Airtable has proven its staying power among tech unicorns as a customizable and collaborative project management platform that empowers users to track literally anything at work or at home. When the company announced its $185 million Series D funding in September, they generated a whole new round of buzzworthy headlines. For security leaders, this means that new requests for adding Airtable to tech stacks are likely on the way.
Like many high-impact SaaS platforms, Airtable does not have native data loss prevention (DLP) built in. Working in real time with Airtable’s spreadsheets and databases can put an organization’s sensitive data at risk of exposure or loss. Don’t let the fear of missing data security dissuade you from adding the powerful and flexible Airtable to your productivity suite. Instead, start looking for ways to add DLP functionality to Airtable — namely, with the fully customizable Nightfall developer platform.
Here are four ways DLP makes a difference in securing data within Airtable, and why protecting this data is so important when introducing Airtable (or any new SaaS tool) into your tech stack.
Protect data across Airtable — even in public bases
Airtable’s database/spreadsheet hybrid “bases” can be shared publicly. This gives immense flexibility for an organization to share any set of information across internal and external teams. With this public sharing setting, you can allow anyone working in your org or with your teams to access bases for a high level of collaboration.
Unfortunately, public access to bases also means your business-critical data can be exposed every time a new user is added to the base permissions, and each time the base is shared. There’s two things you can do to protect sensitive data in when sharing bases in Airtable:
- Keep a close eye on permissions settings, and make sure only the right people have access to your bases.
- Add a DLP solution to your Airtable Base.
A DLP solution for your Airtable instance should include automatic scanning that inspects your data for tokens like credit card numbers or API keys. It’s impossible to know every piece of data in your systems. Take the guesswork out of protecting that data with DLP.
Connect to other SaaS apps within Airtable safely with DLP
Airtable earned its reputation as an essential SaaS productivity tool, mostly due to its vast range of integrations. The ability to connect with other services and apps across the cloud means users can do almost anything right inside Airtable bases: from social media management to email marketing to project collaboration. The stable of apps that Airtable connects with is likely to grow even wider after the Series D funding round. As Airtable expands its reach across the SaaS realm, there’s an increased need to protect data that lives in each integration.
Remember that any time a SaaS app connects with another service or platform, there’s a risk that important data can be exposed. Without a built-in DLP solution, Airtable remains vulnerable to these data leaks. Collaboration without data protection is a gamble that security leaders shouldn’t take. Staying safe while boosting productivity across the cloud is much easier when you add a DLP solution to Airtable.
Detecting unstructured data in Airtable — it’s more common than you think
When creating bases to share with colleagues and vendors, you can attach photos and other files to each base. You can even pull image files directly from web searches into Airtable. This is great for sharing ideas and assets, but not so great when you consider the risk of introducing unstructured data to your Airtable — and possibly sharing that data around other systems that are connected to Airtable.
Unstructured data is hard to pin down, because it can be hidden in any asset or piece of content created or shared by a device in the cloud, like photos, videos, audio files, social media messages, and more. SaaS applications where many people do their daily work and communicate with colleagues often allow unstructured data to pass through massive networks to be shared, copied, accessed, and stored unprotected. A DLP solution that scans for unstructured data can help mitigate this risk in Airtable, and protect your cloud environment so collaboration can continue freely.
Reduce risk when connecting content across platforms with DLP
Airtable is excellent for helping users pull everything they need into bases to make project management and production easier than ever. One way Airtable does this is by allowing users to pull content directly from popular cloud-based file hosting services like Google Drive and Dropbox, and add those pieces of content into their bases.
But transferring those files from one environment to another can pose data loss risks. Since Airtable doesn’t have built-in DLP, you can’t be certain that important data will be protected if it is shared from another platform. Once the files arrive in Airtable, use a DLP solution to keep any data contained within the files (or hidden as unstructured data) safe.
Bring DLP to Airtable with Nightfall’s developer platform
Now that you know why it’s important to think of how your organization uses Airtable in conjunction with cloud security principles to protect data, you can start thinking of how to secure that data within your bases — and all your SaaS apps. A DLP solution that automatically scans your entire Airtable instance, detects unstructured data, and classifies business-critical data will help your org stay secure as you ramp up in Airtable.
Nightfall’s developer platform is an easy way to add DLP to Airtable. As a fully customizable DLP solution, Nightfall’s developer platform fits perfectly with Airtable’s ability to do anything imaginable with bases and collaboration. Our developer platform is built for developers, by developers, and integrates seamlessly into Airtable with just a few lines of code. Our modern REST API makes DLP easier than ever, with automated scanning, native remediation options, and deep-learning based detectors that go well beyond regexes, rules, and search strings.
Talk to us about how to add Nightfall’s developer platform to Airtable and start securing your essential data right away.