By Joe Hernick, InformationWeek
Everyone's talking about the insider threat. But protecting data can't supersede the requirement to give users the access they need to do their jobs -- otherwise, soon you'll have neither business data nor employees to worry about.
Striking a balance between access and protection isn't easy, however, judging by our InformationWeek Analytics/DarkReading.com Endpoint Security Survey of 384 business technology pros. In that poll, 43% classify their organizations as "trusting," allowing data to be copied to USB drives or other devices with no restrictions or protective measures.
Still, IT is aware of the need to move from a stance of securing endpoints to assuming that laptops and smartphones will be lost, good employees will go bad, and virtual machines will be compromised. Instead of focusing on endpoints, let fortifications follow the data: Decide what must be protected, find out everywhere it lives, and lock it down against both inside and outside threats, whether via encryption, multi-tiered security suites, or new technologies like data loss prevention.
DLP suites combine network scanning and host-based tools to collect, categorize, and protect corporate intellectual property. These products can maintain an archive of data and documents, along with associated permissions by group, individual, and other policies. They then actively scan internal networks and external connections looking for anomalies. This takes data protection beyond perimeter or endpoint protection--DLP facilitates internal safety checks, allowing "eyes only" data to remain eyes only and minimizing the risk that sensitive data will be viewed by the wrong folks, even in-house.