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How DevOps can protect customer data

A data breach can cost your organization millions of dollars as well as damage its reputation.

Devops coding
Image: Unsplash

Access and use of data have always played a critical in the growth of companies. Whereas organizations previously struggled to get actionable data, today, the challenge is managing, sifting, and storing information.

In light of cybersecurity concerns and consumer expectations on data protection, organizations shy away from giving developers copies of their production database. This, in turn, slows down the DevOps process and hinders developers from improving on products consistently.

Though there is a genuine need to protect data, excluding the production database from the development process compromises the very customers you wish to protect. Also, with delivery automation and version control in your DevOps process or DevOps database tools, you can audit, control, and keep production data secure.

Granting developers access to copies of the production database will enable:

  • New product features to be released to customers in small bits and more frequently
  • Faster and more efficient creation, testing and deployment of databases

For data to remain secure throughout the Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC), you must do the following.

Figure Out Where Your Data Is Kept


Image: Unsplash

Since companies store data in central locations, it’s easy to assume that the data is safe. As a critical part of operations, data is always in motion. This is either through consumer activity or for use within the organization.

Through this constant access and movement of data, sensitive information may end up in several unsecured locations within your system. This then leaves data exposed to breaches.

Therefore, it is important to set up measures that allow you to track data at every moment from the time it enters your organization. To achieve this, you should first scan your cloud providers and network with an automated data discovery tool. This will allow you to identify all the locations in your system that have sensitive information.

From there, create a record of every data reserve to allow you to monitor and track the flow of data as well as know who can access it. To control access and ensure data is never exposed to breaches, you can use DevOps automation and configuration management tools to see where the data is.

Classify Data By Security Level

Organizations deal with vast amounts of data daily and a limited budget for data protection. Identifying the most sensitive information allows you to focus your data protection efforts where it matters most.

To begin, you must first classify your data. Through data classification, you will have a reliable platform to develop a data security strategy. This allows you to identify the data in your system, and the cloud, that’s at risk. In the process, you will also determine which data you should get rid of and reduce your storage costs.

Protect Data By Determining Who Does And Doesn’t Need Access

An effective access control strategy is a crucial component of data security. It authenticates user identity and ensures they can only access data that is essential for their role in the institution.

This is important as different departments and personnel do not need the same sets of data to perform their functions. Access control measures not only reduce the risk of data being exposed but also limit the damage in case there is a breach.

Additionally, data should be masked to balance the need for development teams to use realistic production data, and the need to keep customer data private. To make the process more efficient, there are tools that you can use to implement the masking rules you set as well as regulate access to the information.

Keep Good Records To Ensure Ongoing Security

Most of the critical business processes rely on databases to run smoothly. The database is used to store, query, and update data. The type and size of data enterprises handle is increasingly becoming more diverse. If the system is not equipped to handle such data, performance, and usability may be affected.

Some of the issues that may affect usability include:

  • Large files
  • Deadlocks and blocking processes
  • Slow queries
  • Higher traffic

To improve security and increase efficiency, you should use data monitoring tools. With a data monitoring regimen in place, you will be able to detect and pinpoint potential issues before they become major concerns.

It is also essential to take note of data privacy regulations when it comes to monitoring. It is now a requirement for organizations to control access to data and ensure it is available and identifiable at all times. Records of the data stored in servers should also be kept. If a breach occurs, organizations are required to determine the cause and inform the affected customers.

How DevOps And Data Security Come Together

A Data breach can cost your organization millions of dollars as well as damage its reputation. Though allowing access to databases for DevOps may seem like an expensive gamble, if done well, it serves to reduce the risk of a data breach.

Have any thoughts on this? Let us know down below in the comments or carry the discussion over to our Twitter or Facebook.

Editors’ Recommendations:

Editor’s Note: Jordan MacAvoy is the Vice President of Marketing at Reciprocity Labs and manages the company’s go to market strategy and execution. Prior to joining Reciprocity, Mr. MacAvoy served in executive roles at Fundbox, a Forbes Next Billion Dollar Company, and Intuit, via their acquisition of the SaaS marketing and communications solution, Demandforce.

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