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Armor Up: The Importance of Data-Centric Security

We sat down with Nigel Smart, a renowned cryptographer and cybersecurity expert, to hear his perspective on data-centric security. Here’s what he had to say.

Understanding Data-Centric Security: From Castles to Citizens

In Nigel's words, 'We don't care about the perimeter. We care about the data. Traditionally we secure everything or we try to secure it by building a nice big heavy wall around it.”

Protecting an organization is similar to protecting a medieval castle. “We do that with a bunch of technologies. We protect the perimeter with a wall. We might protect outside the perimeter with a moat. And then we allow people access by having a drawbridge.”

However, this limited approach fails to address the most crucial aspect of security—protecting the people within the castle if an enemy gains access. Much like soldiers don armor within the castle, data-centric security extends protection beyond the perimeter, securing each individual piece of sensitive data. 

A modern defense includes the protection of boundaries, access, and data. “It’s about putting security around the thing we're actually trying to protect. So we protect both the city with the wall, and we give people armor to protect them if all those other things break” Nigel expains.

Data-centric security refers to an approach that prioritizes protecting the data itself. This means implementing security measures at the data level rather than relying solely on perimeter defenses. By adopting a data-centric security model, organizations can ensure that their sensitive information remains safeguarded even in the face of potential breaches or unauthorized access.

Why Confidencial’s Data-Centric Security is the Future

Confidencial provides a data-centric security solution that can be embedded into organizational workflows to automatically safeguard sensitive and unstructured data throughout its lifecycle. Beyond conventional coarse-grained document-level security, Confidencial enhances protection with intelligent, fine-grained controls that automatically detect and secure sensitive content within documents.

  • Selective encryption for lifelong protection: Post-quantum-ready encryption allows you to protect entire documents or specific sections to improve collaboration, maximize document utility, and enhance knowledge dissemination within enterprises. Confidencial’s content protection is inherent to the data, ensuring security wherever the data travels or resides.

  • Granular control over sensitive information: By implementing security measures directly at the data level, organizations can define and enforce access controls and encryption policies based on the specific requirements of each data element. This ensures that only authorized individuals can access and manipulate the data, significantly reducing the risk of data breaches or unauthorized disclosures.

  • Proactive security: Instead of solely focusing on preventing breaches, you can protect your data upon creation, no matter how it's shared, downloaded, stored, or if it’s stolen.

  • Secure by-design applications: To bolster your proactive stance, Confidencial offers secure-by-design applications for safe sharing and communication. These applications support workflows like sharing and requesting PII and PHI from external parties, signing documents, and collaborating on projects, deals, and investigations. 

Benefits of Data-Centric Security

Implementing data-centric security offers several benefits:

  • Enhanced Data Protection: Keeps sensitive information protected even if perimeter defenses are breached, only allowing authorized individuals to access.

  • Improved Compliance: Aligns with data protection regulations, helping organizations meet compliance requirements.

  • User Experience: We don’t believe in adding friction to uphold security. Our solutions integrate seamlessly into existing workflows. 

  • Increased Trust: Demonstrates a commitment to protecting sensitive information, fostering trust with partners, customers, contractors, and stakeholders.

Data-centric security represents a paradigm shift in cybersecurity. By focusing on protecting data itself, organizations can build a strong security posture, comply with regulations, and maintain trust with stakeholders. 


This interview is part of an educational series, created in partnership with one of the industry's brightest minds, Nigel Smart, a world-renowned cryptography and cybersecurity expert.

What's in the Series? Nigel unpacks cryptography fundamentals and explores its crucial role in safeguarding digital information.

🔑 Series 1: Unlocking Cryptography

🔒 Series 2: Quantum Computing

❓ Series 3: Cybersecurity, Reimagined

👩‍💻 Series 4: The Marriage between LLM and Cryptography

👫 Series 5: The Evolution of Digital Collaboration (coming soon!)

You can find the videos here, on our youtube channel.

We’re here to help. Contact us to learn more about data-centric protection and how it is essential for safeguarding sensitive information.

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