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Top 10 Sensitive Data Discovery Tools: A Complete Guide

Unlock the power of secure data management with our expert guide on the best sensitive data discovery tools, designed to streamline your security protocols and safeguard your most critical assets.

Introduction

Sensitive data discovery is the process of identifying and locating sensitive information, such as personal data, intellectual property, or confidential business data, within an organization's data assets or systems.

Since data-driven organizations create, store, and manage vast amounts of sensitive information, they need strong data security and compliance mechanisms to protect their data assets from security breaches or exploitation risks.

That’s why they use sensitive data discovery to identify, classify, and protect data that, if exposed, could cause reputational damage. The manual sensitive data discovery process is time-consuming and prone to human errors.

Therefore, you need the right sensitive data discovery tools because they can do the following:

  • Assess data security risks

  • Comply with regulatory requirements

  • Pinpoint critical data across complex IT environments

In this guide, we’ve covered the best sensitive data discovery tools to simplify locating and protecting sensitive data.

What is sensitive data discovery?

Sensitive data discovery helps security teams ensure that their data assets comply with regulatory standards. This allows them to protect customer and employee privacy while preventing severe data breach risks in their company’s database. But to do so, security teams need the right sensitive data discovery tools.

Top 10 sensitive data discovery tools

data.world sensitive data discovery

Data.world is the best sensitive data discovery tool which provides AI-assisted search features that make searching for data 10 times faster and easier. You can have a natural language chat-like experience with this tool to get context-specific results. That’s why even a non-technical person can use data.world and understand its natural language descriptions.

It also integrates the broader ecosystem of additional data scanning and compliance into its open-source platform to improve data governance/security. With its active data governance and discovery features, business users can save time and huge upfront costs for developing a separate sensitive data discovery system.

Besides all this, data.world is backed by a knowledge graph-based architecture, which lets you dig deeper into your data with intelligent search capabilities. Paired with AI, it delivers the right information quickly, which helps protect sensitive data in real time.

Key features

Here are the best features of data.world that govern and provide full-proof security to your organization’s sensitive data:

  • Automates sensitive data discovery and classification: Helps data teams perform less manual work so there are fewer chances of human error 

  • Cloud-native SaaS architecture: Handles scaling, updates, and infrastructure with no unexpected costs or maintenance downtime 

  • Continuous release cycle: Releases new automation and governance capabilities frequently based on customer feedback and data security trends to democratize data access

  • Broad integrations: Easily integrates with several data scanning and compliance tools to fit into an organization’s existing data ecosystem

  • Agile data governance: Allows your organization to quickly adapt to new data compliance regulations and security challenges with simplified search and automated lineage tracking

Reviews

data.world’s knowledge graph architecture helped White Lion Interactive to have a decentralized data catalog with easy search capabilities. They noted, "data.world has given us the ability to have greater awareness of the universe of data that’s out there and available to us and our clients. The other thing it gives us is there’s direct access to data analysis and visualization."

Customers have also shared their reviews on g2 about data.world’s sensitive data discovery capabilities. One customer noted that data.world is "one of the most mind-blowing information indices." Another said it is "one of the best enterprise data catalogs." 

data.world pros & cons

Pros

  • Can integrate data from multiple sources into a single platform

  • Uses a knowledge graph to provide actionable insights and data governance

  • Provides a central data repository in which organizations ingest, query, and share survey data across teams globally

  • Automates the discovery and classification of sensitive data

Cons

  • Needs to add additional pricing plans without user limitation

Pricing

data.world’s pricing is simple and customizable. Plans range from Essentials, to Standard, to Enterprise, to Enterprise+. Users can contact the data.world team to customize a package specifically for their needs. 

Book a demo today and manage your data securely.

Egnyte

Egnyte is an intelligent content platform that primarily helps businesses transition their file sharing to the cloud securely and efficiently. With its automated compliance tools, Egnyte provides visibility and control over structured and unstructured personal data across cloud and on-premises repositories.

Key features

  • Content intelligence tools: Locate and manage sensitive content stored in multiple repositories

  • Activity stream: Tracks updates of your content and shows recent file actions like uploads, deletions, and comments

  • Round-the-clock access: Quick previews and offline access to files and folders provide continuous collaboration and compliance

  • Support for Touch ID (iOS) and Fingerprint Authentication (Android): Add an extra layer of security to protect sensitive data

  • Easy integration: Integrates with popular apps like Word, Excel, and PowerPoint for easy file creation, editing, and synchronization

Reviews

According to g2 reviews, 71% of the customers are fully satisfied with the security Egnyte provides in information sharing. One customer noted, "The biggest benefit is file security; anytime you access a file, you must provide a password; this is one of the finest security precautions after sharing the information. They give an amazing solution to secure your sensitive data in the cloud from attacks and ransomware detection." 

Egnyte pros & cons

Pros

  • User-friendly interface makes it easy to create, share, and organize links

  • Integrates well with popular productivity tools like Microsoft Office which are commonly used in organizations

  • Quick and easy security layers make data governance less complex

  • Provides granular permission controls to share files externally to prevent information mishandling 

Cons

  • Challenging to search for specific documents, especially when dealing with a large number of files

  • Expensive for small businesses or when additional storage space is needed

Pricing

Egnyte provides 3 pricing plans for customers: Business, Enterprise Lite, and Enterprise. You can get a custom pricing quote from their team according to the plan you’re interested in.

Rubrik

Rubrik provides cyber-proof protection for enterprise data across physical systems, operating systems, virtual machines, and databases. Its Sensitive Data Monitoring feature discovers, classifies, and reports on sensitive data without impacting production. This makes it an excellent tool for sensitive data discovery.

Key features

  • Zero trust data management: Protects data with air-gapped, immutable, access-controlled backups to ensure data security against cyber threats

  • Sensitive data discovery application: Discovers, classifies, and reports on sensitive data without impacting production environments

  • Threat containment: Protects against ransomware and other cyber threats with advanced threat detection mechanisms

  • Multi-cloud protection: Protects platforms like Azure, AWS, and GCP from malware threats

  • Incident response and rapid data recovery: Minimizes downtime in case of security breach and provides data loss prevention

  • User access controls: Grants role-based access controls (RBACs) so that only authorized users have access to sensitive data

Reviews

Here’s what customers have to say about Rubrik on G2. One customer noted, "The Rubrik Security Cloud interface is very clean and intuitive to use. It is a one stop shop for all of our data protection wherever it lives - VMWare VM's, Azure VM's, SQL Databases, Oracle Databases, MS 365 (Mail, OneDrive, SharePoint, Teams) to name a few." Another said, "The search within the 365 data protection area could be a little better, particularly around searching for SharePoint sites and libraries. Perhaps we could also have a few more built in and customizable reports." 

Rubrik pros & cons

Pros

  • Seamlessly integrate with major cloud providers like Amazon AWS, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform

  • Provides a single solution for data protection across various environments

  • Continuously add new features, such as anomaly detection and threat hunts to enhance data protection

  • Safeguards various databases like IBM DB2, which are not covered by competitor products

Cons

  • Rubrik’s licensing model is complicated to understand for new users

  • Lacks certain features like a whitelist for false positives in threat detection

  • Requires a good network connection to the assets being backed up

Pricing

Rubrik has 3 subscription plans: Foundation, Business, and Enterprise. To learn more about the pricing, contact their sales team.

BetterCloud

BetterCloud is another tool that addresses sensitive data discovery challenges by providing comprehensive visibility into an organization's SaaS environment. With BetterCloud Discover, you can identify potentially risky applications in your environment. 

By centralizing SaaS visibility, it enables IT and security teams to combat the growing sprawl of apps, users, and data.  

Key features

  • Strong DLP capabilities: Prevents unauthorized access and sharing of sensitive data

  • Data security: Protects against threats and ensure data remains accurate without any modifications

  • User provisioning and governance (UPG): Automates user provisioning and de-provisioning to grant proper access controls and compliance

  • Cloud file security: Protects cloud-based files and documents to prevent data breaches and unauthorized access

  • Policy compliance: Helps organizations comply with security regulations by enforcing policies and monitoring compliance

Reviews

BetterCloud provided user access controls to Narvar’s IT team, who were struggling to keep data aligned in one secure place. One senior IT manager noted, "Our business grows very quickly, but our tech team doesn't. That's one reason we rely on tools from BetterCloud."

Here’s what one customer said on G2 about the cloud management feature: "BetterCloud streamlines cloud management and boosts security. It offers email signatures, audit tools for email groups, drive files, and decent de-provisioning tools." 

Pros and cons

Pros

  • Automates onboarding, offboarding, and mid-lifecycle changes for organizations which reduces the workload for IT teams

  • Automates security policies in a multi-SaaS environment to stay compliant with regulations

  • Integrates with various applications, including Google Workspace, Microsoft 365, Slack, and more

  • Unifies different SaaS environments to simplify performing actions on data for data teams

Cons

  • Comes with a high price tag

  • Doesn’t mesh well with Microsoft as an IDP

Pricing

BetterCloud provides three plans: BetterCloud for Google, Pro, and Complete. After a demo, you can contact their team for a pricing quote.

Nightfall AI

Nightfall AI's sensitive data discovery capabilities are robust and versatile, which is why it is a leader in this field. Organizations can easily integrate powerful data discovery and classification features into their applications by leveraging Nightfall's Developer Platform and DLP API. 

Key features

  • Nightfall's DLP: Provides visibility through advanced detectors for identifying specific token types across text, images, and file types, such as PII, PHI, credentials, and secrets

  • Sensitive data protection: Prevents data leaks and noncompliance by stopping data sprawl in workplace communication apps like Slack, Teams, and Jira

  • Data exfiltration prevention: Ensures that sensitive data isn't shared in unauthorized places

  • SaaS security posture management (SSPM): Provides management and oversight of security postures in SaaS environments

Reviews

Nightfall has provided security and protection to many organizations’ data. One user said about its DLP feature: "Nightfall has next-level maturity when it comes to insider risk or data loss prevention in cloud apps." Anothe noted, "It's nice to know that we're covered from that [insider risk] scenario. It gives us peace of mind."

Other users in Nightfall AI's g2 reviews said: "Nightfall makes it easy to redact items that violate your company's policys around protecting PII, PCI, Secrets and creditentials. I use the tool daily so the dashboard, and violations help support my information security needs."  

But Nightfall does require a steep learning curve, according to some users. From the same reviews, one user noted: "They aren't as proactive in engaging us to use them to their fullest potential. I've found myself doing my own research and being very proactive with managing our account." 

Nightfall AI pros & cons

Pros

  • Real-time alerting system enables quick response to potential security risks

  • Saves time by automating tasks like discovery, classifying, and protecting sensitive critical business data

  • Provides auto-discovery for the entire SaaS app hierarchy which makes the discovery process quicker

  • Provides data leak prevention system to stop downstream attacks

Cons

  • Difficult to fine-tune the system and reduce false positives without compromising sensitivity

  • The platform has limitations in detecting new or unique data patterns outside its predefined parameters

Pricing

Four pricing plans are available in Nightfall AI, but they’ve kept them private. They're labeled as: Sensitive Data Protection, Email Security Essentials, Data Exfiltration Prevention, and Nightfall Complete. You have to connect with their team to get a quote.

Safetica

Safetica provides unified data discovery and classification capabilities to locate and secure sensitive data across endpoints, network shares, and in motion. Its context-aware approach combines content inspection, file metadata analysis, and user input to streamline data classification and protection policies. 

With its ease of use and fast deployment, Safetica provides a comprehensive solution for identifying and securing valuable data assets. Let’s explore more of its features below: 

Key features

  • Automatic classification: Users can easily classify sensitive files and discover certain information

  • Insider risk management: Provides detailed insights into user activities and company operations behavior with productivity analysis

  • Support for regulatory compliance: Sets predefined data movement and activity records to ensure compliance with standards

  • Microsoft 365 Security: Protects MS environment data with visibility and control over common user actions like file sharing

Reviews

Tien Tuan Pharmaceutical Machinery used Safetica’s Data Loss Prevention feature.  Here’s what they said: "Safetica is a good solution for securing sensitive information as well as preventing data loss. Try it out and you'll have a good feeling about this solution."

Here’s another review from one of Safetica’s customers on G2: "Safetica provides a robust suite of tools to safeguard our data and offers valuable insights into user behavior. Through the Safetica management console, we have fine-grained control over data categorization, policy creation, USB device connections, and the discovery process. Additionally, Safetica allows us to monitor employee productivity effectively." 

Safetica pros & cons

Pros

  • Integrates with third-party analysis solutions

  • Cost-effective solution for ensuring database management

  • Easy to implement this project management software

  • Provides deep-level control on data categorization and policy creation to ease up the discovery process

Cons

  • Finding the appropriate options and settings can be challenging

  • Has several limitations for Mac devices

  • Needs improvement in firewall integration feature

Pricing

Safetica currently offers 2 pricing plans: Essentials, and Pro. It's $4.50 per user, per month, for the Essentials plan. It's $7 per user, per month for Pro. Additionally, a "Premium" plan will launch soon. 

MineOS

MineOS is a data discovery and classification tool that empowers data privacy professionals to gain comprehensive visibility into their organization's data landscape. By leveraging advanced machine learning and AI capabilities, it scans data sources across the enterprise to identify sensitive data types and provide an up-to-date inventory. 

Currently, it uses three flexible approaches: 

  • Full data scan

  • Smart data sampling

  • Context-based analysis 

This allows teams to choose the most efficient method based on their needs. 

Key features

  • Comprehensive visibility: Provides deep details of data sources, types, and processing activities

  • AI-driven suggestions: Uses AI for data classification and processing activities

  • Intelligent mapping: Helps with mapping through AI for system-specific data and security risk information

  • Actionable insights: Provide visualized insights with threat intelligence tools for risk mitigation

  • Simplified, no-code setup: Eases implementation for non-technical users

Reviews

Customers find MineOS to be an easy solution for data discovery and management. One user on G2 noted, "MineOS brings a people-centric approach to data governance to create an end-to-end single source of truth for data that rallies everyone within the organization behind the importance of data protection." 

MineOS pros & cons

Pros

  • Seamless integrations with Mailchimp and Intercom

  • Automates data privacy requests to keep data compliant with GDPR and CCPA

  • Quickly fulfills data removal requests to save the time and cost companies of companies for handling incoming privacy requests

  • Provides evidence-backed context for each request to handle privacy requests faster

Cons

  • Data mapping process takes time to load and show information for huge databases

  • The process of handing over administration when an administrator leaves is a little tricky

Pricing

MineOS has different pricing tiers: Starter, Advanced, and Professional. There are also different pricing options depending on whether you're working on request handling, data mapping, or consent management. MineOS does not publicly disclose the details of their pricing beyond these descriptions.

Satori

Satori provides data discovery solutions to scan and classify data assets across databases, warehouses, and lakes. This helps organizations automatically detect and map sensitive data types like personally identifiable information, protected health information, and financial data—eliminating manual configuration hassles. 

Key features

  • Real-time discovery: Identifies and classifies sensitive data across all databases, data warehouses, and data lakes to eliminate manual configuration

  • Simplified management: Provides user access controls for setting up security policies and permissions

  • Data compliance: Grant access to tools for addressing operational and compliance risks associated with data access

  • Dynamic data masking: Anonymizes data in real-time without requiring changes to underlying databases, additional coding, or alterations to data warehouses and lakes

Reviews

Several customers reviewed Satori on G2. One noted, "Unlike the traditional manual data access process, with Satori, users have a personal data portal where they can see all available datasets and gain immediate access to them. Satori’s DSP dynamically applies the appropriate security and access policies, and the users get secure data access in seconds instead of weeks." One other reviewer noted that "With many Terabytes of data, it can occasionally become a little slow."

Satori pros and cons

Pros

  • Enables data sharing and permissions control to ease data sharing across multiple users

  • Data masking and classification of sensitive data protects from unauthorized access

  • Streamlined integration with tools like Snowflake and Looker

  • Classifies data based on its sensitivity to differentiate raw data from useful information

Cons

  • Lack of more advanced AI-based features to improve efficiency

  • Initial setup and installation are difficult

Pricing

Satori’s pricing information is not disclosed on their website. You can get a custom quote by contacting their team.

CYRISMA

With CYRISMA’s sensitive data discovery feature, organizations can discover and protect sensitive data stored across various on-premises and cloud environments. By scanning over 150 different file types and searching for dozens of data categories, CYRISMA helps businesses identify unprotected sensitive data that could lead to data breaches. 

Key features

  • Sensitive data discovery: Allows security teams to scan systems and devices for sensitive data with protection capabilities like classification, deletion, or encryption

  • Grading and classification: Handles data based on volume, type, and business impact

  • Vulnerability scanning: Provides both internal and external scans so that users can patch third-party Windows-based applications directly from the platform

  • Cyber risk monetization: Estimates financial impact and residual risk from cybersecurity breaches

Reviews

CYRISMA helped ConnextCare with its data compliance and discovery. Their director said, "Everything is right there. I don’t have to go searching for something. If I want to drill-down, it’s right there. Not having to search saves a ton of time.”

Several customers reviewed the CYRISMA platform on G2. One noted, "I always tell our potential clients that you get all the bells and whistles and then some that you would get some of the more well known services. But CYRISMA is even better and it all comes at a much more reasonable rate." In terms of constructive criticisms, one other reviewer noted, "I disliked the old GUI, but they are making efforts to make it more user friendly. I would love a tutorial on how to navigate specific categories in the portal so I can become efficient and quick with my work."

Pros and cons

Pros

  • Easy to deploy and use

  • User-friendly interface makes it easy to use the features

  • Provides actionable information for remediation

  • Fast and seamless setup of the tool to provide quick onboarding

Cons

  • Cyrisma’s UI has some bugs so it’s hard to navigate 

  • Expensive for small to medium businesses

Pricing

CYRISMA offers a free demo, after which you can speak with their team for a custom pricing model according to your requirements.

DataGrail

DataGrail's data discovery feature offers a secure and reliable solution for detecting sensitive personal data across your organization's tech stack. It employs a smart taxonomy and anonymizes data sources to identify consumer-sensitive data without exposing your organization to additional security risks. 

Key features

  • Data subject request (DSR) management: Allows individuals to view, delete, or transfer their personal data held by an organization 

  • Automated discovery and mapping: Helps with searching through personal data across third-party systems

  • Risk monitor: Automates data protection impact assessments using an extensive network of integrations to minimize manual data hunts and reduce privacy risks

  • Live data map: Provides an updated blueprint of where personal and sensitive data resides across your organization's systems 

Reviews

DataGrail has helped customers like Bed Bath & Beyond reduce the risk of data breaches and protect customer data. One executive noted, "DataGrail really helped us with reducing risk, and gaining trust from our customer base — and making it a very easy and seamless process."

Further, several customers provided reviews of DataGrail on the review platform G2. One user noted, "The platform is easy to use and intuitive. The ease of integration and the features are exactly what we were looking for (the Live Data Map is great!) And the team at DataGrail is fantastic!" The same user reported "The only downside to using DataGrail would be the iinability to bulk import system owners for the Live Data Map."

Pros and cons

Pros

  • Provides a comprehensive blueprint of data systems and PII

  • Smooth integration process with detailed documentation and technical support

  • Automated processes for handling Data Subject Access Requests (DSARs)

  • Proactive approach to compliance with ongoing updates for new privacy regulations

Cons

  • The inability to bulk import system owners for the Live Data Map

  • New users experience a learning curve in understanding the platform

Pricing

DataGrail’s pricing is not disclosed on its website, but you can get a quote by contacting their Sales team. 

What counts as sensitive data?

Sensitive data can be classified into the following categories:

  • Personal information: Information that can be used to identify a specific individual, such as their name, address, phone number, and email address.

  • Private information: Information that is not public and is generally kept confidential, such as bank account PINs, financial records, or social security numbers.

  • Health information: Protected Health Information (PHI) includes details about an individual's physical or mental health, such as medical history and treatment records. This type of information is considered a subset of Personally Identifiable Information (PII) and is critical for healthcare privacy and security regulations.

  • High-risk data: Information that, if exposed, could result in significant harm, financial loss, or reputational damage such as trade secrets, intellectual property, and classified government information.

Sensitive data refers to information that, if accessed or disclosed without proper authorization, could cause harm or damage or expose individuals or organizations to risks. 

Protecting such data from unauthorized access maintains privacy and prevents misuse of your core details. Unauthorized disclosure can lead to legal consequences, including fines and lawsuits. 

How does sensitive data discovery software work?

Sensitive data discovery and data compliance are closely interconnected processes. The key to successful data compliance is identifying where sensitive data lives and how to track and manage that data properly. 

Manually discovering and managing sensitive data through outdated legacy processes can result in security breaches, data leaks, and human errors. These traditional methods involve manual data classification, spreadsheet-based tracking, and siloed processes. As a result, it overwhelms data teams. 

Whereas, automated solutions leverage advanced technologies to identify and classify sensitive information based on predefined rules and patterns. This way organizations get a comprehensive view of where sensitive information resides and categorize it into different levels. 

The common classification levels are:

  • Public data: Freely available information that can be accessed without restrictions.

  • Internal data: Data intended for internal use within the organization and has some level of sensitivity, but is not highly confidential.

  • Confidential data: Sensitive information that could result in negative consequences if disclosed, such as employee salaries or business strategies.

  • Restricted data: Highly sensitive data that could cause significant harm or legal issues if exposed, such as customer PII or trade secrets.

Learn more about what to consider when it comes to data discovery solutions

Industries that use sensitive data discovery

Every organization, regardless of industry, identifies and protects sensitive data. This can include personal information, financial records, intellectual property, and other confidential or proprietary information. 

If an organization fails to safeguard this data properly, it can lead to costly data breaches and damage to its reputation. However, some industries are subject to specific compliance standards, regulations, and audits that require strict data protection measures. Here are some some of these industries: 

Government

Government agencies handle vast amounts of sensitive data, such as citizens' personal information, national security details, and classified documents. They comply with strict regulations to ensure this data is securely managed and protected from unauthorized access.

Finance

Banks, insurance companies, and other financial institutions handle sensitive financial data such as account numbers, transaction records, and credit information. To safeguard this data and prevent financial fraud, they follow regulations like the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA) and Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS).

Healthcare

Hospitals, clinics, and other healthcare organizations manage protected health information (PHI) such as medical records, treatment history, and insurance details. To ensure the confidentiality and security of this data, they comply with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).

Higher Education

Universities and colleges handle sensitive student, faculty, and research data like personal information, academic records, and financial aid details. They protect this data and ensure it complies with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and other regulations.

eCommerce

Online retailers and e-commerce platforms collect and store customer names, addresses, and payment information. They secure this data to ensure it complies with protection laws and builds customer trust.

Telecommunications

Telecom companies handle sensitive data including call records, location, and customer information. They are subject to regulations like the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA) in the United States, which requires telecommunications carriers to assist law enforcement in conducting lawful electronic surveillance.

Benefits of sensitive data discovery

Sensitive data discovery offers the following benefits to organizations:

  • By identifying and securing sensitive data, it reduces the risk of associated reputational damage, legal liabilities, and financial consequences that can result from such incidents.

  • Sensitive data discovery tools automatically detect and categorize various types of sensitive information. This streamlines the process of locating and managing sensitive data across the organization.

  • Many sensitive data discovery solutions classify and tag identified sensitive data with appropriate labels to handle data.

  • Sensitive data discovery aids in overall data governance by providing data visibility within the organization.

  • With sensitive data discovery, organizations can generate detailed reports on the types, locations, and volumes of sensitive data within their environment to support auditing processes.

Protect your sensitive data with data.world

Do you want to experience data discovery without any limits? If yes, then you’ll need a knowledge graph architecture like data.world which provides AI-powered data discovery capabilities

Its advanced machine learning algorithms identify sensitive data types 10x faster, which reduces exposure risk. This maintains data integrity and confidentiality through specific classifications, tags, and statuses. 

Book a demo with data.world to discover the platform's extensive sensitive data discovery capabilities.

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