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Five New Year Resolutions to Secure Your Data in 2024

Have you kicked off the new year with a bang? Determined to make this a year to remember for all the right reasons? As we accelerate into 2024, let’s talk about some meaningful New Year resolutions. Not the usual promises to hit the gym more (though that’s not a bad idea) but resolutions to boost the security of your organization’s data. Cybersecurity is built on a foundation of continuous improvement from the Deming cycle to OODA loops. Similarly, New Year Resolutions are an age old tradition that stems from our desire to do things better.

With this in mind, here are five data security New Year’s resolutions that every CISO should make. Add them to your list and make this year more secure than ever.

Lose Weight – Trim Down that Data Flab

Let’s start by shedding some data weight. By thinking of your data stores like a closet – you will quickly realize that it needs a good clean-up. There is stuff in there that you haven’t worn in over a year, maybe even 2. Have the moths got in, leaving holes everywhere? Do you really need that free T-shirt from Palo Alto that you got at RSA? It’s time to clean out the old, and make space for the stuff you use all the time.

The resolution: I will identify and securely reduce the amount of redundant, obsolete, and trivial (ROT) data that’s been piling up. It’s not just about decluttering; it’s about making your data environment sleek, efficient, and less of a playground for cyber threats.

Get Organized – Data Governance Makeover

You’ve got some new guests arriving this year, with the imminent integration of AI in every department across your organization. It’s time to tidy up your internal practices, and set clear rules before the party gets too wild. This isn’t just about rules and regulations! It’s about preparing for the influx of demand for AI-powered processes and algorithms. By making sure everyone knows where your data is and who’s invited, you can avoid a lot of stress. This is critical considering the added complexities and risks that come with the widespread spread of artificial intelligence.

The resolution: I will implement and enforce clear data governance to ensure that sensitive and critical data is identified, categorized, and treated with appropriate security measures based on its importance and impact on the organization.

Get Rid of Toxic Relationships – Reduce Excessive Privileges

Your friends are constantly urging you to get rid of your toxic relationships. Well… it’s also time to get rid of all that excess access to sensitive data and other toxic combinations that put you at risk. The goal is to keep your data relationships healthy and drama-free. Whether it’s external suppliers, dormant accounts, wildcard permissions, bob from accounting or that unnecessary service account with admin privileges, you can no longer wait to get rid of it. Organizations need to regularly review and update user permissions to ensure that individuals have access only to the data essential for their roles.By minimizing excessive access, organizations can significantly reduce the risk of insider threats and unauthorized data exposure.

The resolution: I will conduct thorough and regular audits of data access permissions to identify unused and unnecessary permissions and proactively reduce my data attack surface.

Regular Health Checks in 2024 – Keep an Eye on your Data Security Posture

Do you have an Apple Watch, Oura Ring or another type of fitness tracker? These cool gadgets keep an eye on various aspects of your health. So let’s give your data a regular check-up and use cool data monitoring tools to keep an eye on who’s accessing what, when, and how i.e. your data security posture. It’s like having a fitness tracker for your data – catching potential security hiccups early and making sure everything is in tip-top shape.

The resolution: I will regularly assess and take steps to enhance my organization’s data security posture. I will invest in advanced data detection and response tools to track and analyze data access patterns in real-time. This proactive approach enables you to identify and address potential security issues early on, allowing for timely intervention and mitigation.

Reduce Stress in 2024 – It’s time for Zero Trust

Avoiding stress sounds nigh on impossible for CISOs, but you could reduce your stress with a few practical tasks. For example, we all know how important multi-factor authentication (MFA) is in reducing the risk of credential compromise. In 2024, take it a step further by embracing the philosophy of Zero Trust. Instead of relying solely on perimeter defenses, adopt a mindset that monitors every access attempt down to the smallest data object or Zero Trust for Data. Regardless of the source, even if it’s within your trusted network. This approach not only enhances your organization’s security posture but also allows you to breathe a little easier.

The resolution: I will accelerate adoption of a Zero Trust philosophy with three key tasks:

  • I will conduct a comprehensive assessment of data and data flows within my organization to identify critical assets and categorize them based on sensitivity.
  • I will ensure all users with access to sensitive data have multi-factor authentication (MFA) enabled.
  • I will take steps to continuously enforce the principle of least privilege and ensure that users only have access to the resources necessary for their roles.

Need Help Staying Accountable this New Years?

Alright, CISOs, there you have it – your 2024 data security resolutions. So let’s make this year the one where we don’t just talk about cybersecurity; we we take real, impactful steps towards it. At Symmetry, we understand the challenges you face in this ever-evolving cybersecurity landscape, and we’re here to guide you every step of the way. Whether you’re streamlining your data with our proven strategies, fortifying your defenses through Zero Trust, or striving for excellence in your security posture, our team is dedicated to making your resolutions a reality. Let’s turn these goals into achievements together. Reach out to Symmetry today, and let’s make 2024 your most secure year yet.