According to a recent report, more than 30 percent of U.S. companies were breached in the last year, and that figure is expected to rise in 2017. As more data becomes virtualized, there is a greater chance organizations will experience security slip-ups.

With the growth of virtualization, data is push-button mobile and essentially has free range of the VMs in which it lives – meaning there’s a chance that data will become accessible by anyone in the company, at any point. The cost of the resulting security risk can be enormous. Kaspersky Lab found that the expense of an attack on virtualized infrastructure can double that of one targeted at physical servers and endpoints.

So, the question on every IT pro’s mind: “How do we curb and secure data sprawl?”

It all begins with the data. To build an actionable plan for data security, governance and compliance, IT teams across industries such as financial services, healthcare and more, must uncover just what may be hiding inside their data. It’s likely there is sensitive information and stale data no one knows about – which could harm an organization.

Our solution brief, “Securely manage data in a virtualized environment,” maps out the steps organizations should take to protect sensitive data and meet compliance objectives by creating a 360-degree view of virtualized data assets. Below are the highlights every IT and security pro needs to know:

Define

Indexing virtualized data with tags, for files like date-of-birth information and credit card numbers, can help teams better track where that information is and who has access to it. Users should also define policies and determine who else can define policies for recognizing and accessing sensitive data.

Detect

With tagging, advanced monitoring and analytics, users can detect anomalous behavior and react quickly. Hackers often masquerade themselves as typical users, so it’s important for organizations to be able to pinpoint suspicious activity.

Defend

With these insights, organizations can make informed decisions to combat risks like data loss, malicious users and cyberattacks. When an incident occurs, secure the crime scene by taking a read-only, immutable snapshot of the VMs and assess the damage.

Learn how virtualized environments may be putting your data at risk.