A Data-First Approach: Transforming Cyber Security Practices for the Modern Business


The cyber security landscape has evolved rapidly in recent years, and so too must the approaches taken by practitioners in the field. As businesses become increasingly data-driven, it is crucial for cyber security professionals to adopt a data-first approach to stay ahead of emerging threats and protect sensitive information. This blog post will challenge traditional processes and explore how data governance, along with other elements, can support a more targeted risk model. We will discuss the importance of automation for operating at scale, as well as the concept of business ownership of data, and its implications for targeted spending and alignment with the latest privacy regulations.

A Shift in Perspective: Data Governance and Targeted Risk Models

Traditionally, cyber security practitioners have focused on securing the perimeter and the infrastructure that supports it. However, with the rise of cloud computing, remote work, and increasingly sophisticated threats, a more comprehensive approach is needed. Adopting a data-first strategy allows cyber security professionals to focus on protecting the data itself, not just the infrastructure and perimeter.

Modern data governance plays a key role in this transformation. By implementing robust data governance policies and processes, businesses can quantify the value of data through its lifecycle in monetary terms, and define the associated risks in a similar manner. This, in turn, allows for the development of a more targeted risk model, where security measures can be prioritised based on the value and risk associated with different types of data.

Data-First: Beyond Data Governance

While data governance is a critical component of a data-first approach, there are additional elements that must be considered. For instance, implementing strong data classification and handling practices, adopting encryption and tokenization solutions, and leveraging machine learning to detect anomalies and potential threats are all essential to a comprehensive data-first strategy.

Automation: Scaling Up Cyber Security Efforts

With the exponential growth of data and an ever-evolving threat landscape, cyber security practitioners must leverage automation to operate at scale. Automation can streamline processes such as vulnerability scanning, threat detection, and incident response, reducing the time and resources required to maintain a robust security posture. Furthermore, automation can assist in enforcing data governance policies and ensuring compliance with privacy regulations, making it an indispensable component of a data-first approach.

Business Ownership of Data: Empowering Decision-Making and Targeted Spending

Under modern data processes, it is crucial to recognise that businesses are the true owners of their data. This shift in perspective empowers organisations to make more informed decisions about how to allocate resources for cyber security. By understanding the value and risk associated with different types of data, business leaders can ensure that their security investments are targeted towards the most critical assets.

Privacy Alignment: Staying Ahead of the Curve

With data privacy regulations constantly evolving, it is essential for cyber security practitioners to stay informed and ensure that their practices align with the latest requirements. Adopting a data-first approach can facilitate compliance, as it involves maintaining a comprehensive understanding of the data being processed and stored, and implementing appropriate controls to protect it.


As the cyber security landscape continues to change, it is imperative for practitioners to adapt their strategies and embrace a data-first approach. By prioritising data governance and incorporating other critical elements, such as automation, organisations can achieve greater efficiency and effectiveness in their security efforts. Moreover, by staying up-to-date with privacy regulations and aligning their practices accordingly, businesses can ensure that they remain compliant and maintain the trust of their customers and partners. The time has come for cyber security professionals to think beyond traditional methods and embrace a new, data-centric paradigm