Depending on your preferred source for technology statistics there is one undeniable fact that during the first half of 2014 over 300 million records were lost in data breaches. Based on a report issued by SafeNet this figure represents an increase in excess of 250% on the same time period in 2013. It is very clear that the problems caused by data mismanagement are getting worse.
Up until now it has been the reputational damage that has seen global enterprises spring into action following minimal fines for data breaches which serve as a mere slap on the wrist. PR departments have, up until now, been able to smooth over any reputational damage caused by data breaches. But with new EU legislation set to come into force, Firms that break the rules could now face fines of up to €100 million, or up to 5pc of their annual worldwide turnover, whichever is greater. This fact is likely to see Data Leakage Prevention moving up the agenda of companies across the EU and put vendors like Boldon James on the lips of every CISO on the continent.
Where is it all going wrong for companies struggling to keep up with the increasing pressure being placed on them? Why are so many companies still failing to get it right and in some cases going backwards?
Danny Maher, the lead Data Classification expert at HANDD Business Solutions, tells us where he suspects the problems lie and how they can be addressed.
“In the past, companies have only been interested in traditional perimeter security and ring fencing their existing infrastructure to limit the risk of data leakage. At HANDD we have learnt this is not necessarily the best approach to securing the journey of your data. It’s alright in locking data down and blocking access to it but what if we don’t really know what that data is? Preventing users from conducting required business processes impacts on productivity and business efficiency. Not only that, but when you consider the most important asset to any company, it’s people, are unsure of company policy and what is required of them when handling specific content it is easy to see how companies can run into problems.”
But how can we be sure that we are handling content in the correct way if we really have no idea what the content or context of that content is? How can we streamline business processes to not only ensure data is being handled in the correct manner but, more importantly, we are using solutions that do not impact on common business practices?
The answer is simple says Danny, “Boldon James Classifier. Using Boldon James Classifier and its user-friendly, single Administration Interface it is simple to deploy a classification security policy that not only raises awareness among your end users but brings them into line with your company data security policy without impacting on their daily duties. By placing a key identifier into metadata or x-headers we can automatically leverage downstream technologies such as McAfee, Symantec, PGP Encryption, Document Storage and Archiving solutions as part of a wider DLP strategy to combat data leakage.”
It shouldn’t be the IT Administrators who are responsible for classifying your data.
“Who is best placed to know what the content of that data is? IT? Management? Business Leaders? No, data owners, the person who creates a document or composes an email are the ones most likely to understand how valuable that data is to the company. Boldon James Classifier empowers your users to select a classification label and apply it to a document or an email with one simple click. Behind that classification tag sits a range of policies and rules that control the flow of that data. Automatic rules can be triggered based on content, key words, regular expressions, recipient clearance and classification labels etc. Visual labels such as headers, footers and watermarks can be automatically applied to content to educate the users as to their responsibilities when handling that data.”
That is all very well applying labels and rules to data but where Boldon James Classifier really starts to prove its worth is when used to add value to your existing DLP architecture.
“The problems with DLP solutions are that they can be overworked and clunky by having to scan content, recipients, strings of text, document properties and then aggregating that information on the fly, creating many false positives. With the placement of a single key identifier into that data by Boldon James DLP solutions now only have to look in one place to apply a policy efficiently which drastically reduces demands on infrastructure. Encryption can be automatically applied based upon the classification label. Storage & Archiving policies can also be triggered by reading the classification tag. Thanks to a single x-header automatically placed into a message by Boldon James Classifier, this entire process is made simple.”
Part of the problem behind Data Leakage lies in the fact that content of legacy data is rarely known or understood. Data is growing exponentially and expensive storage costs keep on going up as a result. How do we combat these two problems?
Danny Maher says “Varonis Datadvantage is a metadata framework that allows companies to discover content, apply context to that content as well as offering a bi-directional view of who has access, who has been accessing and who could potentially access your data.
Coupling a solution such as Boldon James Classifier, which places that key identifier into a documents metadata, with Varonis Datadvantage you start to create a bigger picture of what type of content users have accessed or could have access to. These first steps are integral to the process of securing the journey of your data”.
Datadvantage can discover the metadata placed into documents by Boldon James Classifier and automatically move that content onto cheaper storage if it is deemed to be a low sensitivity. It could also discover who has access to sensitive content and remove inappropriate permissions, vastly reducing extortionate storage costs and rapidly decreasing the potential for loss of sensitive information.
To add even more functionality to the Boldon James Classification suite, Power Classifier allows you to bulk classify your historical and legacy data. With Varonis Datadvantage giving you the ability to understand the sensitivity of content which has not yet been classified, Power Classifier can be used to apply classification metadata to folders full of content.
In the past, securing data has been the responsibility of global IT Departments. With Boldon James Classifier IT Administrators can now provide a reliable classification mechanism for the people who really understand the content of the data, the end users.
Understanding your content as well as classification are the first steps to efficiently securing your data. With the help of Boldon James Classifier companies can now take that all important first step”.
HANDD is the UK’s leading integrator in the DLP space with expertise in Data Classification, Data Loss Prevention and E-discovery, working with enterprise sized companies on major integration projects. Our knowledge and expertise is fundamental to our ability to be able to offer invaluable and independent advice to companies concerned about addressing the problems that can cause Data Leakage. HANDD adds value to the process of implementing a solution such as Boldon James by being well positioned in the market to offer; Independent Advice, Project Management Services, Training, Support, Knowledge Share, Documentation and an unrivalled understanding of your vertical’s regulatory bodies and laws which can dramatically affect your approach to securing your data. We ensure your company is not at a loss when it comes to applying and understanding the sensitivity of your data.