Data protection

Data protection is a rather broad field. Just as with forensics, we had our hands full selecting candidates for this one. Encryption was an obvious choice, but that's where the obvious stopped.

All of our selections for this group are newcomers to these annual pages, but so are some of the subcategories. For example, we have not addressed secure short message service (SMS) before, but that is an emerging market segment. Organizations that have, in the past, discouraged the use of texting now see it as a potential productivity builder and are eager for secure ways to use SMS.

We selected participants from email security, encryption, extrusion prevention, e-commerce ID theft/fraud prevention and secure SMS/text. In all cases, both the technologies and the go-to-market strategies are impressive. More important, it is fascinating to see how these innovators are redefining the market in terms that suggest that a new wave of requirements for protecting data, both at rest and in motion, is at hand.
This year's subcategories reflect the changing nature of data. Email security has become an amalgam of security and content management and, to some extent, has been with us for a long time. Encryption is, of course, obvious. Extrusion prevention - sometimes called, arguably incorrectly, data leakage prevention - is a relative newcomer.

ID theft is the number one crime today, well ahead of murder and other perhaps more heinous crimes, so it has found its way into the data protection paradigm. Secure SMS is brand new and seems to follow the extensive use to which mobile communications are put by younger users. In any event, the shape of data protection is changing, and the tools that we need to protect our data - whether corporate or personal - are following those changes.

This year we opened the flood gates and any type of data was fair game for our search. What follows is a group of very innovative companies that have seen the future of data and are moving to protect it, no matter where it lies.

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