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How social networks, online communities and multiple devices are increasing the possibilities of uncharted security threats to enterprises

DeviceLock, Inc. (formerly SmartLine Inc) was established in 1996 to provide effective and economical network management solutions to small, medium and large-scale business. DeviceLock, Inc. is a worldwide leader in endpoint device control security. The DeviceLock® product is currently installed on more than 4 million computers in more than 58 000 organizations around the world.

In the following interview, Vince Schiavo, Chief Executive Officer of DeviceLock, Inc. discusses 1:1 with Rake Narang, Editor-in-Chief of Info Security Products Guide, how social networks, online communities and multiple devices are increasing the possibilities of uncharted security threats to enterprises.

Rake Narang: How are social networks, online communities and multiple devices increasing the possibilities of uncharted security threats to enterprises? What impact will this have on data leak detection and prevention?

Vince Schiavo :The use of social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, blogs, forums, file-sharing sites like Dropbox, article-posting sites like Ezine, photo sites like Flickr, and even Wikipedia represent an unstoppable explosion of new ways that employee postings, messaging, and uploads and downloads can potentially damage enterprises. The odds of bad things happening like malware infiltration or all of your customer data and trade secrets leaking out are so extremely high it is an absolute certainty that this will eventually happen unless something is immediately done to deal with this new class of threats. Then couple the 24X7 social networking threats with the proliferation of employee-owned devices coming onto networks like smart-phones, digital cameras, iPads and other USB attached devices, and it should drive any C-level executive crazy if they have even an ounce of paranoia in them. Someone just has to plug a smartphone into a USB port on a computer and walk out with a gigabyte file.

The challenges to data leak detection and prevention are many in this new online world. The fact that wireless device use and access to social networking sites can happen anywhere, anytime, means they can’t be controlled inside the firewalls on the physical network. The security has to follow the employees and devices. The primary technology challenge for DLP solutions lies with how to secure certain channels and data flow without blocking social networking and personal mobile devices entirely. DLP technology will require the ability to differentiate between personal, corporate, public and confidential information in online exchanges, so it has to be content-aware because legitimate social communications in accordance with company policy can’t be affected. So DLP solutions have to be installed on the device and capable of real-time content analysis checked against granular policy rules.

Rake Narang: Why aren’t most enterprises truly secured yet in spite of already having invested in security appliances and services?

Vince Schiavo: No network will ever really be secured. Security is an always evolving threat/countermeasure/threat /countermeasure business. You make a better safe door; I blow it up. You put a locking device on the safe that can only be opened with a secret combination; I hold a gun to your head and say, “open the safe.” You invent a mobile computing device, and I will figure out how to use it for evil purposes. And today, with everything networked, and I mean everything, and with so much valuable information being available in digital form, the new threats like social networking leaks and mobile devices can be overwhelming to keep up with.

Let me give you an example. What many business executives are overlooking who are encouraging the “BYOD” model is the fact that personal devices like smart-phones, iPods, iPads and even digital cameras are easily concealable, mass-storage devices capable of copying and taking many gigabytes of private company data outside of the company’s premises. When an employee walks through security and upstairs to their workstation, they’re free to connect these devices and download whatever they have the credentials to see on their screen. These incidents happen all the time and aren’t just limited to malicious, disgruntled employees, but can be innocent inadvertent mistakes made by well-meaning employees who are using their own devices for personal Facebook postings as well as work-related projects. This creates a very dangerous risk of data leakage from the company to the outside world.

Rake Narang: How will government regulations affect security practices for organizations and what would you advise?

Vince Schiavo: Federal and state regulations concerning the protection of data and private information have elevated the profile of security throughout every organization.  As a result, companies have to invest significantly more time and money today both in dealing with the regulations from a pure compliance evidentiary point of view, and from a security technology procurement, learning, using and maintainenance point of view. On the positive side of that equation, it is getting more and more difficult for hackers to gain access to critical information and network resources via traditional remote hacking techniques because security technologies are becoming more effective and refined.

The next class of threats that companies now have to pay much more attention to - given the increased regulatory attention on data privacy issues - is the “trusted insider.” That is company employees, contractors and guests. These people just can’t be trusted anymore like they have been in the past because they have direct access to critical private information and we all are coming to know that there are emerging new security technologies we could deploy against the insider threat like DLP. As a CEO myself, I would argue that awareness of a security technology in the mainstream that you could use against the insider threat means that you now have a fiduciary and moral responsibility to use it. We all know two things. We all know that just about anybody on an organization’s payroll can walk in the front door and sit down at any workstation, log-in and then access an amazing amount of confidential information.  We also know that in this highly regulated, highly litigious environment today, there is no “pleading ignorance” as a viable defense of failure to take better proactive security measures for data privacy.

Company: DeviceLock, Inc.
2440 Camino Ramon, Ste 130,
San Ramon, CA 94583, U.S.A.
TEL (toll-free): +1-866-668-5625
TEL: +1-925-231-4400
FAX: +1-925-886-2629, +1-646-349-2996,
e-Mail: us.sales (at) devicelock.com

Founded in: 1996
CEO: Vince Schiavo
Public or Private: Private
Products and Services: DeviceLock® Endpoint Data Leak Prevention Suite version 7 – The data you are striving to protect behind firewalls and passwords is likely still slipping through your fingers. Data leaks can be initiated by either unwitting employees or users with malicious intent copying proprietary or sensitive information from their PCs to flash memory sticks, smartphones, cameras, PDA’s, DVD/CDROMs, or other convenient forms of portable storage. Or, leaks may spring from user emails, instant messages, web forms, social network exchanges or telnet sessions. Wireless endpoint interfaces like Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and Infrared as well as device synchronization channels provide additional avenues for data loss. Likewise, endpoint PCs can be infected with vicious malware that harvest user keystrokes and send the stolen data over SMTP or FTP channels into criminal hands. While these vulnerabilities can evade both network security solutions and native Windows controls, the DeviceLock® Endpoint Data Leak Prevention (DLP) Suite addresses them. It enforces data protection policies with awareness of both the context and content of data flows across endpoint channels.

Data leakage prevention starts with contextual control — that is, blocking or allowing data flows by recognizing the user, the data types, the interface, the device or network protocol, the flow direction, the state of encryption, the date and time, etc. Some scenarios call for a deeper level of awareness than context alone can provide; for example, when the data being handled contains personally identifiable information, when the input/output channel is conventionally open and uncontrolled, and when the users involved have situations or backgrounds considered high risk. Security administrators can gain greater peace of mind by passing data flows that fall into any of these categories through an additional content analysis and filtering step before allowing the data transfer to complete.

Company's Goals: To be a leading provider of endpoint security and data leak protection products that secure DeviceLock customers’ data.

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