Management
Best practices for designing a data access management policy cover everything from determining who has access to what to establishing a security structure and auditing data owner actions. To secure access to your organization’s data:
- Connect access to user roles. Would you let a stranger walk in your front door without a proper ID? Assigning access roles and credentials to everyone in your organization promotes accountability, making it easy to trace misuse back to individual users.
- Prioritize use cases. What are the vulnerabilities within your network? Which areas pose high-security risks? Data should be prioritized according to sensitivity, risk level, business impact, and compliance requirements.
- Limit access. Obviously, the more users with unlimited network access, the more at risk your data is. Users should be granted access only to data that concerns their job.
- Use multiple security layers. Authentication confirms that users looking to access data are who they say they are. Authentication processes typically include passwords, one-time pins, authentication apps, and biometrics. Many user verification systems now require multi-factor authorization (MFA). These multiple security layers are a proactive cybersecurity approach that strengthen access control. Anyone hoping to breach your system is typically unable to bypass all stages to succeed.
- Review and update access control. It’s a given that people who leave your organization should have access terminated. If your business regularly grants access to contractors, ensure it’s removed once their work is complete. It also helps establish a set schedule for reviewing access control so nothing falls through the cracks.
Data access management tools help ensure that the right people get the right data at the right time. They let you easily manage and control access for various digital identities, including IT managers and customer service agents accessing customer data.
Data Access Management Benefits
There are many advantages to developing a data access strategy. Three of the most beneficial are:
- Security. Businesses can limit access to sensitive or personally identifiable information (PII) to reduce the risk of data breaches or unauthorized data manipulation.
- Compliance. Organizations can more easily comply with data protection regulations that require them to collect and use data in lawful and transparent ways, including the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), and the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS).
- Improved operations. By controlling data access, businesses ensure only the proper people have access to certain information. This helps optimize operations, improve decision-making, and boost overall efficiency.
Another crucial benefit of data access control is establishing public trust with consumers who are increasingly aware of the value of their data and the risks bad actors pose.
The Role of AI in Data Access Management
AI helps organizations improve data security, reduce administrative burdens, and ensure secure data access. Key areas where artificial intelligence is being used in data access management include:
Adaptive Authentication: A dynamic multi-factor authentication process that analyzes various data points and user behavior patterns to determine risk levels of access attempts. Common authentication methods include SMS, email verification, OTP tokens, authentication apps, push notifications, and biometrics or face recognition.
Anomaly Detection: AI algorithms can detect pattern and behavior irregularities within data access logs. AI systems then learn what normal data access patterns look like and flag deviations that might indicate unauthorized access attempts or unusual behaviors.
Intelligent Access Request Approvals: AI can streamline access request approvals by automating routine and low-risk access authorizations.
Intelligent Access Control: AI techniques like natural language processing and machine learning help systems make more intelligent and contextual decisions on granting or denying data access.