In the past it was more difficult for data thieves to operate without drawing attention to themselves – as leaving the office with arms full of confidential files tends to be noticed. Today however devices such as iPods, digital cameras, PDAs, USB sticks and flash drives and indeed any device with storage capabilities also has the ability to slurp (i.e., stealing and disclosure of corporate data).
These devices come very small, seem innocuous enough, and are very popular. However, there is a real risk that these gadgets can and are being used with malicious intent. They can be used to install unauthorized or unlicensed software, upload virus or Trojan infected documents deliberately or unintentionally, even trade secrets, internal memos or financial information might be leaked out or exposed to competitors, the media or other who should not see it, you may be held liable for it if your organization is in an industry that is legally mandated to keep certain information private, while company computers might be used to store data that ought not to be there e.g., child porn or terrorism resulting in a criminal investigation and bad publicity. Even if policies prohibiting them are made, users can sneak them in and out without being detected.
The United States Government, the FBI, computer forensic experts and industry pundits encourage that the use of these devices be meticulously monitored and controlled. Since some of these devices are used in business on a daily basis, a blanket ban is not a practical solution. What is needed is technological barriers that enable control over data transfer throughout the network.
- Implement software that can help you:
- conduct data leakage risk assessments
- provide detailed statistics on data usage within your network
- control access to files based on rule-sets that you create
- centralized monitoring of data flows to and from all computers in your network
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