Data Security, Encryption

IT only guards the front gate

If we've learned anything from the recent spate of extensive hacks, it's that it's time for a dramatic reimagining of how companies approach security.

One lesson I took away from my years serving as a team leader in the Israeli intelligence is that networks are bound to be breached. But there's a natural solution: Data encryption. The real failure at the root of the Anthem, Sony, Target and Home Depot breaches is the lack of protection for data itself.

As recent hacks have illustrated, corporate investment in firewalls, threat detection solutions and anti-virus protection is increasingly wasted capital. Network moats might as well be guarding an unfortified castle, because once the perimeter is breached, the data inside is utterly vulnerable.

...once the perimeter is breached, the data inside is utterly vulnerable.

What's more, although massive hacks such as these get all the attention, more routine security breakdowns pose threats every single day. These situations ought to have presented a wake-up call to the security industry a long time ago because legacy network security controls also fail to adequately address these benign situations.

When an IT administrator feels that control is lost, her reaction shouldn't be to lock down the network. When the network is locked down, employees will find a way around it to be productive. That's why bring-your-own-device policies that are flexible enough to acknowledge employees' changing preferences are a step in the right direction.  To properly address threats, sensitive data needs to be encrypted at the file-level so that access can be customized and audited in real-time. Features that help prevent threats or detect and stem attacks that may be underway – like full audit trails, file-level encryption, remote device wipe and user blocking and more – are also essential.

Thanks to the cloud, file-level encryption is easier than ever to deploy and further innovation has allowed employees to avoid that telltale tradeoff between security and usability, which means companies are running out of excuses for not implementing proper data security measures. It's time to embrace encryption, or risk your company's most valuable asset: its data.

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