Orange County 949-556-3131

San Diego 619-618-2211

Toll Free 855-203-6339

Choosing The Right Wi-Fi Service For Your Business: A Decision-Making Guide

In the ever-evolving landscape of modern business, a reliable Wi-Fi service is not just a convenience; it’s a cornerstone of operational efficiency. However, selecting the right Wi-Fi solution in Orange County, CA, for your business can be a nuanced process, requiring careful consideration of various factors.

In this guide, we’ll navigate the decision-making process, ensuring that your chosen Wi-Fi service aligns seamlessly with your business needs and objectives.

Assessing Business Requirements

Before delving into the world of Wi-Fi standards and technologies, it’s crucial to assess your business requirements. Consider the size of your organization, the number of users, and the types of devices that will be connected to the network. Understanding your unique needs is the first step in choosing a Wi-Fi service in Orange County, CA, that can support your business operations effectively.

Types of Wi-Fi Networks: Exploring Options

Wi-Fi standards play a pivotal role in determining the capabilities of your network. The two primary standards, 802.11ac, and 802.11ax, offer distinct features and performance levels. While 802.11ac provides reliable connectivity, 802.11ax introduces advancements in speed, efficiency, and performance. Carefully evaluate these options based on your business’s current and future requirements.

Security Considerations: Protecting Business Networks

In the digital age, ensuring the security of your Wi-Fi network is non-negotiable. Look for Wi-Fi solutions that incorporate robust security features, including advanced encryption protocols and secure access controls. The integration of a Cisco Wi-Fi service with integrated security solutions enhances overall network security, safeguarding your business against potential cyber threats.

Budgetary Constraints: Balancing Cost and Performance

Budget considerations are a reality for businesses of all sizes. However, it’s essential to strike a balance between cost and performance when choosing a Wi-Fi service. While cost-effective options are available, compromising performance for the sake of budget constraints may lead to long-term inefficiencies. Aim for a solution that aligns with your budget while delivering optimal performance.

Scalability and Future-Proofing

Businesses are dynamic entities, often experiencing growth and changes in technology requirements. Choosing a scalable Cisco Wi-Fi solution is crucial to accommodate future expansions seamlessly. Future-proofing your Wi-Fi service ensures that it can adapt to emerging technologies and standards, preventing the need for frequent upgrades.

Management and Monitoring Capabilities

Centralized management and monitoring tools are integral components of a robust Wi-Fi solution. These features enable remote management, real-time analytics, and efficient troubleshooting. Investing in a Cisco Wi-Fi service with these capabilities enhances IT support efficiency, allowing for proactive issue resolution and ensuring a seamless user experience.

User Experience: Prioritizing Performance and Reliability

The performance of your Wi-Fi service directly impacts user experience within your organization. Features such as beamforming, MU-MIMO (multi-user, multiple input, multiple output), and Quality of Service (QoS) contribute to enhanced connectivity, speed, and overall reliability. Prioritize user experience to foster a productive and efficient working environment.

Integration with IT Support Services

A well-chosen Wi-Fi service should seamlessly integrate with your existing IT support infrastructure. Consider how the solution aligns with ongoing support, troubleshooting, and maintenance requirements. An integrated approach ensures that your IT operations function harmoniously, minimizing disruptions and maximizing efficiency.

Industry-Specific Considerations

Different industries may have unique Wi-Fi requirements based on their specific operational needs. Tailor your decision-making process to address industry-specific considerations, whether it’s healthcare, retail, manufacturing, or another sector. Understanding these nuances ensures that your chosen Cisco Wi-Fi service aligns with the specific demands of your industry.

Final Words:

Choosing the right Wi-Fi service for your business is a strategic decision that goes beyond technical specifications. Remember, a well-chosen Wi-Fi solution like Cisco Wi-Fi is not just a connectivity tool; it’s a catalyst for operational excellence and business success.

Explore Terapixels Systems integrated security solutions and IT support services to complement your chosen Wi-Fi service and elevate your organization’s overall efficiency. Make the right choice today for a connected and secure future.

AI and Security Cameras: The Future of Safety in Southern California


In the bustling landscapes of Southern California, from the vibrant streets of Los Angeles to the sun-kissed beaches of San Diego, the safety and security of residents and businesses remain paramount. Over the years, security cameras have played a pivotal role in maintaining this security, but with the integration of Artificial Intelligence (AI), the game is rapidly changing. Companies like TeraPixels Systems are at the forefront of this evolution, blending advanced network cabling techniques with AI-powered surveillance systems to redefine security protocols.

The Intersection of AI and Security Cameras

Traditional security cameras served as the eyes on the street, providing footage that could be reviewed when an incident occurred. However, with the introduction of AI, these cameras have become proactive agents. Instead of just recording, they can analyze, detect, and predict unusual activities or potential threats in real-time.
For instance, AI-powered cameras can differentiate between a stray animal and a human, between a moving car and a person lurking around. They can recognize license plates, count the number of people in an area, and even detect loitering or unusual movement patterns that may indicate suspicious activity.

Network Cabling: The Backbone of Modern Surveillance

The fusion of AI and security cameras demands robust infrastructure. This is where advanced network cabling comes into play. The data flow between cameras and servers must be fast and uninterrupted for real-time processing and instant alerts. The cabling infrastructure, often overlooked, is crucial to support the vast amount of data transfer that AI algorithms require.

TeraPixels Systems, with its expertise in this realm, ensures that businesses in Southern California benefit from top-tier network cabling. This ensures seamless communication between AI-driven security cameras and centralized systems, allowing for swift data analysis and instant action when needed.

Southern California’s Push Towards AI-Integrated Safety

With its dynamic mix of urban centers, businesses, and residential areas, Southern California presents a unique set of security challenges. The region’s push towards smarter cities necessitates a safety infrastructure that is not just reactive but proactive. AI-equipped security cameras meet this demand.

Furthermore, as more businesses, institutions, and public spaces in the area adopt this technology, there’s a collective uplift in security standards. Cameras in one location can share data with those in another, creating an interconnected web of surveillance that constantly learns and adapts.

Why TeraPixels Systems Stands Out

TeraPixels Systems stands out as a beacon of innovation in this rapidly evolving landscape. With their commitment to integrating artificial intelligence with top-notch security cameras, they are setting new standards in the surveillance industry. Their in-depth knowledge of network cabling ensures that these high-tech cameras function optimally, making the most of their AI capabilities.

Furthermore, their understanding of Southern California’s unique needs and challenges enables them to tailor solutions for businesses and institutions in the region. TeraPixels Systems’ AI-driven surveillance solutions offer unparalleled security, from small retail outlets to sprawling commercial complexes.

In Conclusion

The future of safety and security is undeniably intertwined with artificial intelligence. As security cameras become more intelligent and proactive, the reliance on robust network cabling becomes even more pronounced. In this transformative journey, TeraPixels Systems emerges as a trusted partner, leading the way with innovative solutions redefining how Southern California perceives safety.

With AI at the helm and advanced infrastructure supporting it, residents and businesses in the region can look forward to a safer, more secure tomorrow.

Peace of mind is just a call away. Call TeraPixels Systems at 855-203-6339 now for a free consultation. Stay safe, stay secure.

Leveraging License Plate Recognition Security Cameras: A Look at the Power of Intelligent Surveillance


In an increasingly security-conscious society, harnessing technology for safety and crime prevention is a growing focus. One such innovation that is making significant strides is License Plate Recognition (LPR) security cameras. These advanced surveillance systems are equipped with software that can read and recognize license plates, providing a new level of security and utility for businesses, law enforcement, hotels, and restaurants.

Parking Management

One of the most prominent uses of LPR cameras is in parking management. Shopping centers, colleges, corporate campuses, and residential communities can automate parking access control with these cameras. They can automatically read and record each vehicle’s license plate entering or exiting, eliminating the need for traditional gate systems or parking tickets.

Traffic Law Enforcement

LPR cameras have significantly revolutionized traffic law enforcement. Law enforcement agencies can use these systems to detect and record traffic violations like speeding, illegal turns, or running red lights. They can also identify stolen vehicles or those associated with criminal activity in real-time, providing actionable intelligence that contributes to public safety.

Toll Collection

Toll roads, bridges, and tunnels benefit significantly from LPR technology. Automated toll collection systems can capture and process license plate data, facilitating a smooth traffic flow, reducing the need for vehicles to stop or slow down.

Enhanced Security at Sensitive Locations

LPR cameras can provide an additional layer of security at sensitive locations like airports, government buildings, or power plants. By monitoring and logging all vehicles that come in and out, security personnel can quickly identify any unauthorized vehicles, enhancing situational awareness and response time to potential threats.

Neighborhood Watch

Even on a smaller scale, residential neighborhoods can leverage LPR cameras as a part of their neighborhood watch programs. LPR systems can help identify and record unfamiliar vehicles that enter the area, potentially helping to prevent crime or assist law enforcement in the aftermath of an incident.

Retail and Business Security

Businesses can employ LPR cameras to enhance security in their parking lots. These systems can alert security staff of known shoplifters’ vehicles, vehicles lingering in the parking lot after hours, or cars that frequently visit but never patronize the business, enabling proactive responses to potential threats.

However, while there are numerous benefits to LPR cameras, considerations around privacy should be a priority. Clear policies on data use, retention, and access should be put in place and communicated to the public. It’s a balance between security and privacy rights that should be treated with due consideration.

The potential uses for LPR cameras are broad and impactful. From improving parking management to enhancing law enforcement capabilities and providing businesses and residents with increased security, LPR technology is transforming how we manage and secure our spaces. It’s a powerful testament to how technology can enhance our safety, security, and convenience when used responsibly.

Call TeraPixels Systems at (855)-203-6339 for a complimentary Commercial Security Camera consultation.

Network Cabling Installation: Building the Backbone of Efficient Connectivity


In today’s digital age, a robust and reliable network cabling infrastructure is the backbone of any successful organization. Whether it’s a small business, a large corporation, or an educational institution, efficient connectivity is essential for seamless communication, data transfer, and overall productivity. And at the core of a solid network lies proper network cabling installation. In this blog post, we’ll explore the importance of network cabling installation and its key considerations.

Network cabling installation refers to setting up the physical infrastructure that enables data transmission within a network. It involves carefully planning, designing, and installing cables, connectors, and related components to establish a secure and efficient network environment. Here are some reasons why professionally designed and installed network cabling is vital:

  • Reliability and Performance: A well-planned and properly installed network cabling system ensures reliable and high-performance connectivity. It minimizes the risk of signal interference, data loss, and transmission errors, resulting in faster and more stable network connections. This is especially crucial for organizations that rely on data-intensive applications, video conferencing, and real-time collaboration.
  • Scalability: A structured cabling system allows for more effortless scalability and future expansion. With proper planning, additional network devices and endpoints can be seamlessly integrated without disrupting the existing infrastructure. This flexibility is vital for businesses that experience growth or need to adapt to changing technological demands.
  • Simplified Troubleshooting and Maintenance: An organized and well-labeled cabling system simplifies troubleshooting and maintenance. Clear documentation and labeling of cables and connections make it easier for network administrators to identify and resolve issues quickly, minimizing downtime and optimizing network performance.
  • Future-Proofing: A professionally installed network cabling system considers current industry standards and best practices. By adhering to these standards, such as using Category 6 or higher cables, organizations can future-proof their infrastructure to support emerging technologies and higher bandwidth requirements.
  • Enhanced Security: Network cabling installation is vital in maintaining network security. Proper cable management ensures that sensitive data remains protected, minimizing the risk of unauthorized access or data breaches. Additionally, a well-designed cabling system can incorporate security measures such as physical access control and surveillance.

When considering network cabling installation, it’s essential to keep a few key factors in mind:

  • Professional Expertise: Engaging experienced network cabling professionals or certified installers is crucial. They have the skills and expertise to design and implement a cabling system that meets industry standards, regulations, and specific organizational needs.
  • Planning and Design: Thorough planning and design are essential for a successful installation. Factors like cable types, network topology, cable pathways, and equipment locations should be carefully considered to optimize performance and ensure future scalability.
  • Cable Management: Proper cable management includes organizing and labeling cables, utilizing cable trays, racks, and conduits, and implementing cable management solutions for neat and efficient cable routing. This simplifies troubleshooting, maintenance, and future upgrades.
  • Testing and Certification: After installation, rigorous testing and certification should be conducted to ensure that the cabling system meets industry standards and performs optimally. This includes tests for cable continuity, signal integrity, and network performance.

Network cabling installation forms the foundation of a reliable and efficient network infrastructure, an investment that pays off in improved connectivity, scalability, and productivity. By entrusting the installation to professionals and considering the critical factors mentioned, organizations can build a solid network infrastructure that meets their current and future connectivity needs.

Call TeraPixels Systems at (855)-203-6339 for a complimentary structured network cabling consultation.

Biometric Access Control and AI: Enhancing Security and Efficiency


In today’s digital age, security has become an ever-increasing concern, and organizations are exploring new ways to secure their facilities and data. Biometric access control systems and artificial intelligence (AI) have emerged as promising technologies in the realm of security, enhancing the security of access points and providing real-time insights and alerts to help prevent security breaches.

Biometric access control systems are advanced technology that uses unique biometric characteristics such as fingerprints, facial recognition, or voice recognition to authenticate a person’s identity and grant them access. These systems are much more secure than traditional access control systems that rely on keys, access cards, or PIN codes, which can be lost, stolen, or hacked. Biometric access control systems are virtually impossible to duplicate or fake, providing a high level of security.

One of the critical advantages of biometric access control systems is their accuracy and speed. In a world where time is money, biometric systems eliminate the need for manual checks, speeding up the process of granting access. For example, with facial recognition technology, individuals can gain access by simply looking at the camera, and the system will authenticate their identity in seconds. This makes the process much more efficient, particularly in high-traffic areas.

However, biometric access control systems could be more foolproof, and that’s where AI comes in. By integrating AI algorithms, biometric access control systems can analyze data from multiple sources, such as surveillance cameras and access control logs, to provide real-time insights and alerts. AI can detect potential security breaches, such as unauthorized access attempts, and send alerts to security personnel to take corrective action. Additionally, AI algorithms can be trained to recognize patterns and anticipate user behavior, allowing for a more streamlined and personalized user experience.

Integrating AI and biometric access control systems offers several benefits, including improved security, efficiency, and user experience. However, it is also essential to consider the potential challenges and risks associated with these technologies. One of the main challenges is data privacy and security. Biometric data, namely facial recognition or fingerprints, is highly personal and sensitive information and must be stored and processed securely. Any unauthorized access or misuse of biometric data can have serious repercussions, including identity theft and fraud.

Another challenge is the potential for prejudice in AI algorithms. AI algorithms are only proportionate to the data that feeds them. If the data utilized to train AI algorithms is skewed, it can lead to inaccurate results and decisions, particularly in facial recognition technology. This could lead to false negatives or positives, leading to unintended consequences and creating distrust in the technology.

Despite these challenges, the potential benefits of biometric access control systems and AI outweigh the risks. These technologies offer higher security, accuracy, and efficiency, making them an attractive option for organizations looking to enhance their security protocols. By implementing appropriate security measures and adopting responsible practices for handling biometric data, organizations can fully realize the potential of these technologies while minimizing the risks.

In conclusion, biometric access control systems and AI are promising technologies that offer several benefits in the realm of security. By leveraging biometric characteristics and AI algorithms, organizations can improve their security protocols, enhance the user experience, and gain real-time insights into potential security breaches. It is essential to acknowledge the potential risks and challenges that come with these technologies and adopt appropriate measures to ensure their secure and responsible implementation. With the right approach, biometric access control systems and AI can be powerful tools to protect people, facilities, and data in today’s digital age.

Call us at (855)-203-6339 for a complimentary access control security consultation.

Leadership compass database and big data security

1 Introduction 

Databases are arguably still the most widespread technology for storing and managing business-critical digital information. Manufacturing process parameters, sensitive financial transactions or confidential customer records – all this most valuable corporate data must be protected against compromises of their integrity and confidentiality without affecting their availability for business processes. The area of database security covers various security controls for the information itself stored and processed in database systems, underlying computing and network infrastructures, as well as applications accessing the data. 

However, since the last edition of KuppingerCole’s Leadership Compass on Database Security two years ago, a notable change in the direction the market is evolving has become apparent: as the amount and variety of digital information an organization is managing grows, the complexity of the IT infrastructure needed to support this digital transformation grows as well. 

Nowadays, most companies end up using various types of databases and other data stores for structured and unstructured information depending on their business requirements. Recently introduced data protection regulations like the European Union’s GDPR or California’s CCPA make no distinction between relational databases, data lakes or file stores – all data is equally sensitive regardless of the underlying technology stack. 

Because of this, we have decided to expand the scope of this year’s Leadership Compass to incorporate data protection and governance solutions for NoSQL databases and Big Data frameworks in addition to relational databases we focused on last time. 

Among the security risks databases of any kind are potentially exposed to are the following: 

  • Data corruption or loss through human errors, programming mistakes or sabotage; 
  • Inappropriate access to sensitive data by administrators or other accounts with excessive privileges;  
  • Malware, phishing and other types of cyberattacks that compromise legitimate user accounts; 
  •  Security vulnerabilities or configuration problems in the database software, which may lead to data loss or availability issues; 
  • Denial of service attacks leading to disruption of legitimate access to data; 

Consequently, multiple technologies and solutions have been developed to address these risks, as well as provide better activity monitoring and threat detection. Covering all of them in just one product rating would be quite difficult. Furthermore, KuppingerCole has long stressed the importance of a strategic approach to information security. 

Therefore, customers are encouraged to look at database and big data security products not as isolated point solutions, but as a part of an overall corporate security strategy based on a multi-layered architecture and unified by centralized management, governance and analytics. 

1.1 Market Segment

Because of the broad range of technologies involved in ensuring comprehensive data protection, the scope of this market segment isn’t easy to define unambiguously. In fact, only the largest vendors can afford to dedicate enough resources for developing a solution that covers all or at least several functional areas – the majority of products mentioned in this Leadership Compass tend to focus on a single aspect of database security like data encryption, access management or monitoring and audit. 

The obvious consequence of this is that when selecting the best solution for your particular requirements, you should not limit your choice to overall leaders of our rating – in fact, a smaller vendor with a lean, but flexible, scalable and agile solution that can quickly address a specific business problem may, in fact, be more fitting. On the other hand, one must always consider the balance between a well-integrated suite from a single vendor and a number of best-of-breed individual tools that require additional effort to make them work together. Individual evaluation criteria used in KuppingerCole’s Leadership Compasses will provide you with further guidance in this process. 

To make your choice even easier, we are focusing primarily on security solutions for protecting structured data stored in relational or NoSQL databases, as well as in Big Data stores. Secondly, we are not explicitly covering various general aspects of network or physical server security, identity and access management or other areas of information security not specific for databases, although providing these features or offering integrations with other security products may influence our ratings. 

Still, we are putting a strong focus on integration into existing security infrastructures to provide consolidated monitoring, analytics, governance or compliance across multiple types of information stores and applications. Most importantly, this includes integrations with SIEM/SoC solutions, existing identity, and access management systems and information security governance technologies. 

Solutions offering support for multiple database types as well as extending their coverage to other types of digital information are expected to receive more favorable ratings as opposed to solutions tightly coupled only to a specific database (although we do recognize various benefits of such tight integration as well). The same applies to products supporting multiple deployment scenarios, especially in cloud-based and hybrid infrastructures. 

Another crucial area to consider is the development of applications based on the Security and Privacy by Design principles, which have recently become a legal obligation under the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and similar regulations in other geographies. Database and big data security solutions can play an important role in supporting developers in building comprehensive security and privacyenhancing measures directly into their applications.

Such measures may include transparent data encryption and masking, fine-grained dynamic access management, unified security policies across different environments and so on. We are taking these functions into account when calculating vendor ratings for this report as well.

Despite our effort to cover most aspects of database and big data security in this Leadership Compass, we are not covering the following products: 

  •  Solutions that primarily focus on unstructured data protection having limited or no database-related capabilities
  •  Security tools that cover general aspects of information security (such as firewalls or antimalware products) but do not offer functionality specifically tailored for data protection 
  • Compliance or risk management solutions that focus on organizational aspects (checklists, reports, etc.) 

1.2 Delivery models 

Since most of the solutions covered in our rating are designed to offer comprehensive protection and governance for your data regardless of the IT environment it is currently located – in an on-premises database, in a cloud-based data lake or in a distributed transactional system – the very notion of the delivery model becomes complicated as well. 

Certain components of such solutions, especially the ones dealing with monitoring, analytics, auditing, and compliance can be delivered as managed services or directly from the cloud as SaaS, but the majority of other functional areas require deployment close to the data sources, as software agents or database connectors, as network proxies or monitoring taps and so on. Especially with complex Big Data platforms, a security solution may require multiple integration points within the existing infrastructure. 

In other words, when it comes to data protection, you can safely assume that a hybrid delivery model is the only viable option. 

1.3 Required Capabilities 

When evaluating the products, besides looking at the aspects of 

  • overall functionality 
  • size of the company 
  • number of customers 
  • number of developers 
  • partner ecosystem 
  • licensing models 
  • platform support 

We also considered the following key functional areas of database security solutions:

  • Vulnerability assessment – this includes not just discovering known vulnerabilities in database products, but providing complete visibility into complex database infrastructures, detecting misconfigurations and, last but not least, the means for assessing and mitigating these risks. 
  •  Data discovery and classification – although classification alone does not provide any protection, it serves as a crucial first step in defining proper security policies for different data depending on their criticality and compliance requirements. 
  • Data-centric security – this includes data encryption at rest and in transit, static and dynamic data masking and other technologies for protecting data integrity and confidentiality. 
  • Monitoring and analytics – these include monitoring of database performance characteristics, as well as complete visibility in all access and administrative actions for each instance, including alerting and reporting functions. On top of that, advanced real-time analytics, anomaly detection, and SIEM integration can be provided. 
  • Threat prevention – this includes various methods of protection from cyber-attacks such as denial-ofservice or SQL injection, mitigation of unpatched vulnerabilities and other infrastructure-specific security measures. 
  • Access Management – this includes not just basic access controls to database instances, but more sophisticated dynamic policy-based access management, identifying and removing excessive user privileges, managing shared and service accounts, as well as detection and blocking of suspicious user activities. 
  • Audit and Compliance – these include advanced auditing mechanisms beyond native capabilities, centralized auditing and reporting across multiple database environments, enforcing separation of duties, as well as tools supporting forensic analysis and compliance audits. 
  • Performance and Scalability – although not a security feature per se, it is a crucial requirement for all database security solutions to be able to withstand high loads, minimize performance overhead and to support deployments in high availability configurations. For certain critical applications, passive monitoring may still be the only viable option. 

2 Leadership

Selecting a vendor of a product or service must not be only based on the comparison provided by a KuppingerCole Leadership Compass. The Leadership Compass provides a comparison based on standardized criteria and can help to identify vendors that shall be further evaluated. However, a thorough selection includes a subsequent detailed analysis and a Proof of Concept of the pilot phase, based on the specific criteria of the customer. 

Based on our rating, we created the various Leadership ratings. The Overall Leadership rating provides a combined view of the ratings for 

  • Product Leadership 
  • Innovation Leadership
  • Market Leadership 

2.1 Overall Leadership 

The Overall Leadership rating is a combined view of the three leadership categories: Product Leadership, Innovation Leadership, and Market Leadership. This consolidated view provides an overall impression of our rating of the vendor’s offerings in the particular market segment. Notably, some vendors that benefit from a strong market presence may slightly drop in other areas such as innovation, while others show their strength, in the Product Leadership and Innovation Leadership, while having a relatively low market share or lacking a global presence. Therefore, we strongly recommend looking at all leadership categories, the individual analysis of the vendors, and their products to get a comprehensive understanding of the players in this market. 

In this year’s Overall Leadership rating we observe the same situation as in the previous release: only the two biggest vendors, namely IBM and Oracle, have reached the Leaders segment, which reflects both companies’ global market presence, broad ranges of database security solutions and impressive financial strengths. 

However, while last time we have positioned IBM slightly in the front, considering the fact that IBM’s solutions are database-agnostic, while half of Oracle’s portfolio only focuses on Oracle databases, this time the situation has changed. During the last year, Oracle has substantially increased its stake in the database security market, primarily with their innovative Autonomous Database technology stack, as well as numerous improvements in their existing products. Thus, we recognize Oracle as this year’s overall leader in Database and Big Data security. 

It is worth mentioning that while maintaining database agnosticism, IBM Data Protection has continued to add support for new data sources and has enhanced their capabilities to facilitate secure hybrid multicloud. IBM has also added support for unstructured data protection making Guardium a universal platform for data discovery, classification, and protection wherever this data resides. 

The rest of the vendors are populating the Challengers segment. Lacking the combination of an exceptionally strong market and product leadership, they are hanging somewhat behind the leaders, but still deliver mature solutions excelling in certain functional areas. We have a mix of companies we had recognized previously – Axiomatics, Imperva and Thales (which has completed the acquisition of Gemalto in early 2019) – and several newcomers like comforte AG, Delphix and SecuPI, each offering excellent solutions in their respective functional areas. 

There are no Followers in this rating, indicating the overall maturity of the vendors representing the market in our Leadership Compass. 

Unfortunately, several vendors we had in the rating last time were unable to participate this time. You can still find them mentioned in the later chapter “Vendors to Watch”. For more technical details about their products, please refer to the previous edition of this Leadership Compass. 

Again, we must stress that the leadership does not automatically mean that these vendors are the best fit for a specific customer requirement. A thorough evaluation of these requirements and a mapping to the product features by the company’s products will be necessary. 

Overall Leaders are (in alphabetical order): 

  • IBM
  • Oracle

2.2 Product Leadership 

The first of the three specific Leadership ratings is about Product Leadership. This view is mainly based on the analysis of product/service features and the overall capabilities of the various products/services.  

In the Product Leadership rating, we look specifically for functional strength of the vendors’ solutions. It is worth noting that, with the broad spectrum of functionality we expect from a complete data security solution, it’s not easy to achieve a Leader status for a smaller company. 

Among the distant leaders are the largest players in the market, offering a wide range of products covering different aspects of database security. 

IBM Security Guardium, the company’s data security platform provides a full range of data discovery, classification, entitlement reporting, near real-time activity monitoring, and data security analytics across different environments, which has led us to recognize IBM as the Product Leader. 

Oracle’s impressive database security portfolio includes a comprehensive set of security products and managed services for all aspects of database assessment, protection, and monitoring – landing the company at the close second place. 

Following them we can find two newcomers of the rating: comforte AG with their highly scalable and fault-tolerant data masking and tokenization platform that has grown from the company’s roots in high performance computing and decade-long experience serving large customers in the financial industry, and SecuPI – a young but ambitious vendor focusing on data-centric protection and GDPR/CCPA compliance for databases, big data and business applications. 

Finally, Thales after the recent acquisition of Gemalto and Imperva with a substantial R&D investment from Thoma Bravo have managed to improve their earlier ratings substantially, making it into the Leaders segment as well. 

Other vendors with their robust, but less functionally broad solutions are populating the Challengers segment. Delphix is a leading provider of data virtualization solutions for cloud migration, application development, and business analytics scenarios, all with a comprehensive set of data desensitization capabilities. Somewhat behind it we find Axiomatics – a leader in dynamic access control with a specialized ABAC solution for databases and Big Data frameworks. 

There are no followers in our product rating. Product Leaders are (in alphabetical order):

  • comforte AG 
  • IBM
  • Imperva
  • Oracle
  • SecuPI
  • Thales

2.3 Innovation Leadership 

Another angle we take when evaluating products/services concerns innovation. Innovation is, from our perspective, a key capability in IT market segments. Innovation is what customers require for keeping up with the constant evolution and emerging customer requirements they are facing.

Innovation is not limited to delivering a constant flow of new releases, but focuses on a customer oriented upgrade approach, ensuring compatibility with earlier versions especially at the API level and on supporting leading-edge new features which deliver emerging customer requirements. 

In this rating, we again observe IBM and Oracle in the Leaders segment, reflecting both companies’ sheer development resources which allow them to constantly deliver new features based on innovative technologies. 

IBM has continued to expand the focus of the Guardium platform – of note is the added support for unstructured data monitoring in on-prem and cloud stores, as well as the incorporation of the latest technological developments like containerized databases, artificial intelligence and consent management. 

Thanks to their recent breakthrough innovations with the Autonomous Database product family, which offers substantial improvements in terms of security, compliance, performance and availability of sensitive data by completely removing human interaction from database operations, Oracle has managed to increase their rating compared to the last edition, landing them at the first place in our innovation chart. 

Most other vendors can be found in the Challengers segment, reflecting their continued investments into delivering new innovative features in their solutions, which, however, simply cannot keep up with the behemoths among the leaders. 

The only company in the Followers segment is Axiomatics. This does not imply any negative assessment of their solutions, however, rather emphasizing the maturity of their technology and lack of major competitors in their narrow area of the market. 

Innovation Leaders are (in alphabetical order): 

  • IBM
  • Oracle

2.4 Market Leadership 

Here we look at Market Leadership qualities based on certain market criteria including but not limited to the number of customers, the partner ecosystem, the global reach, and the nature of the response to factors affecting the market outlook. Market Leadership, from our point of view, requires global reach as well as consistent sales and service support with the successful execution of marketing strategy.

Unsurprisingly, among the market leaders, we can observe all large and established vendors like Oracle, IBM, Thales, and Imperva. All these companies are veteran players in the IT market with a massive global presence, large partner networks and impressive numbers of customers (including those outside of the data security market).

All smaller and younger companies are found in the Challengers segment, indicating their relative financial stability and future growth potential. 

Market Leaders are (in alphabetical order): 

  • IBM
  • Imperva
  • Oracle
  • Thales

3 Correlated View 

While the Leadership charts identify leading vendors in certain categories, many customers are looking not only for, say, a product leader, but for a vendor that is delivering a solution that is both feature-rich and continuously improved, which would be indicated by a strong position in both the Product Leadership ranking and the Innovation Leadership ranking. Therefore, we deliver additional analysis that correlates various Leadership categories and delivers an additional level of information and insight. 

3.1 The Market/Product Matrix 

The first of these correlated views looks at Product Leadership and Market Leadership. 

In this comparison, it becomes clear which vendors are better positioned in our analysis of Product Leadership compared to their position in the Market Leadership analysis. Vendors above the line are sort of “overperforming” in the market. It comes as no surprise that these are mainly the very large vendors, while vendors below the line are often innovative but focused on specific regions. 

Among the Market Champions, we can find the usual suspects – the largest well-established vendors including IBM, Oracle, Thales, and Imperva. 

comforte AG and SecuPI appear in the middle right box, indicating the opposite skew, where strong product capabilities have not yet brought them to strong market presence. Given both companies’ relatively recent entrance to the global database security market, we believe they have a strong potential for improving their market positions in the future. 

Axiomatics and Delphix can be found in the middle segment, indicating their relatively narrow functional focus, which corresponds to limited potential for future growth. 

3.2 The Product/Innovation Matrix 

The second view shows how Product Leadership and Innovation Leadership are correlated. Vendors below the line are more innovative, vendors above the line are, compared to the current Product Leadership positioning, less innovative. 

Here, we see a good correlation between the product and innovation ratings, with most vendors being placed close to the dotted line indicating a healthy mix of product and innovation leadership in the market.  

Among Technology Leaders, we again find IBM and Oracle, indicating both vendors’ distant leadership in both product and innovation capabilities thanks to their huge resources and decades of experience

The top middle box contains vendors that are providing good product features but lag behind the leaders in innovation. Here we find comforte AG, SecuPI, Thales and Imperva, indicating their strong positions in the selected functional areas of data security. 

Delphix has landed in the middle segment, showing that even with somewhat limited functional focus a vendor can still deliver a healthy amount of innovation.

The only company showing a noticeably lower level of innovation is Axiomatics; still, it has landed in the middle left box, indicating strong product capabilities. 

3.3 The Innovation/Market Matrix

The third matrix shows how Innovation Leadership and Market Leadership are related. Some vendors might perform well in the market without being Innovation Leaders. This might impose a risk to their future position in the market, depending on how they improve their Innovation Leadership position. On the other hand, vendors that are highly innovative have a good chance of improving their market position but often face risks of failure, especially in the case of vendors with a confused marketing strategy. 

Vendors above the line are performing well in the market compared to their relatively weak position in the Innovation Leadership rating, while vendors below the line show, based on their ability to innovate, the biggest potential for improving their market position. 

Again unsurprisingly, we can find IBM and Oracle among the Big Ones – vendors that combine strong market presence with a strong pace of innovation. 

Thales and Imperva in the top middle box indicate their strong market positions despite somewhat slower innovation, while comforte AG, Delphix and SecuPI occupy the opposite positions below the dotted line, indicating their strong performance in innovation, which has not yet translated into larger market shares.

Axiomatics can be found in the left middle box, indicating their position as an established player in a small, but mature and “uncrowded” market segment, which inhibits innovation somewhat.

4 Products and Vendors at a glance 

This section provides an overview of the various products we have analyzed within this KuppingerCole Leadership Compass on Database and Big Data Security. Aside from the rating overview, we provide additional comparisons that put Product Leadership, Innovation Leadership, and Market Leadership in relation to each other. These allow identifying, for instance, highly innovative but specialized vendors or local players that provide strong product features but do not have a global presence and large customer base yet. 

In addition, we also provide four additional ratings for the vendor. These go beyond the product view provided in the previous section. While the rating for Financial Strength applies to the vendor, the other ratings apply to the product.

In the area of innovation, we were looking for the service to provide a range of advanced features in our analysis. These advanced features include but are not limited to implementing practical applications of new innovative technologies like machine learning and behavior analytics or introducing new functionality in response to market demand. Where we could not find such features, we rate it as “Critical”

In the area of market position, we are looking at the visibility of the vendor in the market. This is indicated by factors including the presence of the vendor in more than one continent and the number of organizations using the services. Where the service is only being used by a small number of customers located in one geographical area, we award a “Critical” rating.

In the area of financial strength, a “Weak” or “Critical” rating is given where there is a lack of information about financial strength. This doesn’t imply that the vendor is in a weak or a critical financial situation. This is not intended to be an in-depth financial analysis of the vendor, and it is also possible that vendors with better ratings might fail and disappear from the market. 

Finally, a critical rating regarding ecosystem applies to vendors which do not have or have a very limited ecosystem with respect to numbers of partners and their regional presence. That might be company policy, to protect their own consulting and system integration business. However, our strong belief is that the success and growth of companies in a market segment rely on strong partnerships. 

5 Product evaluation 

This section contains a quick rating for every product we’ve included in this report. For some of the products, there are additional KuppingerCole Reports available, providing more detailed information. In the following analysis, we have provided our ratings for the products and vendors in a series of tables. These ratings represent the aspects described previously in this document. Here is an explanation of the ratings that we have used: 

  • Strong Positive: this rating indicates that, according to our analysis, the product or vendor significantly exceeds the average for the market and our expectations for that aspect.
  • Positive: this rating indicates that, according to our analysis, the product or vendor exceeds the average for the market and our expectations for that aspect. 
  • Neutral: this rating indicates that, according to our analysis, the product or vendor is average for the market and our expectations for that aspect. 
  • Weak: this rating indicates that, according to our analysis, the product or vendor is less than the average for the market and our expectations in that aspect. 
  • Critical: this is a special rating with a meaning that is explained where it is used. For example, it may mean that there is a lack of information. Where this rating is given, it is important that a customer considering this product look for more information about the aspect. 

It is important to note that these ratings are not absolute. They are relative to the market and our expectations. Therefore, a product with a strong positive rating could still be lacking in functionality that a customer may need if the market in general is weak in that area. Equally, in a strong market, a product with a weak rating may provide all the functionality a particular customer would need. 

5.1 Axiomatics 

Axiomatics is a privately held company headquartered in Stockholm, Sweden. Founded in 2006, the company is currently a leading provider of dynamic policy-based authorization solutions for applications, databases, and APIs. Despite its relatively small size, Axiomatics serves an impressive number of Fortune 500 companies and government agencies, as well as actively participates in various standardization activities. Axiomatics is a major contributor to the OASIS XACML (eXtensible Access Control Markup Language) standard, and all their solutions are designed to be 100% XACML-compliant. 


  • Database-agnostic approach ensures unified policy application across different databases and big data stores 
  •  100% compliance with the XACML standard
  •  Shares the authorization model with other Axiomatics products for applications, APIs, etc.


  • Quite narrow functional focus compared to other products in the rating  
  •  Relies on 3rd party components to enforce policies 

The company’s flagship data protection solution is the Dynamic Authorization Suite built around the Axiomatics Policy Server, an enterprise-wide universal Attribute-Based Access Control (ABAC) product. Included in the suite are Axiomatics Data Access Filter MD for managing access to sensitive information in relational databases along with SmartGuard for Big Data frameworks and cloud data stores. 

Implemented as loosely coupled add-ons or proxies, the suite provides policy-based access control defined in standard XACML, as well as dynamic data masking, filtering and activity monitoring transparently for multiple data sources, which integrates seamlessly with other company’s access management solutions for applications, APIs and microservices and other third-party products.

The key features of the solution include dynamic context-aware authorization implemented in a vendor-neutral way, flexible access control to sensitive data based on real-time dynamic data filtering, dynamic data masking and filtering for financial, healthcare, pharmaceutical and other types of personal information, and centralized management of access policies across databases, applications, and APIs. 

5.2 Comforte AG

comforte AG is a privately held software company specializing in data protection and digital payments solutions based in Wiesbaden, Germany. The company’s roots can be traced back to 1998 when its founders came to the market with a connectivity solution for HPE NonStop systems – a fault-tolerant selfhealing server platform for critical business applications. Over the years, comforte’s offering has evolved into a comprehensive solution for protecting sensitive business data with encryption and tokenization, tailored specifically for critical use cases that do not allow even minimal downtime.


  • Unique hardened, scalable and fault-tolerant architecture for mission-critical use cases 
  • Deployment flexibility, hybrid cloud, and as-aService scenarios are supported  
  • Broad range of transparent application integration options, support for Big Data and stream processing frameworks 


  • Current functionality limited to tokenization and masking (other data protection
  • Somewhat limited market visibility outside of the financial industry 

A few years ago, comforte AG has entered the data-centric security market with their SecurDPS Enterprise solution that combines the company’s patented stateless tokenization algorithm, proven highly scalable and fault-tolerant architecture, flexible access control and policy management, augmented by a broad range of transparent integration options, which allow various existing applications to be quickly included into the enterprise-wide deployment without any changes in infrastructure or code. 

The platform’s decentralized and redundant architecture ensures deployment flexibility in any scenario: hybrid cloud and as-a-Service use cases are supported as well. Patented stateless tokenization algorithm supports limitless scaling across heterogeneous environments. Strong focus on regulatory compliance directly addresses PCI DSS and GDPR requirements. 

5.3 Delphix

Delphix is a privately held software development company headquartered in Redwood City, California, USA. It was founded in 2008 with a vision of a dynamic platform for data operators and data consumers within an enterprise to collaborate in a fast, flexible and secure way. With offices across the USA, Europe, Latin America, and Asia, Delphix is currently serving over 300 global enterprise customers including 30% of the Fortune 100 companies. 


  • Based on a universal, high-performance and space-efficient data virtualization technology 
  • Support for a broad range of database types and unstructured file systems
  • Transparent data masking and tokenization capabilities 
  • Preconfigured for GDPR compliance  


  • Limited data protection capabilities, lack of encryption support 
  • Limited monitoring and analytics functions 

Delphix Dynamic Data Platform is a software-based data virtualization platform – quickly provisioning virtual copies of masked or unmasked data across different IT environments. Delivered as virtual appliances that can be deployed anywhere, the platform offers unified support for on-prem, cloud and hybrid environments. 

Using compression, intelligent data block sharing and other optimizations and offering self-service capabilities and API-driven automation functions, the Delphix platform ensures that data consumers can get access to the data they need as quickly and efficiently as possible, enabling numerous usage scenarios: cloud migration, data analytics, DevOps automation of data delivery, test data management, and even disaster recovery. 

Since the platform is designed to be fully transparent for existing applications and services, this ensures effortless hybrid cloud deployment for new and existing applications. Powerful selfservice functions for data consumers enable quick provisioning, refreshing, rewinding, and sharing of data sources in minutes instead of hours, powering the emerging DataOps methodology. Integrated data anonymization features come preconfigured for GDPR compliance. 

5.4 IBM

IBM Corporation is a multinational technology and consulting company headquartered in Armonk, New York, USA. IBM offers a broad range of software solutions and infrastructure, hosting and consulting services in numerous market segments. With over 370 thousand employees and market presence in 160 countries, IBM ranks as one of the world’s largest companies both in terms of size and profitability.


  •  Full range of security capabilities for structured and unstructured data 
  • Support for hybrid multi-cloud environments
  • Advanced Big Data and Cognitive Analytics  
  • Nearly unlimited scalability 
  • Integrated ecosystem with IBM’s and 3rd party security, identity and analytics products
  • Massive network of technology partners and resellers


  •  Setup and operations may be complicated for some customers 

IBM Security, one of the strategic units of the company, provides a comprehensive portfolio including identity and access management, security intelligence and information protection solutions. The product covered in this rating is IBM Security Guardium – a comprehensive data security platform providing a full range of functions, including discovery and classification, entitlement reporting, data protection, activity monitoring, and advanced data security analytics, across different environments: from file systems to databases and big data platforms to hybrid cloud infrastructures. 

Among the key features of the Guardium platform are discovery, classification, vulnerability assessment and entitlement reporting across heterogeneous data environments; encryption, data redaction and dynamic masking combined with real-time alerting and automated blocking of malicious access; and activity monitoring and advanced security analytics based on machine learning. 

Automated data compliance and audit capabilities with Compliance Accelerators for specific frameworks like PCI, HIPAA, SOX or GDPR ensure that following strict personal data protection guidelines becomes a continuous process, leaving no gaps either for auditors or for malicious actors. 

5.5 Imperva

Imperva is an American cybersecurity solution company headquartered in Redwood Shore, California. Back in 2002, the company’s first product was a web application firewall, but over the years, Imperva’s portfolio has expanded to include several product lines for data security, cloud security, breach prevention, and infrastructure protection as well. In 2019, Imperva was acquired by private equity firm Thoma Bravo, making it a privately held company and providing a substantial boost in R&D. At the same time, major changes in product licensing were announced, which reduced a large number of standalone products towards a short list of convenient packages called FlexProtect Plans. 


  • Convenient licensing plans for comprehensive data protection 
  • Multiple collection methods ensure minimal performance overhead 
  • Advanced security intelligence and behavior analytics 
  • Large number of out-of-the-box workflows and compliance reports 


  • No support for data encryption or dynamic masking 

Instead of multiple SecureSphere products for Discovery and Assessment, Activity Monitoring, Database Firewall, as well as CounterBreach for threat protection and Camouflage for masking, Imperva customers only need to subscribe for a single FlexProtect for Data licensing plan to enable full protection of their sensitive data. 

The new data protection suite offers all the required capabilities, such as the unified protection across relational databases, data warehouses, Big data platforms, and mainframes; comprehensive activity monitoring, auditing, and forensic investigation, augmented with advanced security analytics based on behavior profiling; pre-defined policies, remediation workflows, and hundreds of compliance reports Integrations with other Imperva’s security products ensure that this multi-factored data security can be enforced across endpoints, web applications, and cloud services. 

A notable recent addition to Imperva’s portfolio is Cloud Data Security, a new offering that extends discovery, classification and analytics capabilities to database assets in the cloud. Delivered as SaaS, the platform can be deployed and configured in hours, delivering actionable insights for prioritizing threat remediations immediately.

5.6 Oracle

Oracle Corporation is an American multinational information technology company headquartered in Redwood Shores, California. Founded back in 1977, the company has a long history of developing database software and technologies; nowadays, however, Oracle’s portfolio incorporates a large number of products and services ranging from operating systems and development tools to cloud services and business application suites. 


  • Autonomous cloud database platform eliminating human administrative access
  • Automated provisioning, upgrades, backup and DR, no downtime 
  • Comprehensive product portfolio for all areas of database security 
  • Deep integration with other Oracle’s Data Provisioning, Testing and Cloud technologies  


  • A number of products are available only for Oracle databases 
  • Big Data and NoSQL products are not yet integrated with RDBMS security solutions  

The breadth of the company’s database security portfolio is impressive: with a number of protection and detection products and a number of managed services covering all aspects of database assessment, protection, monitoring and compliance, Oracle Database Security can address the most complex customer requirements, both on-premises and in the cloud.

The recently introduced Oracle Autonomous Database, which completely automated provisioning, management, tuning and upgrade processes of database instances without any downtime, not just substantially increases security and compliance of sensitive data stored in Oracle databases, but makes a compelling argument for moving this data to the Oracle cloud.

It’s worth noting that a substantial part of the company’s security capabilities is still specifically designed for Oracle databases only, which makes Oracle’s data protection solutions less suitable for companies using other DB types.  

This strategy seems to change slowly however as the company is planning to offer more database-agnostic tools in the future. 

5.7 SecuPI

SecuPI is a privately held data-centric security vendor headquartered in Jersey City, NJ, USA. The company was founded in 2014 by entrepreneurs with a strong background in financial technology, also known for coinventing the very concept of dynamic data masking. After realizing that data masking alone does not solve modern privacy and compliance problems, the company was established with a vision “to do the things the right way”. 


  • Integrated data protection and privacy platform with strong focus on GDPR/CCPA 
  • Application-level protection overlays simplify deployment and management 
  • User identity context for more fine-grained policies and monitoring
  • Broad support for big data and EDW platforms 


  •  Architecture potentially limits support of less popular or legacy platforms 
  • Small market presence compared to competitors

As opposed to most competitors that encrypt information at the database level, SecuPI’s approach is to embed encryption overlays directly into application stacks. Thus, the solution can only focus on supporting a few of major development platforms like Java or .NET instead of numerous distinct data source types. In addition, this approach gives the platform access to real user identities and not to typical service accounts used to connect to databases. With this technology, SecuPI delivers a single privacyfocused data protection platform for on-prem and cloud-based applications, which is easy to deploy and to operate thanks to the centralized management of data protection policies.

SecuPI software platform brings data-centric security and compliance closer to application owners and business units, enabling sensitive data discovery, classification, anonymization, and minimization across the whole organization, with centralized policy management along with real-time monitoring of all data flows and user activities without any changes in existing applications and network infrastructures. 

Built-in controls for user consent management, anonymization and other data subject rights (such as the right to be forgotten) ensure that all existing applications can be made compliant with GDPR and similar regulations quickly and without the need to adapt existing database structures.

5.8 Thales

Thales is a leading provider of data protection solutions headquartered in Austin, Texas, USA. With over 40 years of experience in information security, the company is a veteran player in such areas like hardware security modules (HSM), data encryption, key management and PKI. The company’s modern history began in 2000 when it became a part of Thales Group, an international company based in France, which provides solutions and services for defense, aerospace and transportation markets. In 2019, Thales completed the acquisition of Gemalto, its largest competitor in the data protection market, thus substantially increasing both its market position and functional capabilities with new services like Authentication and Access Management. 


  • Comprehensive transparent encryption, tokenization and masking capabilities  
  • High-performance thanks to hardware encryption support 
  • Centralized management across all environments, even 3rd party products 
  • Standard APIs for adding encryption support to existing applications


  • Primary focus on data protection only, no coverage of other functional areas  

In this rating we focus primarily on the Vormetric Data Security Platform, a unified data protection platform providing customers the flexibility, scale and efficiency to address different security requirements like transparent encryption of the entire database environments, privileged user access controls, granular fieldlevel data protection with encryption, tokenization and data masking, and a single security manager for maximizing value and minimizing the total cost of ownership. 

Notable features of the platform include centralized management of encryption keys and policies across all environments and products, application encryption APIs for embedding transparent encryption into existing apps, and dynamic masking with format-preserving tokenization. Live Data Transformation enables in-place encryption of data without the need to move it elsewhere first; this helps reduce maintenance windows for rotating encryption keys or other scenarios like versioned backups. Tight integrations with storage vendors enable innovative capabilities like efficient storage deduplication of transparently encrypted data. 

6 Vendors to watch 

In addition to the vendors evaluated in detail in this Leadership Compass, there are several companies that for various reasons were unable to participate in the rating but are nevertheless worth mentioning. Some of the vendors below are focusing primarily on other aspects of information security yet show a notable overlap with the topic of our rating. Others have just entered the market as startups with new, yet interesting products worth checking out. 

6.1 Dataguise  

Dataguise is a privately held company headquartered in Fremont, CA, United States. Founded in 2007, the company provides a sensitive data governance platform to discover, monitor and protect sensitive data on-premises and in the cloud across multiple data environments. Although the company primarily focuses on Big Data infrastructures, supporting all major Hadoop distributions and many Hadoop-as-a-Service providers, their solution supports traditional databases, as well as file servers and SharePoint. 

From a single dashboard, customers can get a clear overview of all sensitive information stored across the corporate IT systems, understand which data is being protected and which is at risk of exposure, as well as ensure compliance with industry regulations with a full audit trail and real-time alerts. 

6.2 DataSunrise 

DataSunrise is a privately held company based in Seattle, WA, United States. It was founded in 2015 with the goal of developing a next-generation data and database security solution for real-time data protection in heterogeneous environments. 

The company’s solution combines data discovery, activity monitoring, database firewall and dynamic data masking capabilities in a single integrated product. However, the company does not focus on cloud databases only, offering support for a wide range of database and data warehouse vendors. In addition, DataSunrise provides integrations with a number of 3rd party SIEM solutions and other security tools. 

6.3 DB CyberTech

DB CyberTech (formerly DB Networks) is privately held database security vendor headquartered in San Diego, CA, United States. Founded in 2009, the company focuses exclusively on database monitoring through non-intrusive deep protocol inspection, database discovery, and artificial intelligence. 

By combining network traffic inspection with machine learning and behavioral analysis, DB Networks claims to be able to provide continuous discovery of all databases, analyze interactions between databases and applications and then identify compromised credentials, database-specific attacks and other suspicious activities which reveal data breaches and other advanced cyberattacks. 

6.4 McAfee

McAfee is a veteran American computer security vendor headquartered in Santa Clara, California. Founded in 1987, the company has a long history in developing a broad range of endpoint protection, network, and data security solutions. Between 2011 and 2016, McAfee has been a wholly owned subsidiary of Intel. Currently, the company is a joint venture between Intel and an investment company TPG Capital. 

In the database security market, McAfee offers a number of products that form the McAfee Database Security Suite providing unified database security across physical, virtual, and cloud environments. The suite provides comprehensive functionality in such areas as database and data discovery, activity monitoring, privileged access control, and intrusion detection – all through a non-intrusive network-based architecture.

6.5 Mentis Inc 

MENTIS is a privately held company that provides sensitive information management solutions since 2004. It is headquartered in New York City, USA. The company offers a comprehensive suite of products for various aspects of discovery, management, and protection of critical data across multiple sources, built on top of a common software platform and delivered as a fully integrated yet flexible solution.

With this platform, MENTIS is able to offer business-focused solutions for such common challenges as GDPR compliance, migration to public clouds and sensitive data management for cross-border operations. The company promises quick and simple deployment for most customers with pre-built controls for data masking, monitoring, auditing and reporting for popular enterprise business applications. 

6.6 Micro Focus 

Micro Focus is a large multinational software vendor and IT consultancy. Originally established in 1976 in Newbury, United Kingdom, nowadays the company has a large global presence and a massive portfolio of products and services for application development and operations management, data management and governance, and, of course, security. In recent years, Micro Focus has grown substantially through a series of acquisitions, and in 2017, it merged with the HPE’s software business.

Voltage SecureData Enterprise, the company’s data security platform provides a comprehensive solution for securing sensitive enterprise data through transparent encryption and pseudonymization across multiple database types and Big Data platforms, on premises, in the cloud, and on the edge.

6.7 Microsoft

Microsoft is a multinational technology company headquartered in Redmond, Washington, USA. Founded in 1975, it has risen to dominate the personal computer software market with MS-DOS and Microsoft Windows operating systems. Since then, the company has expanded into multiple markets like desktop and server software, consumer electronics and computer hardware, mobile devices, digital services and, of course, the cloud. 

Given their leading position in multiple IT environments – on endpoints, in data centers and in the public cloud, Microsoft has the unique opportunity to collect vast amounts of security-related telemetry and convert it into security insights and threat intelligence. In recent years, the company has established itself as a notable security solution provider, and even though they do not yet offer specialized database security products, their portfolio in the areas of information protection and security analytics is worth checking. 

Even more interesting are the recent developments in their SQL Server platform, which focus on the concept of Confidential Computing – performing operations on sensitive data within secured enclaves. Combined with the existing encryption capabilities, this technology enables consistent data protection at any stage: at rest, in transit, and in use. 

6.8 Protegrity

Protegrity is a privately held software vendor from Stamford, CT, USA. Since 1996, the company has been in the enterprise data protection business. Their solutions implement a variety of technologies, including data encryption, masking, tokenization and monitoring across multiple environments – from mainframes to clouds. 

Protegrity Database Protector is a solution for monitoring and securing sensitive information in databases, storage and backup systems with policy-based access controls. Big Data Protector extends this protection to Hadoop-based Big Data platforms – protecting the data both at rest and in transit, as well as in use during various stages of processing. 

Protegrity Data Security Gateway provides transparent protection for data moving between multiple devices, without the need to modify any existing applications or services. 

6.9 Trustwave

Trustwave is a veteran cybersecurity vendor headquartered in Chicago, IL, United States. Since 1995, the company provides managed security services in such areas as vulnerability management, compliance, and threat protection. 

Trustwave DbProtect is a security platform that provides continuous discovery and inventory of relational databases and Big Data stores, agentless assessment of each asset for configuration problems, vulnerabilities, dangerous user rights, and privileges and potential compliance violations and finally enables comprehensive rep

The solution’s distributed architecture can meet the scalability demands of large organizations with thousands of data stores. 

7 Methodology 

KuppingerCole Leadership Compass is a tool which provides an overview of a particular IT market segment and identifies the leaders in that market segment. It is the compass which assists you in identifying the vendors and products/services in a particular market segment which you should consider for product decisions. 

It should be noted that it is inadequate to pick vendors based only on the information provided within this report. 

Customers must always define their specific requirements and analyze in greater detail what they need. This report doesn’t provide any recommendations for picking a vendor for a specific customer scenario. This can be done only based on a more thorough and comprehensive analysis of customer requirements and a more detailed mapping of these requirements to product features, i.e. a complete assessment. 

7.1 Types of Leadership 

We look at four types of leaders: 

  • Product Leaders: Product Leaders identify the leading-edge products in a particular market segment. These products deliver to a large extent what we expect from products in that market segment. They are mature.
  • Market Leaders: Market Leaders are vendors which have a large, global customer base and a strong partner network to support their customers. A lack of global presence or breadth of partners can prevent a vendor from becoming a Market Leader. 
  • Innovation Leaders: Innovation Leaders are those vendors which are driving innovation in the market segment. They provide several of the most innovative and upcoming features we hope to see in the market segment. 
  • Overall Leaders: Overall Leaders are identified based on a combined rating, looking at the strength of products, the market presence, and the innovation of vendors. Overall Leaders might have slight weaknesses in some areas but become an Overall Leader by being above average in all areas. 

For every area, we distinguish between three levels of products: 

  • Leaders: This identifies the Leaders as defined above. Leaders are products which are exceptionally strong in particular areas. 
  • Challengers: This level identifies products which are not yet Leaders but have specific strengths which might make them Leaders. Typically, these products are also mature and might be leading-edge when looking at specific use cases and customer requirements. 
  • Followers: This group contains products which lag behind in some areas, such as having a limited feature set or only a regional presence. The best of these products might have specific strengths, making them a good or even the best choice for specific use cases and customer requirements but are of limited value in other situations. 

Our rating is based on a broad range of input and long experience in that market segment. Input consists of experience from KuppingerCole advisory projects, feedback from customers using the products, product documentation, and a questionnaire sent out before creating the KuppingerCole Leadership Compass, as well as other sources. 

7.2 Product rating 

KuppingerCole as an analyst company regularly does evaluations of products/services and vendors. The results are, among other types of publications and services, published in the KuppingerCole Leadership Compass Reports, KuppingerCole Executive Views, KuppingerCole Product Reports, and KuppingerCole Vendor Reports. KuppingerCole uses a standardized rating to provide a quick overview of our perception of the products or vendors. Providing a quick overview of the KuppingerCole rating of products requires an approach combining clarity, accuracy, and completeness of information at a glance. 

KuppingerCole uses the following categories to rate products: 

  • Security
  • Functionality
  • Integration
  • Interoperability
  • Usability

Security – security is measured by the degree of security within the product. Information Security is a key element and requirement in the KuppingerCole IT Model (#70129 Scenario Understanding IT Service and Security Management1 ). Thus, providing a mature approach to security and having a well-defined internal security concept are key factors when evaluating products. Shortcomings such as having no or only a very coarse-grained, internal authorization concept are understood as weaknesses in security. Known security vulnerabilities and hacks are also understood as weaknesses. The rating then is based on the severity of such issues and the way vendors deal with them. 

Functionality – this is measured in relation to three factors. One is what the vendor promises to deliver. The second is the status of the industry. The third factor is what KuppingerCole would expect the industry to deliver to meet customer requirements. In mature market segments, the status of the industry and KuppingerCole expectations usually are virtually the same. In emerging markets, they might differ significantly, with no single vendor meeting the expectations of KuppingerCole, thus leading to relatively low ratings for all products in that market segment. Not providing what customers can expect on average from vendors in a market segment usually leads to a degradation of the rating, unless the product provides other features or uses another approach which appears to provide customer benefits.

Integration – integration is measured by the degree in which the vendor has integrated the individual technologies or products in their portfolio. Thus, when we use the term integration, we are referring to the extent to which products interoperate with themselves. This detail can be uncovered by looking at what an administrator is required to do in the deployment, operation, management, and discontinuation of the product. The degree of integration is then directly related to how much overhead this process requires. For example: if each product maintains its own set of names and passwords for every person involved, it is not well integrated. 

And if products use different databases or different administration tools with inconsistent user interfaces, they are not well integrated. On the other hand, if a single name and password can allow the admin to deal with all aspects of the product suite, then a better level of integration has been achieved.

Interoperability—interoperability also can have many meanings. We use the term “interoperability” to refer to the ability of a product to work with other vendors’ products, standards, or technologies. In this context, it means the degree to which the vendor has integrated the individual products or technologies with other products or standards that are important outside of the product family. Extensibility is part of this and measured by the degree to which a vendor allows its technologies and products to be extended for the purposes of its constituents. We think Extensibility is so important that it is given equal status so as to ensure its importance and understanding by both the vendor and the customer. As we move forward, just providing good documentation is inadequate. We are moving to an era when acceptable extensibility will require programmatic access through a well-documented and secure set of APIs. Refer to the Open API Economy Document (#70352 Advisory Note: The Open API Economy2 ) for more information about the nature and state of extensibility and interoperability.

Usability —accessibility refers to the degree in which the vendor enables the accessibility to its technologies and products to its constituencies. This typically addresses two aspects of usability – the end user view and the administrator view. Sometimes just good documentation can create adequate accessibility. However, we have strong expectations overall regarding well-integrated user interfaces and a high degree of consistency across user interfaces of a product or different products of a vendor. We also expect vendors to follow common, established approaches to user interface design. 

We focus on security, functionality, integration, interoperability, and usability for the following key reasons: 

  • Increased People Participation—Human participation in systems at any level is the highest area of cost and potential breakdown for any IT endeavor. 
  • Lack of Security, Functionality, Integration, Interoperability, and Usability—Lack of excellence in any of these areas will only result in increased human participation in deploying and maintaining IT systems. 
  • Increased Identity and Security Exposure to Failure—Increased People Participation and Lack of Security, Functionality, Integration, Interoperability, and Usability not only significantly increases costs, but inevitably leads to mistakes and breakdowns. This will create openings for attack and failure. 

Thus, when KuppingerCole evaluates a set of technologies or products from a given vendor, the degree of product Security, Functionality, Integration, Interoperability, and Usability which the vendor has provided are of the highest importance. This is because the lack of excellence in any or all areas will lead to inevitable identity and security breakdowns and weak infrastructure. 

7.3 Vendor rating 

For vendors, additional ratings are used as part of the vendor evaluation. The specific areas we rate for vendors are: 

  • Innovativeness 
  • Market position 
  • Financial strength 
  • Ecosystem

Innovativeness – this is measured as the capability to drive innovation in a direction which aligns with the KuppingerCole understanding of the market segment(s) the vendor is in. Innovation has no value by itself but needs to provide clear benefits to the customer. However, being innovative is an important factor for trust in vendors, because innovative vendors are more likely to remain leading-edge. An important element of this dimension of the KuppingerCole ratings is the support of standardization initiatives if applicable. Driving innovation without standardization frequently leads to lock-in scenarios. Thus, active participation in standardization initiatives adds to the positive rating of innovativeness. 

Market position – measures the position the vendor has in the market or the relevant market segments. This is an average rating overall markets in which a vendor is active, e.g. being weak in one segment doesn’t lead to a very low overall rating. This factor considers the vendor’s presence in major markets.

Financial strength – even while KuppingerCole doesn’t consider size to be a value by itself, financial strength is an important factor for customers when making decisions. In general, publicly available financial information is an important factor therein. Companies which are venture-financed are in general more likely to become an acquisition target, with massive risks for the execution of the vendor’s roadmap. 

Ecosystem – this dimension looks at the ecosystem of the vendor. It focuses mainly on the partner base of a vendor and the approach the vendor takes to act as a “good citizen” in heterogeneous IT environments. 

Again, please note that in KuppingerCole Leadership Compass documents, most of these ratings apply to the specific product and market segment covered in the analysis, not to the overall rating of the vendor. 

7.4 Rating scale for products and vendors 

For vendors and product feature areas, we use – beyond the Leadership rating in the various categories – a separate rating with five different levels. These levels are 

  • Strong positive – Outstanding support for the feature area, e.g. product functionality, or outstanding position of the company, e.g. for financial stability. 
  • Positive – Strong support for a feature area or strong position of the company, but with some minor gaps or shortcomings. E.g. for security, this can indicate some gaps in fine-grain control of administrative entitlements. E.g. for market reach, it can indicate the global reach of a partner network, but a rather small number of partners. 
  • Neutral – Acceptable support for feature areas or acceptable position of the company, but with several requirements we set for these areas not being met. E.g. for functionality, this can indicate that some of the major feature areas we are looking for aren’t met, while others are well served. For company ratings, it can indicate, e.g., a regional-only presence. 
  • Weak – Below-average capabilities in the product ratings or significant challenges in the company ratings, such as very small partner ecosystem. 
  • Critical – Major weaknesses in various areas. This rating most commonly applies to company ratings for the market position or financial strength, indicating that vendors are very small and have a very low number of customers. 

7.5 Spider graphs 

In addition to the ratings for our standard categories such as Product Leadership and Innovation Leadership, we add a spider graph for every vendor we rate, looking at specific capabilities for the market segment researched in the respective Leadership Compass. For the field of Database and Big Data Security, we look at the following eight areas: 

  • Vulnerability assessment – Discovering known vulnerabilities in database products, providing complete visibility into complex database infrastructures, detecting misconfigurations and the means for assessing and mitigating these risks. 
  • Discovery & Classification – Crucial first step in defining proper security policies for different data depending on their criticality and compliance requirements. 
  • Data-centric Security – Data encryption at rest and in transit (and in use wherever available), static and dynamic data masking and other technologies for protecting data integrity and confidentiality. 
  • Monitoring & Analytics – Monitoring of database performance characteristics, complete visibility for all access and administrative actions for each instance, including alerting and reporting functions, advanced real-time analytics, anomaly detection, and SIEM integration. 
  • Threat Prevention – Various methods of protection from cyber-attacks such as denial-ofservice or SQL injection, mitigation of unpatched vulnerabilities and other infrastructure-specific security measures. 
  • Access Management – Access controls for database instances, dynamic policy-based access management, identifying and removing excessive user privileges, managing shared and service accounts, detection, and blocking of suspicious user activities. 
  • Audit & Compliance – Advanced auditing mechanisms beyond native capabilities, centralized auditing and reporting across multiple database environments, enforcing separation of duties, forensic analysis, and compliance audits. 
  • Performance & Scalability – Ability to withstand high loads, minimize performance overhead and to support deployments in high availability configurations.

These spider graphs add an extra level of information by showing the areas where products are stronger or weaker. Some products show gaps in certain areas while being strong in other areas. These might be a good fit if only specific features are required. Given the breadth and complexity of the full scope of database security, only very few largest vendors have enough resources to offer solutions that cover all of the areas; thus, we do not recommend overlooking smaller, more specialized products – often they may provide substantially better return of investment. 

7.6 Inclusion and exclusion of vendors 

KuppingerCole tries to include all vendors within a specific market segment in their Leadership Compass documents. The scope of the document is global coverage, including vendors which are only active in regional markets such as Germany, Russia, or the US. 

However, there might be vendors which don’t appear in a Leadership Compass document due to various reasons: 

  • Limited market visibility: There might be vendors and products which are not on our radar yet, despite our continuous market research and work with advisory customers. This usually is a clear indicator of a lack of Market Leadership. 
  • Denial of participation: Vendors might decide on not participating in our evaluation and refuse to become part of the Leadership Compass document. KuppingerCole tends to include their products anyway as long as sufficient information for evaluation is available, thus providing a comprehensive overview of leaders in the particular market segment. 
  • Lack of information supply: Products of vendors which don’t provide the information we have requested for the Leadership Compass document will not appear in the document unless we have access to sufficient information from other sources.
  • Borderline classification: Some products might have only a small overlap with the market segment we are analyzing. In these cases, we might decide not to include the product in that KuppingerCole Leadership Compass. 

Despite our effort to cover most aspects of database and big data security in this Leadership Compass, we are not planning to review the following products: 

  • Solutions that primarily focus on unstructured data protection having limited or no database-related capabilities; 
  •  Security tools that cover general aspects of information security (such as firewalls or antimalware products) but do not offer functionality specifically tailored for data protection; 
  • Compliance or risk management solutions that focus on organizational aspects (checklists, reports, etc.) 

The target is providing a comprehensive view of the products in a market segment. KuppingerCole will provide regular updates on their Leadership Compass documents. 

We provide a quick overview of vendors not covered and their offerings in the chapter Vendors to watch. In that chapter, we also look at some other interesting offerings around the Database and Big Data Security market and in related market segments. 

Data security challenges in a hybrid multicloud world

Deploying in a hybrid, multicloud environment

Let’s face it, cloud computing is evolving at a rapid pace. Today, there’s a range of choices for moving applications and data to cloud that includes various deployment models, from public and private to hybrid cloud service types. As part of a broader digital strategy, organizations are seeking ways to utilize multiple clouds. With a multicloud approach, companies can avoid vendor lock-in and take advantage of the best-of-breed technologies, such as artificial intelligence (AI) and blockchain. The business benefits are clear: improved flexibility and agility, lower costs, and faster time to market. According to an IBM Institute for Business Value survey of 1,106 business and technology executives, by 2021, 85% of organizations are already operating multicloud environments. 98% plan to use multiple hybrid clouds by 2021. However, only 41% have a multicloud management strategy in place.1 When it comes to choosing cloud solutions, there’s a plethora of options available. It’s helpful to look at the differences between the various types of cloud deployment and cloud service models.

Understanding cloud deployment models

Over the past decade, cloud computing has matured in several ways and has become a tool for digital transformation worldwide. Generally, clouds take one of three deployment models: public, private or hybrid.

Public cloud

A public cloud is when services are delivered through a public internet. The cloud provider fully owns, manages and maintains the infrastructure and rents it to customers based on usage or periodic subscription, for example Amazon Web Services (AWS) or Microsoft Azure.

Private cloud

In a private cloud model, the cloud infrastructure and the resources are deployed on premises for a single organization, whether managed internally or by a third party. With private clouds, organizations control the entire software stack, as well as the underlying platform, from hardware infrastructure to metering tools.

Hybrid cloud

It offers the best of both worlds. A hybrid cloud infrastructure connects a company’s private cloud and third-party public cloud into a single infrastructure for the company to run its applications and workloads. Using the hybrid cloud model, organizations can run sensitive and highly regulated workloads on a private cloud infrastructure and run the less sensitive and temporary workloads on the public cloud. However, moving applications and data beyond firewalls to the cloud exposes them to risk. Whether your data is in a private cloud or a hybrid environment, data security and protection controls must be in place to protect data and meet government and industry compliance requirements.

Types of cloud service models

Data security differs based on the cloud service model being used. There are four main categories of cloud service models: infrastructure as a service (IaaS), platform as a service (PaaS), software as a service (SaaS), and database as a service (DBaaS), which is a flavor of PaaS. IaaS allows organizations to maintain their existing physical software and middleware platforms, and business applications on the infrastructure provided and managed by the service provider. Organizations benefit from this approach when they want to quickly take advantage of the cloud while minimizing impact and using existing investments. PaaS allows companies to use the infrastructure, as well as middleware or software provided and managed by the service provider. This flexibility removes a significant burden on a company from an IT perspective and allows it to focus on developing innovative business applications.

DBaaS solutions are hosted and fully managed database environments by a cloud provider. For example, a firm might subscribe to Amazon RDS for MySQL or Microsoft Azure SQL Database. SaaS is a service model that outsources all IT and allows organizations to focus more on their core strengths instead of spending time and investment on technology. It offers SaaS to the end users. In this cloud service model, a service provider hosts applications and makes them available to organizations. With each step, from IaaS to PaaS to SaaS to DBaaS, organizations give up some level of control over the systems that store, manage, distribute and protect their sensitive data. This increase in trust placed in third parties also presents an increase in risk to data security. Regardless of the chosen architecture, it’s ultimately your organization’s responsibility to ensure that appropriate data security measures are in place across environments.

Data security challenges to your cloud environment

Chances are, you’re already on your journey to the cloud. If your organization is like the vast number of businesses, your sensitive data resides in locations you can’t control and is managed by third parties that may have unfettered access. Research by the Ponemon Institute has found that insider threats are significantly increasing in frequency and cost. According to the institute’s findings, “the average global cost of insider threats rose by 31 percent in two years to $11.45 million and the frequency of incidents spiked by 47 percent in the same time period.” 4 The surveyed organizations had a global head count of 1,000 or more employees.

Determining how best to store data is one of the most important decisions an organization can make. The cloud is well-suited for long-term, enterprise-level data storage that allows organizations to benefit from massive economies of scale, which translates into lower expenses. And, this feature often makes cloud-based data centers a smarter place to store business-critical information than a stack of servers down the hall. 

Even as the expense of acquiring storage drops, it can be expensive in the long term due to increased business use and the number of personnel managing the storage systems. However, while putting data storage in the hands of third-party service providers can help save money and time, it can also pose serious security challenges and create new levels of risk.

Cloud deployments work on a shared responsibility model between the cloud provider and the consumer. In the case of an IaaS model, the cloud consumer has room to implement data security measures much like what they would normally deploy on premises and exercise tighter controls. 

On the other hand, for SaaS services, cloud consumers for the most part have to rely on the visibility provided by the cloud provider which, in essence, limits their ability to exercise more granular controls. 

It’s important to understand that whatever your deployment model or cloud service type, data security must be a priority. What’s of great concern is that your sensitive data now sits in many places, both within your company’s walls and outside of them. And, your security controls need to go wherever your data goes. 

Keep your sensitive data safe essentially everywhere 

Who has access to sensitive data in your organization? How sure are you that your staff or privileged users haven’t inappropriately accessed sensitive customer data?

In other words, you can’t protect what you don’t know. Simply locking down network access may not serve the purpose. After all, employees rely on this network to access and share data. This access means that the effectiveness of your data security is largely in the hands of your employees, some of which may no longer work directly for your company but still maintain access. Automated discovery, classification and monitoring of your sensitive data across platforms is crucial to enforce effective, in-context security policies and to help address compliance with regulations. 

Generally, in cloud environments, cloud service providers (CSPs) have the ability to access your sensitive data, which makes CSPs a new frontier in insider threats. Additionally, cybercriminals know that CSPs store vast amounts of important data, making such environments prime targets for attacks. To counteract these threats, sophisticated analytics-based tools that verify authorized and normal access must be utilized. Learn more

Consider encryption for cloud storage

With cloud storage, your data may move to a different place, on a different media, than its location today. The same is true of virtualization. Not only cloud-based data, but also cloud-based computing resources might shift rapidly in terms of both location and hardware underpinnings. The shifting nature of the cloud means that your security approach needs to address different kinds of cloud-based storage. Your approach also must account for copies, whether long-term backups or temporary copies, created during data movement. 

To address these challenges, you should deploy cross-platform solutions and employ strong encryption to help ensure that your data is unusable to unauthorized persons in the event that it’s mishandled. 

Even if your data is not primarily stored in the cloud, both the form in which data leaves and returns to your enterprise and the route data takes are important concerns. Data is only as secure as the weakest link in the processing chain. So, even if data is primarily kept encrypted and behind a firewall onsite, if it’s transmitted to an offsite backup or for third-party processing, the data may be exposed.

Malware detection or behavioral analysis that’s designed to spot suspicious activities can help prevent an internal or external data breach—and serve valuable functions in their own right. 

Encryption, however, helps protect data wherever it exists, whether it’s at rest or in motion.

Organizational challenges to your cloud environment

With data growing at an exponential rate, organizations are facing a growing list of data protection laws and regulations. What are at risk? Customers’ personal information, such as payment card information, addresses, phone numbers and social security numbers, to name a few. To have an effective security solution, organizations should adopt a risk-based approach to protecting customer data across environments. 

Here are five challenges that could impact your organization’s security posture: 

  •  Ensuring compliance 
  •  Assuring privacy 
  •  Improving productivity 
  •  Monitoring access controls 
  •  Addressing vulnerabilities

IBM Security™ Guardium® data protection platform is designed to help your organization meet these challenges with smarter data protection capabilities across environments. 

Keep up with compliance

The realities of cloud-based storage and computing mean that your sensitive data across hybrid multicloud systems could be subject to industry and government regulations. 

If your data is in a public cloud, you must be aware of how the CSP plans to protect your sensitive data. For example, according to the European Union (EU) General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), information that reveals a person’s racial or ethnic origin are considered sensitive and could be subject to specific processing conditions.5 These requirements apply even to companies located in other regions of the world that hold and access the personal data of EU residents.

Understanding where an organization’s data resides, what types of information it consists of, and how these relate across the enterprise can help business leaders define the right policies for securing and encrypting their data

Additionally, it could also help with demonstrating compliance with regulations, such as:

  • Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) 
  • Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) 
  • Security Content Automation Protocol (SCAP) 
  • Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA) 
  • Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH) 
  • Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) 
  • California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA). 

IBM Security Guardium solutions are designed to monitor and audit data activity across databases, files, cloud deployments, mainframe environments, big data repositories, and containers. The process is streamlined with automation, thus lowering costs and time for compliance requirements. Learn more

Address privacy issues

With the proliferation of smartphones, tablets and smart watches, managing access controls and privacy can become a daunting task. One of the challenges for security administrators is ensuring that only individuals with a valid business reason have access to personal information. For example, physicians should have access to sensitive information, such as a patient’s symptoms and prognosis data, whereas a billing clerk only needs the patient’s insurance number and billing address.

Your customers expect you to make their privacy a priority. Start with developing a privacy policy, describing the information you collect about your customers and what you intend to do with it.

IBM Security Guardium Insights provides security teams with risk-based views and alerts, as well as advanced analytics based on proprietary machine learning (ML) technology to help them uncover hidden threats within large volumes of data across hybrid environments. Learn more

Hear from Kevin Baker, Chief Information Security Officer at Westfield, on the data privacy challenges facing his organization, and his approach to addressing them through the necessary insights and automation while scaling to support innovation with IBM Security Guardium Insights. 

Improve productivity

Security and privacy policies should enable and enhance, not interfere with business operations. Policies should be built into everyday operations and work seamlessly within and across all environments—in private, public, on-premises and hybrid environments—without impacting your productivity. For example, when private clouds are deployed to facilitate application testing, consider using encryption or tokenization to mitigate the risk of exposing that sensitive data.

IBM® Guardium solutions can help your security teams monitor user activity and respond to threats in real time. This process is streamlined with automated and centralized controls, thus reducing the time spent on investigations and empowering database administrators and data privacy specialists to make more informed decisions. 

According to Ponemon Institute, IBM Guardium solutions can help make IT security teams more efficient.7 Prior to deploying the Guardium solution, about 61% of the surveyed IT security teams’ time was spent identifying and remediating data security issues. Post deployment, the average percentage of time spent on such activities was 40%, a decrease of 42%.

Monitor access controls

The lifecycle of a data breach is getting longer, states a study by the Ponemon Institute. In fact, the institute’s research found that 49% of the data breaches studied were due to human error, including system glitches and “‘inadvertent insiders” who may be compromised by phishing attacks or have their devices infected or lost/stolen.” 

Cybercriminals could range from individuals to state-sponsored hackers with disruptive intentions. They could be rogue computer scientists trying to show off or make a political statement, or they may be tough, organized intruders. They could be disgruntled employees or even foreign state-sponsored hacker who want to collect intelligence from government organizations.

Breaches can also be accidental, such as stolen credentials, human error or misconfigurations, for example, when permissions are set incorrectly on a database table, or when an employee’s credentials are compromised. One way to avoid this issue is by authorizing both privileged and ordinary end users with 

“least possible privilege” to minimize abuse of privileges and errors. Organizations should protect data from both internal and external attacks in physical, virtual and private cloud environments

Perimeter defenses are important, but what’s more important is protecting the sensitive data wherever it resides. This way, if the perimeter is breached, sensitive data will remain secure and unusable to a thief. Declining perimeters make protection of data at its source crucial.

A layered data security solution can help administrators examine data access patterns and privileged user behaviors to understand what’s happening inside their private cloud environment. The challenge is to implement security solutions without hampering the business’ ability to grow and adapt, therefore providing appropriate access and data protections to ensure data is managed on a need-to-know basis, wherever it resides. 

Address vulnerability assessments

When it comes to defending against attackers, what worked in the past may not work today. Many organizations rely on diverse security technologies that could be operating in silos. According to a study by Forrester Consulting, on average, organizations are managing 25 different security products or services from 13 vendors.

The number of data repository vulnerabilities is vast, and criminals can exploit even the smallest window of opportunity. Some of these vulnerabilities include missing patches, misconfigurations, and default system settings that could leave gaps that cybercriminals are hoping for. This complexity is increasingly difficult to keep track of and manage as data repositories become virtualized. 

Furthermore, companies that move to cloud often struggle to evolve their data security practices in a way that enables them to protect sensitive data while enjoying the benefits of the cloud. The more cloud services your organization uses, the more control you may need to manage the different environments. 

Think about the use of homegrown tools that are in place today for data security. Will the homegrown tools you’re using today work tomorrow? For example, with data-masking routines or database activity monitoring scripts, will there be coding changes required to make them work on a virtual database? Chances are that a significant investment will be required to update these homegrown solutions. In short, organizations need a data-centric approach to security wherein security strategies are built into the fabric of their hybrid, multicloud environments. 

Unlike a point solution, IBM Security Guardium Insights supports heterogeneous integration with other industry-leading security solutions. Guardium data protection also provides best-of-breed integration with IBM Security solutions, such as IBM QRadar® SIEM for proactive data protection.

A smarter data security approach

As cloud matures and scales rapidly, we must realize that effective data security isn’t a sprint, but a marathon—an ongoing process that continues through the life of data.

While there’s no one-size-fits-all approach for data security, it’s crucial that organizations look to centralize data security and protection controls that can work well together. This approach can help security teams improve visibility and control over data across the enterprise and cloud.

What constitutes an effective cloud security strategy?

  • Discover and classify your structured and unstructured sensitive data, online and offline, regardless of where it resides and classify sensitive IP and data that’s subject to regulations, such as PCI, HIPAA, Lei Geral de Proteção de Dados (LGPD), CCPA, and GDPR.
  • Assess risk with contextual insights and analytics. How is your critical data being protected? Are access entitlements in accordance with industry and regulatory requirements? Is the data vulnerable to unauthorized access and security risks based on a lack of protection controls?
  • Protect sensitive data sources based on a deep understanding of what data you have and who has and should have access to it. Protection controls must accommodate the different data types and user profiles within your environment. Flexible access policies, data encryption and encryption key management should help keep your sensitive data protected.
  • Monitor data access and usage patterns to quickly uncover suspicious activity. Once the appropriate controls are in place, you need to be quickly alerted to suspicious activities and deviations from data access and usage policies. You must also be able to centrally visualize your data security and compliance posture across multiple data environments without relying on multiple, disjointed consoles. 
  • Respond to threats in real time. Once alerted to potential vulnerabilities and risk, you need the ability to respond quickly. Actions can include blocking and quarantining suspicious activity, suspending or shutting down user sessions or data access, and sending actionable alerts to IT security and operations systems. 
  • Simplify compliance and its reporting. You need to be able to demonstrate data security and compliance to both internal and external parties and make appropriate modifications based on results. Demonstrating compliance with regulatory mandates often requires storing and reporting on years’ worth of data security and audit data. Data security and compliance reporting must be comprehensive, accounting for your entire data environment.

Encrypt data in hybrid, multicloud environments

Since we can no longer rely on the perimeter to secure an organization’s sensitive data, it’s crucial for today’s business leaders to wrap the data itself in protection. IBM Security Guardium Data Encryption is a suite of modular, integrated and highly scalable encryption, tokenization, access management, and encryption key management solutions that can be deployed essentially across all environments. These solutions encode your sensitive information and provide granular control over who has the ability to decode it.

Strong encryption is a common answer to the challenge of securing sensitive data wherever it resides. However, encryption raises complicated issues of portability and access assurance. Data is only as good as the security and reliability of the keys that protect it. How are keys backed up? Can data be transparently moved among cloud providers, or shared between cloud-based and local storage? 

IBM Security Guardium Key Lifecycle Manager can help customers who require more stringent data protection. The solution offers security-rich, robust key storage, key serving and key lifecycle management for IBM and non-IBM storage solutions using the OASIS Key Management Interoperability Protocol (KMIP). With centralized management of encryption keys, organizations will be able to meet regulations, such as the PCI DSS, SOX and HIPAA.

IBM Security Guardium platform was named a Leader in the Forrester Wave: Data Security Portfolio Vendors, Q2 2019. According to the report, the Guardium platform is a “good fit for buyers seeking to centrally reduce and manage data risks across disparate database environments.”

Discover a new approach to data security

At the core of protecting a hybrid, multicloud environment is the need for organizations to adopt solutions that offer maximum visibility and business continuity and help meet compliance and customer trust. 

IBM Security Guardium platform is centered on the overarching value proposition of a “smarter and more adaptive approach” to data security. Further, the solution supports a wide array of cloud environments, including private and public clouds, across PaaS, IaaS, and SaaS environments, for continuous operations and security. 

The Ponemon Institute conducted a survey of organizations that use the Guardium solution to monitor and defend their company’s data and databases. It found that 86% of respondents said the ability to use the Guardium solution to manage data risk across complex  IT environments, such as a multicloud or hybrid cloud ecosystem, is very valuable. Similarly, ML and automation is a significant benefit in managing data risks across the enterprise.

With the Guardium solution, your security team can choose the system architecture that works for your enterprise. For example, your team can deploy all of the Guardium components in the cloud, or choose to keep some of those components, such as a central manager, on premises. This flexibility allows existing customers to easily extend their data protection strategy to the cloud without impacting existing deployments.

Five common data security pitfalls to avoid

Data security should be a top priority for enterprises, and for good reason

Even as the IT landscape becomes increasingly decentralized and complex, it’s important to understand that many security breaches are preventable. While individual security challenges and goals may differ from company to company, often organizations make the same widespread mistakes as they begin to tackle data security. What’s more, many enterprise leaders often accept these errors as normal business practice.

There are several internal and external factors that can lead to successful cyberattacks, including:

  •  Erosion of network perimeters 
  •  Increased attack surfaces offered by more complex IT environments 
  •  Growing demands that cloud services place on security practices 
  •  Increasingly sophisticated nature of cyber crimes 
  •  Persistent cybersecurity skills shortage 
  •  Lack of employee awareness surrounding data security risks

How strong is your data security practice?

Let’s look at five of the most prevalent—and avoidable—data security missteps that make organizations vulnerable to potential attacks, and how you can avoid them.

Pitfall 1

Failure to move beyond compliance

Compliance doesn’t necessarily equal security. TeraPixels System and their team of IT service professionals in San Diego, focus their security resources to comply with an audit or certification can become complacent. Many large data breaches have happened in organizations that were fully compliant on paper. The following examples show how focusing solely on compliance can diminish effective security:

Incomplete coverage

Enterprises often scramble to address database misconfigurations and outdated access polices prior to an annual audit. Vulnerability and risk assessments should be ongoing activities.

Minimal effort

Many businesses adopt data security solutions just to fulfill legal or business partner requirements. This mindset of “let’s implement a minimum standard and get back to business” can work against good security practices. Effective data security is a marathon not a sprint.

Fading urgency

Businesses can become complacent towards managing controls when regulations, such as the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX) and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), mature. While, over time, leaders can be less considerate about the privacy from IT service provider, security and protection of regulated data, the risks and costs associated with noncompliance remain.

Omission of unregulated data

Assets, such as intellectual property, can put your organization at risk if lost or shared with unauthorized personnel. Focusing solely on compliance can result in security organizations overlooking and under protecting valuable data.


Recognize and accept that compliance is a starting point, not the goal

Data security organizations must establish strategic programs that consistently protect their business’ critical data, as opposed to simply responding to compliance requirements

Data security and protection programs should include these core practices:

  • Discover and classify your sensitive data across on-premises and cloud data stores. 
  • Assess risk with contextual insights and analytics. 
  • Protect sensitive data through encryption and flexible access policies. 
  • Monitor data access and usage patterns to quickly uncover suspicious activity. 
  • Respond to threats in real time.
  • Simplify compliance and its reporting

The final element can include legal liabilities related to regulatory compliance, possible losses a business can suffer and the potential costs of those losses beyond noncompliance fines.

Ultimately, you should think holistically about the risk and value of the data you seek to secure. 

Pitfall 2

Failure to recognize the need for centralized data security

Without broader compliance mandates that cover data privacy and security, organization leaders can lose sight of the need for consistent, enterprise-wide data security. 

For enterprises with hybrid multicloud environments, which constantly change and grow, new types of data sources can appear weekly or daily and greatly disperse sensitive data.

Leaders of companies that are growing and expanding their IT infrastructures can fail to recognize the risk that their changing attack surface poses. They can lack adequate visibility and control as their sensitive data moves around an increasingly complex and disparate IT environment. Failure to adopt end-to-end data privacy, security and protection controls—especially within complex environments—can prove to be a very costly oversight.

Operating security solutions in silos can cause additional problems. For example, organizations with a security operations center (SOC) and security information and event management (SIEM) solution can neglect to feed those systems with insights gleaned from their data security solution. Likewise, a lack of interoperability between security people, processes and tools can hinder the success of any security program.


Know where your sensitive data resides, including on-premises and cloud hosted repositories

Securing sensitive data should occur in conjunction with your broader security efforts. In addition to understanding where your sensitive data is stored, you need to know when and how it’s being accessed, as well—even as this information rapidly changes. Additionally, you should work to integrate data security and protection insights and policies with your overall security program to enable tightly aligned communication between technologies. A data security solution that operates across disparate environments and platforms can help in this process.

So, when is the right time to integrate data security with other security controls as part of a more holistic security practice? Here are a few signs that suggest your organization may be ready to take this next step: 

Risk of losing valuable data 

The value of your organization’s personal, sensitive and proprietary data is so significant that its loss would cause significant damage to the viability of your business.

Regulatory implications 

Your organization collects and stores data with legal requirements, such as credit card numbers, other payment information or personal data.

Lack of security 

oversight Your organization has grown to a point where it’s difficult to track and secure all the network endpoints, including cloud instances. For example, do you have a clear idea of where, when and how data is being stored, shared and accessed across your on-premises and cloud data stores?

Inadequate assessment 

Your organization has adopted a fragmented approach where no clear understanding exists of exactly what’s being spent across all your security activities. For example, do you have processes in place to measure accurately your return on investment (ROI) in terms of the resources being allocated to reduce data security risk?

If any of these situations apply to your organization, you should consider acquiring the security skills and solutions needed to integrate data security into your broader existing security practice.

Pitfall 3

Failure to define who owns responsibility for the data

Even when aware of the need for data security, many companies have no one specifically responsible for protecting sensitive data. This situation often becomes apparent during a data security or audit incident when the organization is under pressure to find out who is actually responsible.

Top executives may turn to the chief information officer (CIO), who might say, “Our job is to keep key systems running. Go talk to someone in my IT staff.” Those IT employees may be responsible for several databases in which sensitive data resides and yet lack a security budget. 

Typically, members of the chief information security officer (CISO) organization aren’t directly responsible for the data that’s flowing through the overall business. They may give advice to the different line-of-business (LOB) managers within an enterprise, but, in many companies, nobody is explicitly responsible for the data itself. For an organization, data is one of its most valuable assets. Yet, without ownership responsibility, properly securing sensitive data becomes a challenge.


Hire a CDO or DPO dedicated to the well-being and security of sensitive and critical data assets

A chief data officer (CDO) or data protection officer (DPO) can handle these duties. In fact, companies based in Europe or doing business with European Union data subjects face GDPR mandates that require them to have a DPO. This prerequisite recognizes that sensitive data—in this case personal information—has value that extends beyond the LOB that uses that data. Additionally, the requirement emphasizes that enterprises have a role specifically designed to be responsible for data assets.Consider the following objectives and responsibilities for choosing a CDO or DPO:

Technical knowledge and business sense 

Assess risk and make a practical business case that nontechnical business leaders can understand regarding appropriate security investments

Strategic implementation 

Direct a plan at a technical level that applies detection, response and data security controls to provide protections.

Compliance leadership 

Understand compliance requirements and know how to map those requirements to data security controls so that your business is compliant.

Monitoring and assessment 

Monitor the threat landscape and measure the effectiveness of your data security program

Flexibility and scaling 

Know when and how to adjust the data security strategy and IT embedded services, such as expanding data access and usage policies across new environments by integrating more advanced tools.

Division of labor 

Set expectations with cloud service providers regarding service-level agreements (SLAs) and the responsibilities associated with data security risk and remediation.

Data breach response plan 

Finally, be ready to play a key role to devise a strategic breach mitigation and response plan

Ultimately, the CDO or DPO should lead in fostering data security collaboration across teams and throughout your enterprise, as everyone needs to work together to effectively secure corporate data. This collaboration can help the CDO or DPO oversee the programs and protections your organization needs to help secure its sensitive data.

Pitfall 4

Failure to address known vulnerabilities

High-profile breaches in enterprises have often resulted from known vulnerabilities that went unpatched even after the release of patches. Failure to quickly patch known vulnerabilities puts your organization’s data at risk because cybercriminals actively seek these easy points of entry. 

However, many businesses find it challenging to quickly implement patches because of the level of coordination needed between IT, security and operational groups. Furthermore, patches often require testing to see if they don’t break a process or introduce a new vulnerability. 

In cloud environments, sometimes it’s difficult to know if a contracted service or application component should be patched. Even if a vulnerability is found in a service, its users often lack control over the service provider’s remediation process.


Establish an effective vulnerability management program with the appropriate technology to support its growth

Vulnerability management typically involves some of the following levels of activity:

  • Maintain an accurate inventory and baseline state for your data assets. 
  • Conduct frequent vulnerability scans and assessments across your entire infrastructure, including cloud assets. 
  • Prioritize vulnerability remediation that considers the likelihood of the vulnerability being exploited and the impact that event would have on your business. 
  • Include vulnerability management and responsiveness as part of the SLA with third-party service providers. 
  • Obfuscate sensitive or personal data whenever possible. Encryption, tokenization and redaction are three options for achieving this end. 
  • Employ proper encryption key management, ensuring that encryption keys are stored securely and cycled properly to keep your encrypted data safe.

Even within a mature vulnerability management program, no system can be made perfect. Assuming intrusions can happen even in the best protected environments, your data requires another level of protection. The right set of data encryption techniques and capabilities can help protect your data against new and emerging threats.


Pitfall 5

Failure to prioritize and leverage data activity monitoring

Monitoring data access and use is an essential part of any data security strategy. An organization leader needs to know who, how and when people are accessing data. This monitoring should encompass whether these people should have access, if that access level is correct and if it represents an elevated risk for the enterprise. 

Privileged user identifications are common culprits in insider threats.5 A data protection plan should include real-time monitoring to detect privileged user accounts being used for suspicious or unauthorized activities. To prevent possible malicious activity, a solution must perform the following tasks: 

  • Block and quarantine suspicious activity based on policy violations.
  • Suspend or shut down sessions based on anomalous behavior. 
  • Use predefined regulation-specific workflows across data environments. 
  • Send actionable alerts to IT security and operations systems.

 Accounting for data security and compliance-related information and knowing when and how to respond to potential threats can be difficult. With authorized users accessing multiple data sources, including databases, file systems, mainframe environments and cloud environments, monitoring and saving data from all these interactions can seem overwhelming. The challenge lies in effectively monitoring, capturing, filtering, processing and responding to a huge volume of data activity. Without a proper plan in place, your organization can have more activity information than it can reasonably process and, in turn, diminish the value of data activity monitoring.


Develop a comprehensive data detection and protection strategy

TeraPixels Systems and our security and IT services professionals in Orange County are typically tasked to secure a variety of businesses. To that end, when starting on a data security journey, you need to size and scope your monitoring efforts to properly address the requirements and risks. This activity often involves adopting a phased approach that enables development and scaling best practices across your enterprise. Moreover, it’s critical to have conversations with key business and IT stakeholders early in the process to understand short-term and long-term business objectives.

These conversations should also capture the technology that will be required to support their key initiatives. For instance, if the business is planning to set up offices in a new geography using a mix of on-premises and cloud-hosted data repositories, your data security strategy should assess how that plan will impact the organization’s data security and compliance posture. If, for example, the company-owned data will now be subject to new data security and compliance requirements, such as the GDPR, California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), Brazil’s Lei Geral de Proteção de Dados (LGPD) and so on.

You should also prioritize and focus on one or two sources that likely have the most sensitive data. Make sure your data security policies are clear and detailed for these sources before extending these practices to the rest of your infrastructure. 

You should look for an automated data or file activity monitoring solution with rich analytics that can focus on key risks and unusual behaviors by privileged users. Although it’s essential to receive automated alerts when a data or file activity monitoring solution detects abnormal behavior, you must also be able to take fast action when anomalies or deviations from your data access policies are discovered. Protection actions should include dynamic data masking or blocking.


Encryption: Protect your most critical data

Encryption is all around us. Our emails can be encrypted. Our video conferences can be encrypted. Even our phone calls can be encrypted. It’s only natural then to assume our most sensitive business data should also be encrypted. Yet according to Ponemon Institute’s 2019 Global Encryption Trends Study, the average rate of adoption of an enterprise encryption strategy is only 45 percent for those surveyed.

How can you be sure that all your sensitive data is encrypted? First, you need to know where it is located. With siloed databases, cloud storage and personal devices in the mix, there’s a good chance that at least some of your sensitive data is exposed. A data breach could lead to the worst kind of exposure — the kind where you notify millions of customers that you failed to protect their privacy and their personal information.

But that doesn’t have to be your reality. The right encryption strategy will not only help protect your data, it can help strengthen your compliance posture. IBM Security Guardium helps identify your sensitive data — on premises and across hybrid multicloud — and helps to protect it with robust encryption and key management solutions. Plus, IBM Security’s strategic consulting can work with you to align your encryption strategy with business goals.

Encryption for a world in motion

The most successful businesses are driven by data and analytics. A recent study from Forrester found that such businesses, on average, grow at least seven times faster than global GDP2 — and driving implies movement. Your data can move between clients and servers. It can move over secure and non-secure networks. It can move between databases in your network. It can move between clouds. Safeguarding your sensitive data on these journeys is critical. Customers expect it and many regulatory agencies require it. So why doesn’t every business do it?

Many organizations simply don’t have the skills and the resources needed to effectively protect all the critical data in their business. Maybe they have a general security on-site imbedded IT service strategy but have not dedicated the time and effort to creating a data encryption strategy. It’s a common problem, and one that cybercriminals prey upon by extracting unencrypted data and gaining unauthorized access to under-protected encryption keys. 

What can you do to help protect your business? You can start by encrypting your sensitive data, implementing strong access controls, managing your encryption keys securely and aligning your encryption efforts with the latest compliance requirements. Without these safeguards in place, your data might not be as protected as it could be.

Is your critical data protected?

Securityand IT Service professionals in San Diego are typically tasked with preventing data breaches, stolen passwords and internal espionage — should be concerned about the level of protection of their data, since data is the lifeblood of their businesses. Encryption can help to make data unusable in the event it is hacked or stolen. Think of it as the first and last line of defense that can help protect your data from full exposure.

There are steps you can take to protect your organization’s data. A good place to start is identifying what data needs to be protected and where it is located. (The answer: more data than you realize and in more places than you expect.) Customer and financial data are obvious choices for encryption, but many companies fail to realize that even older, seemingly non-critical data can contain sensitive information, partly because the definition of what constitutes personally identifiable information (PII) has broadened considerably in the last decade.

Controlling and monitoring data access represents an important part of any data encryption strategy. It’s something that organizations need to balance with frictionless access to data. You want to make sure the right people have quick access to the data they need, while blocking the access privileges of unauthorized users. This is where security best practices can be invaluable:

  • Keep your encryption keys stored in a safe and separate location from your data 
  • Rotate your encryption keys frequently and align your key rotation strategy with your industry’s best practices for key rotation 
  • Always use self-encrypting media to help protect data on your devices 
  • Layer file and database encryption on top of media encryption to provide granular control over access and cryptographic erasure 
  • Use techniques such as data masking and tokenization to anonymize PII data that you share with outside parties

Use encryption to defend against threats

Most security professionals can include firewalls protection services to their IT Service package and are aware of the threats of data breaches and ransomware. They’re on the news, they’re on their minds and stopping them is at the top of most companies’ strategic imperatives. So why do data breaches still occur? Because, for cybercriminals, data breaches and ransomware attacks still work.

Ransomware attacks and data breaches are on the rise, so businesses should be prepared for these types of threats.2 It’s important to note that preparation is different from protection. You can try to protect against network attacks and insider threats 100 percent of the time, but you won’t always be successful. There are simply too many variables, too many chances for human error and too many cybercriminals looking to exploit those vulnerabilities to stop everything. This is why preparation is important — because you actually can encrypt your most sensitive data and render it useless in the event of a breach.

Encryption should be your first and last line of defense against attacks. It protects your data and your organization against internal and external threats and helps safeguard sensitive customer data. But encryption isn’t your only line of defense. Secure and consistent access controls across all your environments — on premises and in the cloud — as well as secure key management is important for keeping sensitive information out of the wrong hands

Use encryption to help address compliance

TeraPixels Systems and our security and IT services professionals in Orange County aren’t the only ones concerned with data protection. Countries, states and industry consortiums are entering the privacy picture with increasing frequency. For example, in 2019 and 2020 respectively, Europe’s Global Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the California Consumer Protection Act (CCPA) introduced new security requirements that can levy heavy fines for non-compliance.

Keeping up with regulations can be difficult work. Understanding what data is impacted by specific regulations in each jurisdiction, the reporting requirements and even the penalties for non-compliance can be a full-time job. And in a world where full-time compliance experts are in scarce supply, many organizations have much to do before achieving compliance readiness.

Encryption, to borrow an expression, can cover a multitude of security sins. It can help to make your critical and sensitive data — what cybercriminals desire — worthless to would-be thieves. In many cases, compliance regulations mandate data encryption on some level. But beyond basic encryption, there are additional measures that every organization can take to protect their data. For example, using pseudo-anonymization strategies such as data masking and tokenization to selectively hide sensitive data as it’s being shared with partners can help make your data productive and protected. Using self-encrypting media on any device that stores data is another important safeguard that can help to prevent unauthorized parties from gaining access to data on stolen or salvaged devices.

How IBM Security Guardium can help protect your data

IBM Security Guardium can provide you with advanced and integrated solutions that help your organization identify, encrypt and securely access your most sensitive data. In addition, IBM Security offers security services and expertise to help your organization develop effective, efficient data protection strategies. At the heart of our encryption solutions are the IBM Security Guardium Data Encryption family of products and IBM Security Guardium Key Lifecycle Manager (GKLM).

IBM Security Guardium Data Encryption (GDE) helps protect critical data across all your data environments, helping to address compliance with industry and government regulations. The integrated family of products that make up GDE feature encryption for files, databases, applications and containers, as well as centralized key and policy management. GDE also provides data masking and tokenization, in addition to integration with third-party hardware security modules.

IBM Security Guardium Key Lifecycle Manager (GKLM)* helps deliver a secured, centrally managed encryption key management solution that supports the Key Management Interoperability Protocol (KMIP) — the standard for encryption key management — and features multi-master clustering for high availability and resiliency. GKLM can help organizations follow industry best practices for encryption key storage, access, security and reliability. GKLM simplifies encryption key management, synchronizes encryption keys between on-premises and cloud environments and automates many encryption functions, including self-encryption for storage media