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High-Tech

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Collectively holding trillions of dollars in market value, high-tech companies are pioneers at the forefront of technological advancement. In this realm, innovation, confidentiality, intellectual property, and security are of paramount importance. Yet, it is these very attributes, combined with their reliance on efficient business technologies like cloud services and the substantial volumes of sensitive data they handle, that make these organizations prime targets for cyberattacks. 

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Challenges

Shadow IT

As leaders in cutting-edge technology, high-tech companies are often the first to adopt new technologies that may not yet be fully secure against cyber threats, exposing them to unique vulnerabilities. With the presence of ‘shadow IT’, which is the unsanctioned use of technology within an organization, it complicates the task of accurately tracking the location of data and who has access. This could result in the increased risk of data loss and leakage, data breaches, and security vulnerabilities. 

Insider Threats

High-tech companies deal with large volumes of confidential intellectual property, many of which are stored in the cloud and on employee’s devices, carrying higher risks of wrongful disclosure and data breaches. Knowledge workers in high-tech have access to a vast array of valuable propriety information such as source code and application design files of products that are built on off-the-shelf (OTS) components which makes it easy for designs to be stolen. This may present an insider threat risk if individuals exploit their knowledge to cause substantial harm to a company’s competitiveness or compromise data security. This heightens the need to secure data in transit and at rest while implementing proper access controls with monitoring and auditing mechanisms. 

Extensive Supply Chain Collaboration

High-tech companies collaborate extensively with global supply chains, accessing specialized components and resources, which complicates information flows and increase the potential exposure of sensitive data across diverse networks due to the sharing of intellectual property, research findings, customer data, and other proprietary information. This extensive collaboration introduces the risk of cyber threats, making it challenging to monitor and secure data throughout its lifecycle. In addition, with the increased use of cloud services and third-party platforms, it is difficult to maintain granular control over data access and ensure that robust security measures are consistently applied across all applications.  

Data Governance

In today’s dynamic landscape, remote work and distributed teams are essential aspects of the global workforce, emphasizing the necessity for robust data governance across various domains, including customer data, financial data, and intellectual property. This is particularly important in the engineering and electronics high-tech sector, where innovation and technological advancements are pivotal. Global team dispersion complicates handling and sharing of customer data, underscoring the need for effective data governance to safeguard data confidentiality and information use. Additionally, remote collaboration heightens the risk of unauthorized access to intellectual property, highlighting the importance of data governance for maintaining IP confidentiality. 

The Path to High-Tech Data-Centric Security

To address the complexities of early adoption, IP protection and collaboration, high-tech companies must safeguard data access, management, and disclosure to ensure the confidentiality of sensitive information. A thorough and forward-thinking strategy for data-centric security in these companies should incorporate the following key elements: 

Distributed Policy Engine

Operating across borders and amidst the rise of remote work and distributed teams, underscores the necessity for a distributed policy engine supported by the policy platform. This ensures uniform security controls and compliance measures across all endpoints, regardless of location, thereby supporting access rights and data protection. Such adaptability allows compaies to effectively adhere to local regulations and operational requirements while maintaining a unified approach to security and safeguarding valuable proprietary information. 

Data-Centric Security Enforcement

Protecting sensitive data across all devices and locations require the enforcement of data-centric security controls like Digital Rights Management (DRM), data segregation, and data masking. DRM secures application design files of products built on OTS components, while dynamic data masking and segregation restrict authorized user to view only the fields or records, they are granted access to, protecting customer and financial data. Implementing these controls prevents unauthorized data transmission or storage, particularly in the Cloud or third-party platforms.  

Automation and Prevention

Data governance can be strengthened through automating security controls with a policy engine that evaluates policies dynamically based on real-time attributes. By continuously monitoring real-time events and data access patterns, the policy engine proactively detects and mitigates unauthorized activities and potential security breaches. This strategy ensures strict compliance with industry standards and regulatory mandates, safeguarding sensitive information and preserving operational integrity. 

Centralized Audit and Reporting

Consolidating audit logs and reporting mechanisms enables companies to gain in-depth insights into system activities, access patterns, and potential security incidents throughout their network. This unified method streamlines auditing procedures and compliance assessments, demonstrating adherence to regulatory standards and enhancing overall data governance. Additionally, it provides visibility and accountability throughout the entire supply chain ecosystem, ensuring data security and compliance at every stage. 

Challenges

Early Adoption of New Technologies

As leaders in cutting-edge technology, high-tech companies are often the first to adopt new technologies that may not yet be fully secure against cyber threats, exposing them to unique vulnerabilities.

Shadow IT

The presence of “shadow IT,” unsanctioned use of technology within an organization, in high-tech companies complicate the task of accurately tracking the location of data and who has access.

Sensitive Intellectual Property

High-tech companies deal with large volumes of confidential intellectual property, many of which are stored in the cloud and on employee’s devices, carrying higher risks of wrongful disclosure and data breaches.

Insider Threats

Knowledge workers in high-tech have access to a vast array of valuable propriety information such as source code and application design files and may present an insider threat risk. 

Extensive Collaboration

High-tech companies engage in extensive collaborations with partners, operate through geographically dispersed development centers, and utilize outsourced services for maintaining equipment at client locations.

Encourage Collaborative Culture

The open and collaborative culture prevalent in many high-tech firms, though beneficial for creativity, make them prone to high-risk information management practices. 

The Path to High-Tech Data Security

To address the complexities of early adoption, IP protection and collaboration, high-tech companies must safeguard data access, management, and disclosure to ensure the confidentiality of sensitive information. A thorough and forward-thinking strategy for data security in these companies should incorporate the following key elements: 

Policy-Driven Security Approach

Policies that cover data classification, access controls, data retention, and data breach response, while remaining up-to-date and effective.

Secure Data Across Lifecycle

An approach that ensures data is persistently protected throughout its lifecycle, across stages of creation, sharing and disposal. This allows high-tech companies to protect their sensitive data against wrongful disclosure.

Continuous Monitoring of Data Activity

High-tech companies must have real-time visibility into their data and network activity to identify potential threats and prevent breaches.

Compliance Auditing

Compliance audits must cover data security policies, data access controls, data handling procedures, and employee training. With regular audits, high-tech companies can identify and address vulnerabilities in their security controls.

Automation & Prevention

By automating the enforcement of data security policies, high-tech companies can mitigate security risks, reduce compliance costs and enhance preventive controls, effectively stopping breaches before they materialize.

NextLabs Solution

Robust Data-Security Policies

NextLabs’ unified policy management platform, CloudAz, enables companies to create and implement data security policies that are enforced dynamically at that time of access request. The policies can apply the regulatory controls applicable to the user, data, and environment in real-time.

Data-Centric Security

NextLabs solutions provide data-centric security controls that protect sensitive data at all times, regardless of its location. These solutions can encrypt data at rest and in transit, control data access based on policies, and apply dynamic data masking to protect sensitive data. Companies can define and enforce granular data access policies based on user roles, locations, and devices.

Centralized Real-Time Monitoring

CloudAz’s centralized monitoring provides real-time visibility into data activity and events. This allows organizations to monitor data access and data usage to detect potential security incidents. CloudAz can provide alerts based on security policies, enabling rapid response to security incidents.

Smart Audit & Report

CloudAz provides centralized auditing and reporting capabilities that enable companies to demonstrate compliance and ensure the integrity of their data security policies. Compliance reports can include data access, data handling, policy enforcement, and insights into potential security gaps.

Automation with Preventative Controls

With dynamic authorization and ABAC, the NextLabs platform automates the enforcement of data access policies, improving data security by reflecting changes in attribute values immediately and reducing the cost of policy management. This allows enterprises to reduce the operational expenses of R&D and COGS as well as decreases the time to market.

NextLabs Solution

CloudAz Centralized Policy Platform

With dynamic authorization and Attribute-Based Access Control (ABAC), CloudAz improves data security by centralizing administration of attribute-based security policy. CloudAz’s Policy Controller automates the enforcement of data access policies dynamically at that time of access request, allowing enterprises to increase collaboration with teams and external partners with greater productivity and efficiency, while decreasing the time to market. 

SkyDRM Digital Rights Management

High-tech industries rely heavily on Computer-Aided Design (CAD), Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) applications and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems to manage critical design and manufacturing data. NextLabs SkyDRM enforces automated rights protection to extend security to project data files downloaded and shared with partners, ensuring that data is protected persistently at-rest, in-motion, or in-transit. This supports sharing of critical information with external parties including supply chain partners, creating a secure collaborative environment. 

Data Access Enforcer (DAE) Data-Level Security Controls

NextLabs DAE enforces data-level security controls, such as dynamic data masking and segregation, to ensure that any data not authorized for viewing is masked, and that fields and records are segregated, allowing only authorized users with permitted access to view them. DAE coupled with cross-domain policies strengthens data governance and safeguard critical data like customer and financial data, especially for companies with global team dispersion.  

Data Loss Prevention

High-tech companies’ invaluable assets often include financial data and customer lists, commonly stored in ERP applications. To prevent data loss or leakage from critical SAP ERP applications, NextLabs’ Data Loss Prevention (DLP) for SAP ERP facilitates the development and real-time enforcement of segregation of duties policies. This improves internal control and fosters transparency and accountability of data usage.  

CloudAz Report Server

CloudAz‘s Report Server integrates with third-party systems SIEM and SOAR, enabling enterprise scalability to meet complex authorization requirements of mission-critical applications. With seamless integration, high-tech companies can consolidate the event logs, as well as critical data for accessing both applications and the data stored within them, from all systems into a single SIEM system and they can monitor all the data activities from a central dashboard. This enables effective activity monitoring and auditing, preventing data breaches or wrongful disclosures. 

NextLabs Resources