As the global economy relies more and more on valuable information, protecting crown jewel data from theft or inappropriate access has become increasingly complex. In truth, both the information itself and the users accessing it have evolved over time to complicate the issue.

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Long gone are the days when ”privileged users” were solely the network administrators. While these users do have exceptional privileges relative to most users, and continue to need to be treated differently, many other types of users have joined their ranks. Executives carry with them access to extremely sensitive information. Engineers, researchers and scientists all have access to valuable intellectual property, trade secrets and patented information. Financial traders and brokers can access financial information, and human resources (HR) employees have access to employee records, which are full of valuable personal information. Doctors, insurance agents and other healthcare professionals have access to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) protected patient records and other highly private and protected information. Sales managers have access to customer data, which can be extremely valuable to a competitor.

Another important complex issue is that some of these users are no longer just typical employees. They are third parties, contractors and partners. They have legitimate insider access, yet are not always well known or even managed by the organization that owns the data they access.

The types of crown jewel data and sensitive users vary by industry, but this much is true for nearly every organization: many different types of crown jewel data need to be protected, and many different types of end users need to be given legitimate access to it to do their jobs. Given these circumstances, many security solutions have been developed to protect crown jewel data. Yet in many cases, malevolent insider actions still fall through the cracks.