Chief Information Officers and Chief Information Security Officers, as well as anyone interested in protecting their enterprise data, find themselves at a turning point in history. As the rise of the Information Age has made data more valuable than ever before, hackers have never posed a more severe societal threat than they do today. The examples of major security breaches are so numerous even from only the past year that there\u2019s no need to list them specifically. The havoc they\u2019ve wreaked is unimaginable.\nIdentity and access management provides a certain level of protection, but its walls are crumbling and access control and encryption aren\u2019t enough. In addition, new regulations such as the General Data Regulation Protection (GDPR) and other international standards are starting to place the responsibility for security breaches squarely on the shoulders of the enterprises that are breached. Finally, hackers aren\u2019t giving in, growing up, or going away anytime soon, especially considering the rise of the Internet of Things (IoT) and the security vulnerabilities it represents.\nOne of the problems CIOs and CISOs face is that enterprise IT security has traditionally been thought of as the IT department\u2019s domain and was thus walled off from other areas of the company. However, it\u2019s now necessary for security to be integrated throughout an organization\u2019s business processes with input and involvement from all its key decision-makers. Segregated and silo-based security models are failing because they don\u2019t scale and are impossible to implement across an entire enterprise.\nOrganizations need to take a data-centric approach to remain secure and compliant in the modern Information Age.\nEnter DCAP and why it matters\nData-centric Audit and Protection, or DCAP, is a means of protecting your organization\u2019s data privacy. It emphasizes the security of data itself rather than the security of networks, hardware, or software. One of DCAP\u2019s main benefits is that data security can be applied to just the specific pieces of data that need to be protected, making it scalable across the enterprise while having little to no impact on a company\u2019s business processes. Thus, it aligns data security with business strategy.\nDCAP generally involves several processes. These include the ability to know where sensitive data is stored; defining policies for how data is managed within a business context; defending data against unauthorized access or usage; and data monitoring and auditing to ensure that there are no deviations from normal behaviors that would indicate malicious intent.\nGartner identifies five areas or silos where data can be protected through DCAP. They are:\n\nInfrastructure as a Service (IaaS) \u2013 Cloud computing to provide virtual computing resources through the internet.\nSoftware as a Service (Saas) \u2013 Cloud computing to distribute software and host applications through the internet.\nDatabase Management Systems (DBMS) and Database as a Service (DBaas) \u2013 On-premise or cloud-based systems for creating, retrieving, updating and managing data.\nBig data \u2013 Data sets that are large and complex and are thus incompatible with traditional data processing applications.\nFile storage \u2013 Data storage in which large pools of data are stored on the cloud or across multiple physical and virtual locations.\n\nWho are the top players in DCAP and why?\nGartner recently released its Market Guide for Data-Centric Audit and Protection for 2017. This report is intended for those who are concerned about the privacy of their data. Its purpose is to help them evaluate technology to meet their security needs. It\u2019s not a ranking, but is instead a means to identify the capabilities of vendors in the marketplace and indicate the coverage options that each one offers.\nAccording to Gartner, \u201cThe exponential growth in data generation and usage across multiple data silos is rendering current data security methods obsolete, requiring significant changes in both architecture and product selection approaches.\u201d\nTo this end, Gartner identifies several security features that should be offered by DCAP vendors for one or more data silos. These features include:\n\nData classification and discovery \u2013 Classify and discover sensitive data both on-premise systems and cloud-based storage in IaaS, SaaS and DBaaS.\nData security policy management \u2013 Set, monitor and control privileges of unique user identities (including highly privileged users such as administrators and developers) with access to the data.\nMonitoring user privileges and data access activity \u2013 Use behavior analytics techniques to monitor users when accessing data in real time, generate customizable security alerts, and block unacceptable user behavior, access patterns or geographic access, etc.\nAuditing and reporting \u2013 Create auditable reports of user access to data and security events with customizable details that can address defined regulations or standard audit process requirements.\nBehavior analysis, alerting and blocking \u2013 Prevent specific data access by individual users and administrators. This may also be achieved through encryption, tokenization, masking, redaction or blocking.\nData protection \u2013 Provide a single management console that enables the application and orchestration of data security policies consistently across multiple data repository formats.\n\nThere are many vendors in the Gartner report that offer partial coverage across a single or multiple data silos, but organizations may want to select a vendor that offers protection capabilities for all silos through DCAP. There are only two vendors in the Gartner report that meet this criteria: Protegrity and Informatica.\nIncreasingly, DCAP is becoming a critical component of an organizations\u2019\u00a0ability to protect its most sensitive data. DCAP vendors are quickly adding capabilities, but few vendors have achieved the broad coverage for both on-premises and cloud-based data protection. Regardless, the purpose of DCAP is to integrate data security with business processes for the benefit and protection of the organization as a whole.\nBy integrating a comprehensive and holistic DCAP solution into your enterprise, you\u2019ll be laying the foundation for the most impenetrable walls of the Information Age.