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November 11, 2020

Challenges in Enterprise Application Data Security

Five challenges in securing your critical applications and how you can solve them

Data security strategy for high-risk applications

Critical applications, like ERP and CRM, by nature, have enormous data stores and complex processing engines. They are often global in scope and are deeply integrated into other dependent application services.

These enterprise applications have six to ten times higher density of sensitive data compared to standalone applications. With such a high concentration of sensitive data, organizations need to plan security strategies for these applications carefully.

Some organizations require a comprehensive, large-scale deployment across the whole enterprise, while others are looking for a specific solution across a small number of critical applications. The former requires a scalable, well-integrated platform that is consistent across all data sources and spans both production and non-production environments, while the latter requires full functionality deployed at a smaller scale.

Challenges in Critical Application Security

1. Complexity of the application
There are thousands of tables and terabytes of data in a single application. Moreover, these applications scale across multiple data sources and might have custom pages and form pages. These factors add to the difficulty of deploying a data security solution.

2. Locating all sensitive data locations
Because of the complex structure of the applications, discovering all your sensitive data, even the locations you may not be aware of, is one of the biggest challenges. Just knowing the locations is not enough, it is also essential to know who has access to it.

3. Consistency of masking across data sources

Critical applications interact actively with other applications and exchange data. Due to masking in upstream and downstream applications, maintaining referential integrity of the masked data poses a significant challenge.

4. Integration of implemented technology

It is ideal to use an integrated tool/technology to protect critical applications. This means that the sensitive discovery metadata that is generated from a discovery tool can be further utilized for downstream masking and monitoring.

5. Multiple stakeholder collaboration
Security for critical applications is a project that involves the collaboration of multiple stakeholders and resources. The tool used for data protection thus should have the necessary separation of duties in-built, to facilitate effective program management.

How to ensure security in complex applications?

A comprehensive approach that will help you overcome the complexities that accompany the security of critical enterprise applications:

  • A single scalable security solution with integrated modules that supports structured and unstructured data sources.
  • A comprehensive, sensitive data discovery that discovers sensitive data seamlessly across high-risk applications
  • Consistent and flexible masking approaches to protect the sensitive data in high-risk applications without compromising the application architecture.
  • Data-centric monitoring, retirement through tokenization, and complete reporting of all operations for audit purposes.
  • Permission-based masking, based on users, programs, and locations, which also maintains referential integrity across data sources.
  • Complete security of your critical applications, including finding all sensitive data, anonymizing it, and conducting activity monitoring, is a continuous activity. Analysis of historical sensitive data trends and risk assessments will give you a better handle of your security landscape.


Critical enterprise applications pose a lot of complexity that calls for extensive security practices and tools. There is a new IT world emerging, and yesterday’s approach to application security is not sufficient. Only by incorporating an updated approach to security can organizations match the huge ask that is secure enterprise applications.