The 2004 European Championship saw one of the biggest upsets in football history. What was known as a boring underdog team Greece beat out fan favourite Portugal to win the title. In the tech world, stories of underdogs beating out established giants too are prevalent.

This is often a result of greater agility and ability to innovate. Apple, for example, revolutionised the way music was consumed with the iTunes Music Store in 2003. From a company on the brink of bankruptcy in 1997, Apple is now a tech juggernaut.

Innovation is fundamental to the survival of organisations. Nathan Vega, Vice President of Product Marketing & Strategy at Protegrity, shares how data security can help organisations innovate more quickly by transitioning to the cloud.

Policing data, not software

Prioritising data protection over software security allows organisations to improve efficiency and speed up innovation.

Many organisations guard their data like how the United States guards its gold in Fort Knox, compares Vega. In Fort Knox, gold is protected by guards, gates, keys, and sensors. But these measures are should be considered a compliment for data protection. Unlike gold, data needs to be portable and easily accessible so organisations can use it, Vega explains.

“The way that we recommend businesses change is to fundamentally and directly protect data,” suggests Vega. For example, organisations can implement policies to encrypt data at a data element level so that only authorised users can access and read it.

“Once data is directly protected, we close the gaps in protection that can exist in application and network security”, says Vega. This helps organisations speed up innovation.

For example, one organisation Protegrity worked with used to send any new tools or applications that wanted to use for a security review before adopting them. This process was cumbersome and slow, especially since IT teams are notoriously understaffed, he shares.

Protegrity helped the organisation to use a form of format preserving encryption called vaultless tokenization to protect their data instead. As a result, IT teams did not have to manually evaluate the security risk of each new application since the data is already protected.

“That fundamentally makes applications safer because the data is already protected,” says Vega. This allows security teams to step out of the way, improving efficiency since there is now one less step in the innovation process.

Centralise security, decentralise enforcement

Centralising data security gives organisations greater flexibility to choose the software and tools they want to use. This involves having an overarching security policy that all data will be protected in a certain way across different platforms and software tools, explains Vega.

Organisations today want to use different tools from a range of cloud service providers. However, these platforms have differences that may cause inconsistencies in cybersecurity policies. Having a central policy prevents this.

Subsequently, organisations can decentralise enforcement and ensure that the policy is followed across all platforms. This creates a situation where data is accessible regardless of which platform or tool is being used, says Vega.

Organisations shouldn’t have central IT people telling other employees whether or not to use one software over another, he adds. This is because employees are the ones who will know best what their use cases are and what technology they require.

Having one central policy with decentralized enforcement allows employees to decide which tools they need for more efficient work, Vega highlights. This gives employees the freedom and flexibility to innovate, while still ensuring the data they use is protected.

Overcoming psychological barriers

People think about the amount of work and knowledge they need to safely move to the cloud, and see it as a risk, says Vega. This hinders businesses from making the switch. “There’s a psychological problem before there’s a real security problem,” he highlights.

“Done right, security in the cloud is actually better than it is on premise,” shares Vega. Protegrity helps to empower organisations to make the move by securing their data. This allows them to instead focus their efforts on innovation and providing better services.

The financial sector is one example of an industry that can benefit from the cloud. Fintech firms may take US$4.7 trillion out of the pockets of traditional retail banks, shares Vega, citing research by Goldman Sachs. This is possible as fintech firms start out on the cloud, where they can easily and quickly come up with new solutions and products since data is always close by.

Meanwhile, traditional retail banks are still focused on making the switch from on premise databases to the cloud, diverting their focus to infrastructure from innovation.

Protegrity helps them make the switch without having to worry about data security. They do so by protecting data wherever it is located – on cloud or on premise. With data being fully portable and still secure, “you can now open up a world of possibilities,” says Vega.

With the appropriate data protection measures, organisations become more agile and are better able to innovate. As a result, they can improve their organisational resilience and continue to keep up with or outpace the underdogs.