DSPM Buyer’s Guide

April 19, 2024
Cyrus Tehrani
8 min read

In a business landscape where cloud migration is the norm and and the likelihood of data breaches moves from the realm of “if” to “when”, the need to secure sensitive data has skyrocketed.

Cloud computing, which offers unmatched scalability and efficiency, has also introduced complex data security challenges. Especially as data sprawls across multi-cloud and hybrid environments, traditional security measures fall short, requiring a more sophisticated approach to data security.

In 2022 Gartner coined the term Data Security Posture Management (DSPM), a cutting-edge solution designed to address the complex challenges of modern data security with precision and agility. Today, DSPM is a well-known acronym in the cybersecurity industry.

This DSPM Buyer’s Guide was created to empower organizations with the knowledge and tools needed to make informed decisions in selecting a DSPM solution that aligns with their unique data security needs.

As data security is constantly evolving, understanding the nuances of DSPM solutions is crucial. From identifying sensitive data across diverse environments to mitigating risks with proactive measures, the right DSPM solution can transform your organization’s approach to data security, protect against threats and compliance with regulatory requirements.

With this guide, you’ll get a grasp of the essential features, capabilities, and considerations that define an effective DSPM solution, and gain the insights required to choose a platform that positions your organization for long-term success in safeguarding its most valuable assets.

Your DSPM journey starts here.

What is DSPM?

According to Gartner, “Data security posture management (DSPM) provides visibility as to where sensitive data is, who has access to that data, how it has been used and what the security posture of the data store or application is.”

DSPM essentially determines an organization’s security posture by analyzing a “data map” of user access to various datasets so it can identify business risks.

Data security posture management is about minimizing the risk involved with data residing in multi-cloud deployments. It includes data classification techniques to identify sensitive data and adheres to general security posture strategies to address the data’s context.

Data Security Posture Management (DSPM) is increasingly crucial for organizations leveraging cloud infrastructure to support remote or hybrid work arrangements.

DSPM addresses these challenges by providing visibility into where sensitive data resides, who has access to it, how it’s used, and the security posture of the data store or application.

What problems does DSPM solve?

DSPM solves three key data challenges that organizations are struggling with:

  • Massive growth in data, often exponentially from year to year
  • Massive migration of data to the Cloud
  • Diverse types of data (such as intellectual property, financial, business confidential, and regulated PII/PCI/PHI data) in increasingly complex environments

DSPM offers organizations a proactive security strategy to mitigate risks of data leakage and deployment complications in multi-cloud and hybrid IT architectures. DSPM also brings extensive data observability to the table, enabling organizations to identify security gaps and ensure compliance with data security controls.

The DSPM Buyer’s Guide Checklist

With a myriad of DSPM solutions available in the market, determining the right fit for your organization can be daunting.

When it comes to improving your data security posture, it’s important to know exactly what to look for in a DSPM solution.

Here are the five critical components to look for in a robust DSPM solution:

  • Comprehensive data discovery
  • Accurate and fast data context and classification
  • Track and understand data lineage
  • Autonomous risk identification
  • Autonomous risk remediation


The first step on the checklist is all about the ability to automatically identify all the data sitting in the cloud. What is so critical here, especially with cloud data, is to recognize that a lot of this data is unstructured. Unstructured data lives in text documents, emails, multimedia files, communication apps, and even social media posts.

That data can be in the form of tax filings, contracts, intellectual property, PII, PCI customer data, trading documents, or operational data.

Variations of your data may be sitting across all your cloud repositories. For example, users may have shadow data sitting in repositories that security teams didn’t even know existed.

The most efficient method of discovering where all your sensitive data might be is without rule writing or placing an effective burden on the security teams to do a manual heavy lift upfront.

What to look for: Make sure the DSPM solution can identify where your sensitive data is, whether it’s cloud or on-premises, structured or unstructured. 


The next step on the checklist is still a part of the discovery phase, but it’s important enough to take up its own section. Understanding data with context means knowing your data not just by type (like PII, IP etc.) but the context around the data itself. This includes awareness of applications, networks, data classifications, users and identities, and event types.

Modern DSPM solutions can do this autonomously— with little to no effort required from your security team.

What to look for: The DSPM solution should be able to analyze data beyond its type (PII, IP, etc.) by considering the surrounding context, including applications, networks, data classifications, users, identities, and event types. 


This step is all about understanding the issues surrounding sharing entitlements, permissions, location, and activity — and it is crucial to understanding risk.

Let’s say you have 30 versions of a sensitive contract.

The questions you need to answer include:

How do you know which is the oldest version and which is newer?

How do you know where all the variations of that particular contract may be residing across your repositories?

Where are all of these thematically similar data?

Who has it been shared with?

Who has access to it?

Where is it located?

Who’s actually accessing it regularly?

What to look for: The DSPM solution should have the capability of answering ALL these questions.


Here, you’ll need to identify the risk to sensitive data from:

Inappropriate permissioning: instances where inappropriate users/groups have access to business-critical data

Wrong entitlements: scenarios where users are granted more privileges or access rights than they require for their roles, posing a potential risk to data security and integrity

Risky sharing: situations where sensitive data is shared without proper safeguards, potentially exposing it to unauthorized individuals or entities

Wrong location: instances where sensitive data is stored in unsecured or inappropriate locations, making it more susceptible to unauthorized access or loss

Abnormal activity: unusual or suspicious actions related to data access or use, which may indicate a potential security threat or data breach

What to look for: Make sure the DSPM can autonomously evaluate sharing entitlements, permissions, location, and activity for sensitive data to determine potential risks, as well as addressing questions related to data versions, repository locations, sharing, access, and user activity. 


Each step in the DSPM process is equally important, but data discovery and data risk monitoring can only take you so far. Taking action based on the discovered risk is crucial.

A robust DSPM solution must investigate and remediate risk and do so proactively. Fixing permissions, changing entitlements, disabling risky sharing and moving data to the right location are all requirements of any effective DSPM solution.

Finally, it all must happen with a fair degree of accuracy. A DSPM tool is only practical if it provides a low rate of false positives and a low rate of false negatives. When you have too many, you’ll spend much more on team resources than you will on data security solutions.

What this means is: a good DSPM solution offers great ROI.

DSPM can empower you with actionable insights without requiring you to have large teams to either manage or administer the systems. With robust DSPM, small teams can be focused on doing what they’d like to do best — interpreting the risk findings and taking action.

What to look for: Choose a robust DSPM solution that accurately detects risks, minimizes false positives and negatives, and offers a strong ROI. It should empower even small security teams to focus on interpreting risk findings and taking timely action. 

Choosing Concentric AI for DSPM

Concentric AI checks all five boxes listed above.

How do we stand out?

Concentric AI Semantic Intelligence offers tangible benefits not available from our competitors:

  • Automatically deep learn and understand the big 4 data categories: intellectual property, financials, strategic business information, and regulated personally identifiable information
  • No rules, regex, or complex policies to maintain
  • Semantic map of data for a comprehensive picture of what you have
  • Risk-based view of all enterprise data without time-consuming policy development
  • Remediate issues such as inappropriate sharing with third parties, wrong location, inaccurate classification without rules or policy
  • No need to create and maintain rules, policies, or end-user classification systems
  • 10-minute install and agentless deployment
  • Autonomous data security without requiring large teams to deploy and manage

Can DSPM be offered as a managed service?

Organizations are tasked with protecting data from external threats and ensuring that internal processes, access governance, and data management are robust and compliant with a myriad of regulations.

Especially for small and medium-sized businesses, the financial demands of implementing and maintaining robust security measures without — or with little — security expertise can be overwhelming. Plus, the need to classify data accurately, manage access carefully, and ensure compliance with industry-specific regulations adds additional layers of complexity and risk.

With Concentric AI, there is a way for businesses to leverage the best of technology and human element without straining the budget — think of it like a Managed DSPM.

Human Expertise

The human element in data security is irreplaceable, especially when it comes to addressing complex and escalating challenges. Concentric AI’s dedicated team of experts brings years of experience and a nuanced understanding of the data security landscape, complementing our autonomous solution. This synergy between machine learning efficiency and human expertise ensures organizations are equipped to tackle the most complex security challenges holistically, with our team always available to provide expert guidance and support.

Reduced Liability

With new regulations emerging frequently, organizations face not only the threat of data breaches, but the potential regulatory liabilities associated with them. Concentric AI’s combined product and service approach empowers organizations to act with confidence, ensuring they adhere to the latest regulations, reducing the risk of non-compliance. By proactively identifying and addressing potential security risks, organizations can significantly reduce their liability exposure — protecting their reputation and financial well-being.

A Virtual SOC

As operationalizing data security becomes increasingly complex, having a dedicated SOC is incredibly valuable, yet often unattainable for many organizations. With Concentric AI, organizations gain all the benefits of their own SOC that continuously monitors, analyzes, and responds to security events. Coupled with our team of experts, Concentric AI is like having a dedicated command center, equipped with the latest tools and manned by seasoned professionals, ensuring that your data is protected every second of every day.

Final thoughts

Choosing the right DSPM solution means selecting a partner that understands the complexities of data security and offers a solution designed to meet the unique needs of your organization.

With the capabilities to automatically identify all data categories, provide a semantic map of data, and offer a risk-based view of all enterprise data without the need for complex policy development, Concentric AI does it all.

Concentric AI’s blend of technological innovation and human expertise offers a comprehensive approach to data security, reducing liability and providing the equivalent of a virtual SOC to organizations at every scale.

Armed with the insights from this guide, we hope your DSPM journey is guided by a clear understanding of your organization’s needs, a commitment to comprehensive data security, and the vision to see data security as an opportunity to excel instead of a challenge to overcome.

Want to see – with your own data – how Concentric AI can address everything we discussed in the Buyer’s Guide?

Contact us today. It’s easy to deploy — deploy in 10 minutes and see value in days.


Libero nibh at ultrices torquent litora dictum porta info [email protected]

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