Sensitive data discovery (SDD) software helps organizations to identify, classify, and manage sensitive information across their data landscape. Data is one of an organization’s most valuable assets. Ensuring that data is appropriately safeguarded is critical to maintaining trust with customers and complying with increasingly stringent regulatory requirements. Implementing a sensitive data discovery solution can help automate this process, thereby reducing risks associated with human error. It also increases the efficiency and effectiveness of data management efforts.
Sensitive data discovery solutions utilize advanced algorithms, machine learning, and pattern recognition to identify sensitive information such as personally identifiable information (PII), credit card numbers, social security numbers, and other confidential data. Once this information has been identified, it can be secured and monitored.
With the exponential growth in the volume and complexity of data, it is essential for organizations to have tools that can automatically discover and classify sensitive information. These tools help in maintaining data security, enabling audit and compliance programs, and adhering to data privacy regulations like GDPR, CCPA, and HIPAA.
When evaluating sensitive data discovery solutions, there are a range of features to consider, these include ease of deployment, scalability, robustness of classification algorithms, and compatibility with existing systems. In this guide, we will list the top 10 sensitive data discovery software solutions based on their features, integration capabilities, ease of use, and customer feedback.
Everything You Need To Know About Sensitive Data Discovery Software (FAQs)
What Is Sensitive Data Discovery Software?
Sensitive data discovery software is used to identify the data within an organization that is particularly sensitive or valuable. This is important as sensitive data will be subject to additional handling and storage requirements. This needs to be done in a compliant and regulated manner.
Sensitive data discovery tools are useful as they give organizations visibility over their data, thereby allowing them to ensure everything is handled properly and securely. If you don’t know how much and what type of data is in your possession, you will be unable to ensure it is handled correctly.
There are many different types of sensitive data, though this often focuses on
- PII – Personally Identifiable Information, this is data where individual users can be identified based on what is known about them
- Health Information – Individuals may wish to keep their health data secret as it may be very revealing and link to ongoing procedures
- Financial Information – When an individual’s financial information is shared, there is the risk that this information can be used to steal money or used to leverage a user into behaving in a certain way. This type of information is often covered by PCI DSS which covers credit card security
How Does Sensitive Data Discovery Software Work?
Sensitive data discovery solutions begin with setting compliance policies. These can be set to default standards, or customized to reflect specific organizational goals. By using default settings, you can be sure that you are acting in accordance with all relevant laws, without needing to double check specific wording.
Once these policies have been defined, the solution can audit and monitor your databases to ensure that you are acting in accordance with these laws, across your entire organization. This is achieved through agentless, incremental scanning.
Once this data has been identified within your organization, it should be catalogued so that you can search for specific information (and types) easily. This allows privileged users to deal with all instances of a specific type of data.
Where there are instances of non-compliance, where sensitive data is mishandled, your platform should provide accurate and relevant notifications. This will allow you to make changes and ensure your data is handled correctly.
What Features Should You Look For In Sensitive Data Discovery Software?
Each sensitive data discovery provider offers a different set of features, addressing a subtly different data identification use-case. It can be difficult to understand which features are essential, and which are less relevant to your specific use case. In this section we will explain some of the most useful features that all sensitive data discovery solutions should have.
- Compliance Compatibility – To ensure that your solution is as useful as possible, it is worth ensuring that it is compatible with the compliance frameworks that your organization is subject to. If these policies are natively in-built with your platform, you can save time and effort (whilst minimising the chance of errors) as you do not need to build the policies yourself.
- On-demand Search – Your solution should make it easy to search and find information that meets specific criteria. You may need to identify and analyse all financial data to improve processes. If your solution has an accurate search tool, this task becomes a lot easier.
- Reports – The solution should automatically update you to instances where data is stored in non-compliant ways, allowing you to make the necessary changes. This reporting function can also provide valuable analysis of your different types of sensitive data, its amounts, and other useful metrics. Some solutions will offer regular risk assessments to ensure that your operations are as effective as they can be.
- Auto-Classification – Sensitive data discovery solutions should automatically classify your data depending on its type, the way it is stored, and the regulations that govern it. Other ways of tagging information might include location, or any other specific, data-relevant, metric.
- Comprehensive Data Ingestion – As well as agentless scanning of your storage areas to identify relevant data, your platform should integrate with existing analysis tools to log the data that they have identified and use. Not only does this make the data discovery process easier, but it ensures that all data (including metadata) can be accounted for.
This is not an exhaustive list of features, rather a list of some of the most relevant and useful features that you should look for when selecting a sensitive data discovery solution.