Why security teams need Data Discovery

February 23, 2021


In today’s increasingly data-driven world, organizations are characterized by the abundance of data and more importantly, the need to protect it. In previous installments of this blog series, we highlighted the challenges presented by the incredible amount of data that is generated on a daily basis, and how to solve them.  To date, fines totaling over €64.5 million have been issued in the EU for insufficient technical and organizational measures to ensure information security. Novel and intricate techniques are now emerging in an attempt to steal and exploit data. With organizations also seeing an increase in the complexity of data, the need for automated data discovery for security teams grows as organizations must better understand and classify data to defend against financial and reputational risk.

Register for the upcoming webinar: How to Find and Secure Your Most Valuable Data

Security provisions under the GDPR are well-known amongst organizations with interests in the EU, but globally there is also an increasing shift towards data security with the draft data security law in China and multiple US States tabling sector-specific security laws This trend highlights an increased need for security teams to effectively protect data, adding further compliance issues on top of core security concerns.

Now more than ever, a well-thought-out data management strategy that incorporates intelligent security tools is a must-have for security teams as well as the wider organization. Therefore, it is no surprise that there is an increase in the volume of organizations turning to data discovery solutions to address several cybersecurity concerns including:

  • Finding and classifying customer data;
  • Enforcing policies;
  • Highlighting at-risk data; and
  • Remediating security issues.


Complete insight into your data

Most organizations need to understand and navigate a complex data landscape, with data held in a variety of different formats (e.g., on-premise, cloud, etc.) causing further headaches. Moreover, the vast quantities and challenges of unstructured data that isn’t stored in traditional fields or tables are becoming an increased concern for security professionals.

Read the blog: Why your organization needs automated data discovery

To ensure that the appropriate security measures are in place to protect this data means having a true understanding of the data that you hold. Without using a data discovery tool, finding this data within the hundreds, or even thousands, of systems, including shadow IT systems, would be an almost impossible task. Using OneTrust DataDiscovery enables you to scan data in both traditional data sources and cloud solutions as well as giving you a complete insight into these data sources and the variety of file types that they contain – including any sensitive or at-risk data. It is only when you have a complete insight into your data that you can appropriately protect it from cybersecurity threats.

Advanced Classification

Once you have discovered your data and have a holistic insight into data type, location, file type, etc., you must next understand the classifications of data to better prioritize the protection of sensitive data or high-risk data. In some cases, certain data by itself may not pose an immediate cause for concern, but when combined with other data types it could lead to an increasingly sensitive classification with a need for greater security measures. OneTrust DataDiscovery allows data to be efficiently and intelligently classified all the way through to the individual file level if required, giving the most accurate and advanced classification of data.

Get Started: OneTrust DataDiscovery

OneTrust DataDiscovery’s correlated data classification, alongside its machine learning capabilities, means that classification of data can be done contextually considering other data types that are stored in a particular data source. OneTrust DataDiscovery’s classification engine can also be tailored based on the classification policy or priorities of the organization, meaning that the classification of data is based on the individual needs and compliance requirements of the company and how it views its data.

Risk and Remediation Management

Advanced classification of data through data discovery goes a long way towards helping organizations identify data where there is the potential risk of a security incident. Typical data security issues that can be uncovered include:

  • Data that is stored outside acceptable use policy;
  • Unexpected or unknown data; or
  • Certain categories or classifications of the data stored or processed on tools with inadequate controls in place.

Identifying security issues in data is just one part of an advanced data security program. Remediation plans are also critical. Automated data discovery can help facilitate your broader risk remediation plans and IT risk management solutions can help connect digital infrastructure, monitor risk across business operations, and execute remediation efforts. Using OneTrust IT & Security Risk Management tools, organizations can start to automate the remediation steps to better protect data that has been identified as requiring protection. OneTrust Athena AI streamlines addressing data security risks by providing intelligent recommendations and automated steps. Examples include recommending appropriate control and actions to implement, automatically initiating security controls on external tools such as DLP systems, and identifying the correct data owners, IT teams, and other security team members that need to be involved.

Who has access to your data?

Overexposed data poses a big risk which is why data discovery for security teams is a must to help easily understand who has access to your data across the organization. OneTrust DataDiscovery automatically highlights who can access what data and where that data lives. Using more than 500 pre-built connectors, OneTrust DataDiscovery helps organizations find files that have open access in tools such as Microsoft SharePoint or Amazon S3 and then put in place a set of actions to restrict access and minimize the risk of a potentially serious data breach.

Use your security tools more effectively

Security teams are turning to an increasing number of security tools to help protect their data, however, it is the often complexities in getting these tools implemented and operational that means they are not being used effectively. Data discovery for security teams can help to make workflows more efficient by focusing the deployment of your security tools on the data that needs it most. OneTrust DataDiscovery has out-of-the-box integrations with several DLP, encryption, DRM, and other security tools which means that from day one you can focus your efforts on these critical areas.

OneTrust DataDiscovery delivers heightened efficiency, understanding and, the security of your organization’s data. Through OneTrust Athena robotic automation, the DataDiscovery tool allows you to discover sensitive or at-risk data beyond just personal data, apply controls through system integrations, and enforce technical or access controls. OneTrust DataDiscovery monitors risk over time, and links with the range of OneTrust security solutions to fully inform your security program and defend against potentially damaging breaches and other cybersecurity attacks.

Register for the upcoming How to Find and Secure Your Most Valuable Data webinar or request a demo to see how OneTrust DataDiscovery can help your security teams discover and classify personal and non-personal data, identify and monitor at-risk data, and implement appropriate security and access controls.

You may also like


Data Discovery

Live demo: OneTrust Data Discovery

See how OneTrust Data Discovery can help your organization achieve complete data visibility to empower your security program and reduce risk.

June 22, 2023

Learn more


Data Discovery

Data responsibility: The information security professional’s higher purpose

Join OneTrust and KPMG for a dialogue with Information Security leaders on managing the balance between risk and reward when handling sensitive customer information.

June 20, 2023

Learn more


Data Discovery

OneTrust Data Discovery Day: A deep dive into automating data discovery and classification

Join us for a two-hour deep dive into data discovery and how OneTrust helps privacy, IT, and security teams understaind their data and achieve risk reduction goals.

June 13, 2023

Learn more