Prevent your data from becoming the next WikiLeaks headline

WikiLeaks demonstrates what happens when organizations don't have policies and tools in place to protect sensitive data.

WikiLeaks is making as many waves as it is headlines these days--challenging the balance between the right to free speech and the need to defend national security interests. In a recent Forbes interview Julian Assange, founder of WikiLeaks, revealed that the site is expanding beyond government intelligence to begin unveiling corporate secrets as well.

While most computer and network security efforts are geared toward an "us vs. them" mentality of protecting data from outside attacks, the reality is that the threat from inside--from authorized employees--is actually much greater. Whether intentional or inadvertent, whether sabotage or honest mistake, the risk of leaked data is significant.

Solera Networks is well aware of the threat posed by WikiLeaks and the rise of information leaks in general. A survey by Solera Networks found that most organizations are not prepared to protect sensitive data. IT departments are not equipped to identify the source or scope of cyber attacks or information leaks.

A Solera Networks spokesperson elaborated via e-mail, "The survey found that 96 per cent of those surveyed recognize the importance of real-time situational awareness--yet only about 19 per cent say they have any capability to determine the extent of a breach or leak. In-depth interviews from the survey further indicate that only a fraction of the supposed prepared group can gather enough information from an attack to prevent it again in the future."

A McAfee blog post by John Dasher explains, "While technology can't put a genie back into a bottle, it can provide an organization the tools needed to deal with this type of problem going forward. Data Loss Prevention (DLP) technology can block attempted USB thumb drive use, or send up alarm flares when an otherwise "normal," authorized user suddenly copies hundreds of MBs of sensitive information to their laptop in preparation for a hasty defection to a competitor or sharing with the likes of a WikiLeaks."

McAfee is certainly not the only game in town either. Trend Micro recently acquired Mobile Armor to extend its data protection capabilities, and smaller companies like Zecurion offer tools to help monitor and secure sensitive corporate data--as well as provide the forensic evidence to track when and where the data went.

Although there is increasing recognition of the insider threat, and a rise in the variety of tools available to guard against information leakage, there is no silver bullet. McAfee's Dasher clarifies, "While IT departments might well be able to protect regulated data that is clearly identifiable (e.g., credit card numbers, SSNs, and other PII), they are not typically in a position to identify the very information that makes the business competitive and insures its very survival--its intellectual property. No, protecting sensitive information is truly a business problem, rather than a straight technology problem."

Effective information protection requires a fair amount of upfront investment to classify data, identify what is sensitive or confidential or not, and create policies and rules to govern it. But, once that initial effort is completed, the reward is that sensitive information can be better monitored and protected--especially with the right tools in place--and you can make sure your company isn't the next WikiLeaks victim.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags softwaredata protectionnetwork securityapplicationsfirewalls

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Tony Bradley

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?