Saturday, January 19, 2008

Strengthening the Bench - Building Platforms for Information Leakage Prevention

CIOs, CSOs, and anyone else with a C in his or her title is acutely aware of the daily dose of data leaks, virus infections, and laptop thefts that land on the front page or are broadcast over the airwaves. The business community s response has been an urgent demand for a remedy for data threats. Industry research firm, Datamonitor, recently estimated that enterprises world-wide will have invested $15.8 billion into securing their networks and systems by the end of this year. In response to this demand, information security vendors have been more than happy to glut the market with products, competing to develop the all-inclusive, end-to-end, magic formula for securing all data on all fronts from all threats. But the unfortunate reality is that there is no silver bullet. As daily headlines indicate, companies continue to be victimized by data thieves, hackers, and disgruntled employees, yet the miracle cure-all has not materialized. Instead, IT departments are deploying multi-faceted products that include firewalls, internet security, email monitoring, content control, and disk encryption but continue to ignore the vulnerabilities presented by employee misuse of data. A better strategy for securing corporate information is the development of wider security platforms or “benches” that are based on solid information leakage prevention (ILP) capabilities such as those offered by endpoint ILP solution provider, Safend. Safend’s products, Safend Protector and Safend Auditor were developed to integrate well with most network, internet, and systems security products and allow companies to customize their security strategy by monitoring and controlling who has access to sensitive data and how it is transported. Of course, technology cannot take the place of strict, clearly communicated, corporate policies. However, once these policies are established and mandated, information leakage prevention tools can sharply decrease the likelihood of a data leak, data theft, or loss of sensitive information. Deploying a wide security bench that monitors and enforces corporate data access policies at the endpoint, then seating integrated, risk-specific products on the bench, enables an organization to craft an environment-specific approach based on their individual needs rather than using only a portion of an expensive, and oftentimes complex, end-to-end solution. The bench approach has the added benefit of scaling well to the growth of an organization. Any IT manager will agree that today’s information security threats are a drop in the bucket when compared to the ones about to emerge. Similarly, the security risks and compliance mandates encountered by a small to medium business may drastically change as the company grows, their capital accumulates and their information assets increase. Vendors that make the choice to ensure the interoperability of their solutions will reap the benefits of a changing market landscape. According to the industry research firm Enterprise Strategy Group, of the organizations they recently surveyed that had deployed a data loss prevention solution, approximately one-fourth had implemented an integrated network and host based solution. ESG predicts this number will grow as additional threats to corporate data emerge. Building a defense system from the inside out, starting at the place where users interact with data-the corporate endpoint-appears to be the most efficient and cost-effective way to provide a solid foundation for expanding a protective net as enterprise needs change and technology evolves. Susan Callahan is the Vice President, Marketing and Business Development of Safend, a leading provider of endpoint information leakage prevention (ILP) solutions based in Tel Aviv, Israel, with US headquarters in Philadelphia. Safend’s security solutions protect against corporate data loss via physical, wireless, and removable media ports while ensuring compliance with regulatory data security and privacy standards. Safend s products, available through resellers worldwide, are deployed by multinational enterprises, government agencies and small to mid-size companies across the globe. For more information, visit

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