A data breach can happen at any time. Whether it’s sensitive information you need to maintain your competitive advantage or records that meet regulatory demands — all data must be safeguarded. When it’s not, the fallout from protected data being exposed or stolen is often steep.

3 in 5

organizations expect to
be breached


believe they won’t know
when it happens

Data breaches can include the theft of intellectual property, the disclosure of customer personally identifiable information, theft of customer financial information, healthcare data and more. According to Risk Based Security’s Data Breach QuickView Report, there were 5,207 breaches reported worldwide through the end of 2017, exposing approximately 7.89 billion records. Many of those records resided on discs, hard drives, removable storage, mobile devices and other places where unstructured data is stored.

No industry or business is immune to cyber threats or security breaches. And because data breaches often require public notification to customers, partners, vendors, shareholders and government agencies, it’s difficult to keep them private.

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The cost of a data breach is rising.

The cost of a data breach is high and getting higher. SailPoint’s 2017 Market Pulse Survey reported 67% of enterprises were breached in 2016, at an average cost of $4 million.

Numerous items factor into these costs, including the size of the breach, detection and escalation costs and post breach expenses like helpdesk resources, remediation, legal costs, identity and credit protection services, regulatory penalties and more. The numbers also go considerably higher for breaches in regulated industries. For example, a healthcare data breach can cost, on average, up to $7 million.

But the costs don’t stop there. A data breach can also impact your bottom line with a loss of customers and damage to your brand and reputation. The sheer volume of data breaches and recent high-profile breaches show just how big of a challenge cybersecurity is and how difficult it can be for even the most well-intentioned enterprise to avoid.

How can you prepare for a data breach?

Following good security practices and cybersecurity frameworks is a great start, but whatever approach you use, you should know some key facts. The first is that the traditional network perimeter no longer exists. With more employees working remotely, they’re often not accessing resources through a heavily guarded network. But even when onsite workers are, attackers have become increasingly skilled at getting through traditional enterprise perimeter defenses.

Secondly, the number of identities and nature of enterprise identity management is changing. The growing number of users accessing sensitive resources include employees, contractors, partners, suppliers, vendors, customers and even bots. And the Internet of Things (IoT), with automated robotic processes, is transforming the very notion of identity.


of enterprises with BYOD and Shadow IT have a formal usage policy


of enterprises are concerned with the threat posted by contract workers

Identity must be at the core of your security program if you want the best strategy for preventing sensitive data breaches. Effective identity management helps you enforce who should have access to what systems, applications and data. And if something does go wrong, you’ll have a wealth of information within access logs to help you determine how the breach occurred.

According to SailPoint’s 2017 Market Pulse Survey, while enterprises surveyed understand the data breach threat, they lack a high-level of visibility into their systems. Fortunately, respondents were aware that the best way to gain that visibility is through identity management. More than half see identity management as foundational to their future security strategies, and 87% understand how crucial strong identity is to an effective security posture.

Rather than hoping a breach never occurs, it’s better to mitigate as much risk as possible. Whether it’s stored on-premises or in the cloud, proactively securing as much of your sensitive data as possible is the best way to avoid a data breach.

What to do if your data is breached.

Unfortunately the reality is that many organizations will experience a breach and need to know how to best respond. Whether it’s a breach that was interrupted or a full breach that will require broad public disclosure, a quick response is key.

Effective data breach preparedness includes the ability to quickly investigate what systems and data were compromised, how they were compromised and what data may have been accessed. It also requires having the right technical, legal, cybersecurity, public relations and corporate leadership team in place so the public announcement goes smoothly.

The role of identity governance in prevention.

Prevention, detection and response is the battle cry of cybersecurity experts everywhere and identity touches each of these core tactics. By giving users the right access to the right data at the right time, you’ll prevent data from being a free-for-all in the first place. Detection can happen more quickly when you have the ability to see user behavior and know when something isn’t right. And being able to lock down compromised accounts quickly is critical to your success.

Identity governance provides visibility and control of user access across your enterprise. It answers three important questions:

  • Who has access to what?
  • Who should have access to what?
  • What is being done with that access?

By putting identity at the center of security and IT operations, you’ll be able to better mitigate the risks of a breach and protect the information you need to succeed.

SailPoint Predictive Identity can help
your organization.

See and control access to all your apps and data for all your users, including bots.

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