Internal and External Threats
Most security solutions available in the market today focus on two main objectives: preventing security breaches with an organization’s invaluable content and educating employees in the process. These solutions monitor and block compromising activity from external and internal sources and educate individuals on proper behavior regarding transmitting content across Web 2.0 channels.
While hackers remain a prominent threat and require companies to track exactly where their data is going, it seems that lately almost as much attention is being paid to who is sending the information out. With today’s struggling economy leading to massive layoffs, organizations are becoming more aware of the threat of content security breaches posed by disgruntled soon-to-be ex-employees. “It’s of tremendous concern to companies,” says Chris Bradley, VP of marketing and business development at MessageGate, Inc., an email governance software and services provider. “There are a lot of emotions and hurt feelings and people trying to take care of themselves, understandably, and it can lead to tremendous risk and exposure by the organization.”
However, Bradley and other content security solution providers agree that most employee offenses related to content security are done without malicious intent. Often an employee is just performing assigned job duties and is unaware that his or her behavior is putting company data at risk. Thompson tells the story of a client’s employee who was uploading source code to his Gmail account at 2 a.m. “He was a software developer working late, and he shipped the source code to himself at home so he could continue working,” says Thompson. “He just wasn’t thinking about the fact that it was a huge risk.”
Knowledge Is Power
Regardless of where a threat originates, be it inside or outside of an organization, and from which particular channel it comes (anything from social networking applications to email), there are many technological offerings available to help organizations secure their applications, notes Feiman. “Whoever you are, you should be applying these security procedures and technologies,” he says. “These technologies allow you to analyze your code when you program it and detect potential security vulnerabilities.”
There are also technologies that can monitor, control, and prevent leaks to prevent employees from revealing vital company information through email and instant messaging, adds Feiman. “You can set up those technologies in such a way that they can listen and monitor all IPs and see if there is sensitive information there and they can block certain information,” he says. “Preventing, monitoring, termination—that’s what is being used. You can analyze source code to prevent potential vulnerabilities. You can monitor activities that are going on today. You can harden your code to make it more secure. You can harden your content to make it more secure.”
Essentially, these technology solutions help bring the control of content back to the enterprise. Lumension offers a solution that begins with vulnerability assessment. “We scan your entire network environment and identify where you don’t have the latest application patches and help you take inventory of what’s on your network, and as software developers release patches, we take those patches and we automate the delivery into the parts of your network that are not patched,” says Brice.
Lumension also offers endpoint security protection—which allows organizations to identify what they want to run on their networks and halt what they don’t—and data protection. Lumension can automatically encrypt files and prevent malware from being added to a client’s operating system.
With its data leakage prevention solutions that comprise its Fidelis XPS product, Fidelis Security Systems, Inc. is able to look at content and its context and determine appropriate use, explains David Etue, VP of product management for Fidelis Security Systems. “Data loss prevention gives you the controls of making sure your information doesn’t get shared improperly,” says Etue. “Ultimately, it comes down to understanding your information and how it should and shouldn’t be shared and providing people with the right tools to make that happen.”
Verdasys offers data risk management solutions through its Digital Guardian suite of products that monitor and track data use. The software can track who within an organization is accessing data and how the data is being used. Thompson explains that the software agent resides on the desktop or laptop and reports to a central administration server that reports and monitors the health of the agent. “It monitors everything on that machine—network traffic, email traffic—and it can look for data,” says Thompson. “We provide an audit trail of who’s handled that data so you can show that people who were restricted from it didn’t get to it.”
DataMotion, Inc., a provider of hosted governance services for data integration and collaboration, provides its clients with a platform that tracks data that is transferred via email and adds governance to the process, according to Patty Dock, DataMotion’s COO. “We add security and tracking and the visibility to where those files go,” she explains. “We set it up with them so when someone needs to send those files, we have tracking of where they email those files, visibility to who opens any of those files, and the tracking and monitoring of anybody who ever opens the file, looks at it, reads it.
“The people who are using it are getting a single view of where the information is going,” adds Dock. “It’s the difference between sending your package from the post office or FedEx. It’s the ability to track the information.”