Dan in marketing is a great guy. You’ve had friendly conversations with him, grabbed lunch together from time to time, and you’ve only ever heard good things about him around the office and through Slack. You trust Dan to do his job.

But do you trust him with your Social Security number?

It’s not fair to the Dans of the world to ask questions like this. There is no reason for him or anyone else to be in a position to handle sensitive data that their role has no practical use for. But many companies have simply been unable to protect their employees by properly securing the data that they manage.

The issue is pervasive. According to a survey of IT professionals conducted by the Ponemon Institute, a whopping 71% of end users reported having access to data that they shouldn’t see. That includes personally identifiable information (PII), as well as data that would violate access rules dictated by GDPR, HIPAA, PCI DSS, and SOX, among others.

When data slips through the cracks like this, it puts potentially sensitive data in the hands of people who shouldn’t be handling it, and often don’t know how to protect it. According to that same Ponemon Institute survey, less than half of IT professionals believe end users actually observe the appropriate measures for protecting the data they have access to.

Take a company that has fallen behind on data and mix in users like Dan, who already may be lax on the best practices for data security, end up in possession of data that they don’t need and don’t know how to protect. It’s not hard to see how this is a recipe for disaster, and it’s all because the framework isn’t in place to make sure that data never reaches Dan’s endpoint, like a laptop or desktop computer.

This is where data security posture management (DSPM) comes in. DSPM is comprised of automated security solutions that enable security and IT departments to manage data security across their full breadth of datastores and applications. These tools improve a company’s overall security posture, and it can have significant benefits. It can reduce storage costs by eliminating duplicate and stale data, prove compliance and cut down on costs. Just as importantly, it can also shrink your company’s attack surface, limiting exposure of sensitive data and reducing the likelihood of a leak or breach.

DSPM is essential. It also can be a significant undertaking — time-consuming and resource-intensive to set up and manage if not done correctly. According to a study conducted by Enterprise Strategy Group, 70% of organizations say they rely on 10 or more security tools simply to manage their security posture.

If operating without DSPM best practices is like walking a tightrope without a safety net, using a plethora of security tools in their place is like setting up lots of little nets where you are most likely to fall. Yes, it is safer and it covers some of the areas of biggest concern, but it can’t protect against what you aren’t aware of and it can’t protect the entirety of your operation.

Making matters worse: that tightrope you’re walking just keeps getting longer. According to Enterprise Strategy Group, seven in 10 corporations reported feeling as though maintaining data security posture management has grown more challenging over the last two years. Attack surfaces are growing, the amount of data being interacted with is increasing, and managing it all requires more and more tools being stacked atop one another, creating more opportunities for failure within the chain.

Put simply, DSPM is a practice in need of significant streamlining. Imagine a chain of tools that is needed to connect applications and end users, growing increasingly complex and creating new weak points along the way. Instead, what is needed is a filter that can sit between applications and endpoints within an existing network. One that can automatically protect sensitive data, enforce security policy, and eliminate the risk of the Dans of the world or anyone else accessing data they don’t need and can’t protect.

That filter exists, and it’s called Nullafi. With Nullafi, there is no need to overhaul your entire network in order to institute new data hygiene practices or compliance-related protocols. It’s an agentless solution that dynamically detects and obfuscates sensitive data in transit, based on parameters you set and modify at will. With one click, those Social Security numbers that were sitting in the app Dan uses are masked before they ever arrive on his device. He’ll never see them again, and you’ll never have to worry how he’s handling them.

So do you trust Dan with your Social Security number? With Nullafi, you don’t have to! Ready to streamline your data security posture management? Book a demo today.

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