We are living in a data-driven world where organizations rely on data for virtually everything. Businesses across every vertical have become reliant on data for day-to-day business operations by collecting and analyzing massive amounts of data, seeking insights and trends that were previously hidden from view. Data is the fuel that drives business decisions, helps create customer loyalty, supports digital initiatives, enables an end-to-end customer experience, and so much more. Simply put, data is a crucial asset to any business.

This shift to a data-driven business environment means traditional enterprises are now becoming “digital data enterprises” — in part to stay competitive but also to stave off industry disruptors and new market entrants. Organizations must embrace the value of their data to transform customer information into analytical insights and drive increased satisfaction and revenue. However, becoming a “digital data enterprise” requires organizations to share critical, highly regulated information assets about customers while maintaining its privacy and security. This is no easy task, but it’s not impossible.

Let’s look at how organizations can help maintain database security and integrity but still allow a highly collaborative and well-balanced approach to sharing information.

The Critical Information Asset Dilemma

The most important, valuable, and regulated data that an organization holds has limited value if locked away where few can access it. Data and information become valuable when they are securely shared as openly as possible across teams within an organization, with consumers/citizens, or within a partner ecosystem.

Organizations must protect data that is personally identifiable as part of privacy laws, and each industry has critical assets that are regulated and not open for consumption. However, the trends and learning within huge datasets can become valuable when teams are working together to mine insights or as opportunities to monetize the data arise.

The challenge arises when attempting to strike a balance between protecting these digital assets while opening up access to precisely the right pieces of data and the right recipients.

An alternative approach is data-centric security solutions like dynamic authorization, which controls access to critical information using a fine-grained policy-based approach.

Controlling Database Access With Dynamic Authorization

Dynamic authorization is a data-centric security approach that provides the visibility and control required in today’s complex data environments. A dynamic authorization approach derives user permissions from the real-time evaluation of policies. In addition to filtering data and merely allowing or denying access to data, it can also mask or redact data based on these same policies which are also vital for database security.

It works by using rich Attribute-Based Access Control (ABAC) policies to consider who the user is, what data the user is requesting, when and how it is done, and in what context. By consistently applying authorization policies to all incoming requests for data access regardless of application end-point, one central policy can thus protect multiple databases from queries sent from various applications.

Data masking is essential because it protects critical information while also allowing it to be shared and used. It works by obfuscating or completely redacting sensitive data items, such as Social Security numbers or credit card numbers from datasets that are being retrieved from the database. Queries that would return datasets that in any way violate policies are altered on the fly to redact or mask sensitive information. Data never leaves the database unless the user has sufficient authorization.

Dynamic authorization ensures that every user has access to all the details they need to do their job. Once data security is assured, users can access data via new types of channels and services to securely share information. Organizations can then implement new and more efficient business processes to support data-driven initiatives and increase productivity and profitability.

Maintaining database security while simultaneously allowing a collaborative approach is crucial in today’s data-driven world. With dynamic authorization, organizations can securely share information that is crucial to data-driven initiatives while ensuring that every user has access to all the details they are authorized to see — and nothing else.

Read more about how to create and maintain database security using Dynamic Authorization in our Access Control 101 resource hub.