Technology has taken leaps and bounds forward in the last few decades. This growth has expanded our capabilities and access to computing power. As data applications have become more widespread and versatile, our reliance on secure files has also increased. 

Cybercrime has been quick to interject itself with the exponential growth of unstructured data files. Network computing today, whilst truly innovative, is replete with major attacks aimed at shutting it down. The motivation behind these breaches has ranged from simple thievery and greed to catastrophic acts of global cyberterrorism. Moreover, the Dark Web continues to be populated with tools and malware that make this onslaught continuous and dire. 

As much as both private companies and government agencies work to secure files and networks, hackers are never far behind. Often, the tools that make sensitive networks so accessible and valuable are also their Achilles heels. 

The Limits of Traditional Security

The vast majority of the most complex security systems operate on the same basic principle: to keep malicious actors or programs out of your secure files. Marketing claims notwithstanding, most of these systems approach cyber security issues with a similar method, almost invariably using some form of perimeter security. 

To date, the concept of perimeter security has been the de facto standard for data security, even predating the firewall. Even the earliest computers that operated on closed networks kept themselves secure by restricting who could use the computer terminal. This then advanced to dedicated user accounts and passwords. With the advent of the internet, securing networks became an even greater priority. Reliance on tools such as an IP address and verification and multi-factor authentication serve as the primary ways to ensure that private information stays private. 

While perimeter security continues to serve an important purpose in protecting secure files, this form of traditional data protection is fundamentally flawed. When an organization’s defense relies purely on perimeter security, identifying and addressing vulnerabilities becomes a game of whack-a-mole between hackers and network administrators. 

Irrespective of how good your administrators are, ways into a system will always exist. Once a private system’s perimeter has been breached, users can do as they please. This means that not only are compromised credentials a threat, but conventional perimeter security systems are exceedingly vulnerable to inside attacks. 

How Does Self-Protecting Data Work?

Rather than simply trying to improve on inherently flawed concepts, self-protecting data is the result of rethinking our security fabric. As the name implies, the goal of self-protecting data is not simply to keep hackers out of your system but to create truly secure files. 

While the mechanisms of self-protecting data are extremely intricate, the fundamental concept is fairly straightforward. Instead of being left accessible to “approved” users, the files themselves are coded with the ability to recognize malicious activity and counter it immediately, regardless of who performed the action. 

Operating on a Zero-Trust basis connotes that basic perimeter security like password-protected logins becomes a first layer of defense rather than the sole source of protection for your files. Enhancing your defenses with the Sertainty Self-Protecting-Data (SPD) not only stops an outside actor who has infiltrated the system from wreaking havoc, but it also prevents insiders from creating chaos. 

Types of Threats to Secure Files

To better understand how SPD creates truly secure files, we must consider what attackers are attempting to accomplish. Let’s take a look at some types of attacks and see how SPD identifies and negates \ mitigates them. 


In ransomware attacks, hackers will create a program that has the ability to block access to secure files or a system, usually threatening to delete data if an organization does not comply with a specific set of demands. In a conventional security system, a user or program that has gained the ability to execute code within your network has the power to deploy malware in a system to exact ransomware. 

SPD files, however, are given the ability to recognize when a malicious program is attempting to gain control over it and block access to it whilst alerting system admins by themselves. Not only does this prevent the ransomware from harming secured files, but it can also provide valuable metadata about the attempt, giving insights needed to strengthen an organization’s security system further and factor continuity of operations to maintain resiliency. 

Social Engineering

Unlike “direct attacks,” where malicious programs are created to exploit a specific weakness in a security system, social engineering attacks attempt to trick employees or other legitimate users into compromising their credentials. These can come in the form of phishing emails or phone calls, malicious links, key tracking software, and other forms of trickery. 

Once they have captured the appropriate login credentials, hackers are free to do as they please within your system until you catch them and lock them out again. Because Sertainty SPD embeds a Zero-Trust framework within files, malicious actions are blocked and reported, even if they’re taken by a party with valid credentials but out of context and geographical location.  

Insider Attacks

Because insider attacks come from parties who already have legitimate access to a system, any form of perimeter security is, by definition, useless. But with the Sertainty SPD, even fully legitimate and “trusted” members of your organization are defended against by the files themselves. This not only prevents rogue parties from stealing or destroying valuable data, but it also protects against accidental actions that can harm your secure files. 

Truly Secure Data with Sertainty

As a leader in self-protecting data, Sertainty leverages proprietary processes that enable data to govern, track, and defend itself. These protocols mean that even if systems are compromised or accessed from the inside, all data stored in them remains secure. 

At Sertainty, we know that the ability to maintain secure files is the most valuable asset to your organization’s continued success. Our industry-leading Data Privacy Platform has pioneered what it means for data to be intelligent and actionable, helping companies move forward with a proven and sustainable approach to their cybersecurity needs. 

As the digital landscape evolves and networks become more widely accessible, Sertainty is committed to providing self-protecting data solutions that evolve and grow to defend sensitive data. Open-source security breaches may be inevitable, but with Sertainty, privacy loss doesn’t have to be.