Data leakage prevention: Hot technology for 2008

DLP is HOT

How hot is the data leakage prevention market? Well, if the big boys like Cisco, Symantec, McAfee and Trend Micro are snapping up DLP start-ups to the tune of US$1.6 billion in 2007, there must be a reason.

And the reason is that data leak prevention products plug a gaping hole in most company's security systems. The problem is that most security products are outwardly focused. They try to block external attacks. That's all well and good, but it doesn't address an entire spectrum of security vulnerabilities that occur when data moves from inside the network out.

Firewalls and intrusion-prevention systems (IPS) are the basic building blocks in a sound security policy, but they don't do you any good if a laptop is stolen out of a hotel room. They don't help if insiders are transmitting confidential information via e-mail. They don't come into play if somebody uses Web. 2.0 technology, like a blog or a mashup, and inadvertently spills company secrets on the Internet. And they don't address intentional data theft by disgruntled or inept employees.

Data leakage prevention products - also known as anti-data leakage or data-loss prevention - inspect content as it moves across the network and enforces policies so that confidential information doesn't escape the walls of the enterprise.

Much of the focus is on e-mail because e-mail is considered the biggest conduit for data leakage. In fact, a recent survey by Proofpoint found that 20% of outbound e-mails contain content that poses some type of legal, financial or regulatory exposure

DLP products also address data-in-motion (for example, data being FTP'd or IM'd), data at rest, and data being moved to portable media devices.

These days, the No. 1 fear, when it comes to security, is not having a hacker deface your Web site, or take down your servers with a distributed denial-of-service attack. It's not getting hit with a virus or a worm. It's ending up on the 11 o'clock news because of a data breach that you had to report publicly.

If that's what's keeping you up at night, then you need to seriously consider a data leakage prevention product.

Read about the other seven hot technologies for 2008:
Two-factor authentication: Hot technology for 2008
NAC: Hot technology for 2008
Web 2.0: Hot technology for 2008
Web 2.0: iSCSI: Hot technology for 2008
802.11n: Hot technology for 2008
Green IT: Hot technology for 2008
Virtualization: Hot technology for 2008

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Neal Weinberg

Network World
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