Combating advanced threats with a robust data obfuscation strategy

data obfuscation

With increasing adoption of the cloud and the growing volume of data , IT decision-makers need to adopt additional measures to safeguard their data in the cloud. According to IBM research, the average cost of a data breach was $3.86 million in 2020. That’s massive and has consistently been growing in the wake of an increasingly large remote workforce powered by mobility solutions.

The effect of a data breach can be devastating for any organization, big or small, and can also damage its reputation and customer confidence in the long term.

The effect of a data breach can be devastating for any organization, big or small, and can also damage its reputation and customer confidence in the long term.

Traditional information security practices are no longer enough to address the new breed of cyber threats. This is mainly because of a rapid transformation in the way cybercriminals have been operating. By using advanced and creative strategies, threat actors are increasingly employing sophisticated techniques and are able to make a lethal impact on enterprise architectures. It’s a challenging problem and one that requires innovative data security approaches from organizations  confronting these new-age threats.

Data obfuscation is rapidly gaining ground as an effective strategy in the enterprise security armory. In simple words, obfuscation makes data confusing, making it difficult for hackers to understand and interpret.

Data Masking or Data Obfuscation

Against this backdrop, data obfuscation is rapidly gaining ground as an effective strategy in the enterprise security armory. In simple words, obfuscation makes data confusing, making it difficult for hackers to understand and interpret. It allows programmers to hide the original data, by anonymizing or removing critical information.

Developers and information security teams can effectively use data obfuscation to prevent unauthorized use of protected data, thereby throwing up a strong defense against new age intrusions and malicious actors.

Obfuscation is often confused with encryption, but it is different. While obfuscation makes the contents of a file confusing, encryption makes the file unreadable unless the user applies a unique key. On the other hand, obfuscated data can be deciphered if the original algorithm is used.

Data Obfuscation approach to mitigate potential threat actors

Most security breaches occur because of a flawed network design or defective implementation. These vulnerabilities become a hotspot for cybercriminals, who try various measures to exploit these vulnerabilities. So, for enterprises, the only way to prevent cybercriminals from taking undue advantage of such vulnerabilities is to either eradicate these flaws or to simply make it more challenging to perform malicious activities.

Obfuscation is an innovative approach that can make it difficult for cybercriminals to deploy different tools to attack networks.

An obfuscation-based approach can add another layer of safety over standard encryption, and  mask user and organizational data stored in the cloud.

An obfuscation-based approach can add another layer of safety over standard encryption, and  mask user and organizational data stored in the cloud. The technique ensures that when a copy of the information is stored in the cloud, it is broken into smaller portions, naming these portions  in non-intuitive ways to confuse a potential attacker.

With an obfuscation-based approach, file names and folder names are encrypted and also renamed in a non-intuitive format that is undecipherable on the target storage. Parablu’s BluKrypt uses a data obfuscation-driven approach to safeguard data from malicious actors. It renames files and folders to non-intuitive names and decomposes them into smaller components, which are then encrypted separately. This makes it impossible for the cybercriminal to decrypt, and also piece together the data in the right sequence, without passing an authentication challenge.

Enables secure data transfer

As organizations rapidly move to new-age cloud environments and leverage the public internet to allow their distributed staff to work from their chosen locations, it has become even more crucial to put robust practices in place, to govern information sharing on the cloud.  Large file-transfer and collaboration solutions have become increasingly popular in the current climate, and whether it is file- sharing over email or other public cloud based file-sharing platforms, it becomes difficult to exercise control over user behavior and check for unauthorized use/misuse of corporate data.

There are several public-cloud based file transfer and collaboration services. While these tools and solutions have enhanced  work productivity for the distributed workforce, it has also increased the transmission and storage of data at a never anticipated scale – and not always safely. This is particularly concerning because such data exchange many times, includes sensitive information belonging to enterprises.

Data obfuscation, when combined with encryption also helps in achieving regulatory compliance, by placing the enterprise on a stronger platform from a security and privacy standpoint.

Although DLP or similar administrator-controlled policies may exist to detect unauthorized data sharing, those policies can be too tight or too loose, resulting in frustrated users who try to bypass these barriers in order to get their jobs done. On the other hand, data which is encrypted and further wrapped with obfuscation allows for safe sharing of corporate data without the associated downsides DLP and similar approaches may bring.  Data obfuscation, when combined with encryption also helps in achieving regulatory compliance, by placing the enterprise on a stronger platform from a security and privacy standpoint.

Data obfuscation techniques, methodologies, and processes may need customized efforts depending on each company’s unique business needs. Before implementing any obfuscation frameworks, consultation with threat intelligence advisors is essential to examine your enterprise network and processes to mitigate possible network vulnerabilities and data risks.

Our data security experts can help you develop a detailed strategy to protect your sensitive data. Get in touch with us to learn more!

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