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PROACTIVE REMEDIATION AND MIDIGATION IN INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY

 

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THE THREAT AND ENVIRONMENT

Headlines over the past year include an alarming number of information-leakage incidents.

  Leaked: Debit card account information and associated PINs of more than 300,000 Citibank debit card users; millions of dollars stolen from accounts
  Stolen: Source code and design documents from a provider of ID badge systems to the federal government and Fortune 500
  Compromised: Names and Social Security numbers of 1.3 million students who borrowed funds from Texas Guaranteed

Incidents of data leakage, or extrusions, from large organizations, including commercial, government, and educational institutions, are up sharply in recent years. Addressing the threat is a top priority for Chief Information Security Officers (CISOs).

In a June 2006 report published by Merrill Lynch, the firm surveyed 50 North American CISOs with direct purchase responsibility for security software, and found that the leakage of confidential or proprietary information is the greatest overall threat to organizational security. Also by a wide margin, data leakage/extrusion prevention ranked as the top category of promising new security technology cited by 62% of respondents.

Data Leakage Risks

Organizations today are completely dependent on their digital assets-customer lists, product designs, source code, and other proprietary information are the essence of producing and providing goods and services in today's economy. Effective use of digital assets typically requires sharing them across an extended enterprise in some collaborative process. While today's networked environment has enhanced productivity and flexibility it has also contributed to a loss of control, putting valuable intellectual property and personally identifiable information (PII) at risk. Unfortunately an extrusion of proprietary information by an accidental disclosure, a malicious insider or external hacker, can have intensely negative market, brand, legal, operational, and financial consequences to an organization.

The loss of control in today's networked environment also stems from the pervasive use of instant messaging, peer-to-peer, and webmail which are forming new communication "channels" that bypass an organization's typical controls on web and e-mail gateways. With broader access to information and uncontrolled channels of communications, insiders have uncovered how to use the network in ways that are in conflict with their organization's Acceptable Use Policy (AUP). The risks of unacceptable use have grown greatly and can result in significant legal liability and financial risk, negatively impact worker productivity, and consume precious network resources.

Gaining Control

To regain control of the information that flows through the network, it is imperative that an organization have a process in place to interrupt the unauthorized transfer of protected data—Extrusion Prevention. Traditional technologies that simply monitor and alert are half measures in the battle against data loss. In addition, today's increased speed of business and communication channels demand real-time inspection of all network traffic at gigabit speeds, and the ability to automatically stop known policy violations before they occur. An Extrusion Prevention System® is the key to gaining control.
 

DATA LEAKAGE ASSESSMENT

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