Information protection war in year 2010 and beyond

Year 2010 is almost ending within few days and we’re embracing 2011. The question remain what would future hold for us as usual. As for business we can look back one year to see the changes and do some predictions.

Year 2010 has been shift for most of the business about how they do business using information technology. Virtualization has been one of the key factor in the IT industry to change the phase how IT can align for the business with the ever changing, demanding requirements.

Never the less information has been the critical assets for every business. Protecting the business data has been and will be the key requirements in 2011 as well. As we all know the data availability and accessibility has been demanded by most business workers and information workers with much freedom. Be it with their mobile device, Apple iPad, from home computer workers need freedom. CIO’s need to face with never ending  challenge of allowing data accessibility out of their corporate firewall but still maintain the confidentiality and integrity of the data without getting caught with information leakage.

According to survey’s carried out by various vendors information/ data loss is a primary concern for every business. Year 2010 has been a eye opener for SMB as well about the awareness about this and the risk they carry on protecting the company vital data. As a result, all SMBs saw tangible losses last year, chiefly downtime,theft of corporate data or theft of customer or employee personally
identifiable information. The leading direct costs experienced as a result
were the loss of productivity, revenue and direct financial costs

Data loss can be due to various reasons and some of them are,

1. Employee Mobile device lost (Laptop, Mobile phone, PDA..etc)
2. Cyber Attacks
3. Employee illegally taking data
4. Business Partner illegally taking data

So the key questions remains as always, how to protect the company critical assets and have total control over it. So let have a look at some of the basic steps companies can take into minimize the data loss,

1. Educate the employees – No matter how strong your security as long as your users are weak on using it or aware about it. At least they should be given training and aware about the company policies and also how to safe guard the company assets.

2. Categorize the data and carry out information protection plan – This is a job need to be overlook by IT Manager / CIO about the company assets with the help of the top management. Identifying and categorizing the data will allow them to apply the proper protection plans. (Eg: Encryption technologies, access control, auditing..etc)

3. Data Backup Plan and disaster Recovery – This topic need no introduction and need to reevaluated by each and every company about the effectiveness of their current procedures. SMB can consider about online data backup as their DR solution to safeguard their company critical information.

As per my understanding the tools you need to protect you data is within your reach but questions remains how far you’re using it effectively. As an example mobile devices can be encrypted by using Windows Vista, Windows 7 BitLocker technology. Microsoft carry out different guidelines how can you protect your laptop devices by using the mobile encryption technologies. More information can be found over here.  Companies can meet their governance, risk, and compliance  (GRC) by following the guidelines and tools provided by Microsoft IT Compliance Toolkit.

These are small portion of free tools you have within your grasp to secure your existing environment. With the never ending battle of security and user flexibility you need to arm with these tools and more. In future articles I’ll cover about some of these tools in detail manner.

References:

http://www.symantec.com/about/news/release/article.jsp?prid=20100621_01

http://www.microsoft.com/Presspass/press/2010/apr10/04-05MSRSAPR.mspx

http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb934049.aspx

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