Using the Cloud To Stop Data Loss

According to this article by Kelly Jackson Higgins, a new survey from the Ponemon Institute sponsored by Symantec showed that about half of the 3,300 employees surveyed in the US and the UK are walking out with corporate data.  “Half of employees say they took corporate data with them when they left their jobs or were fired, and 40% plan to use that data in their new positions at other organizations, according to a new report.”

Nothing new here.  We covered news about a cleaning crew that was removing paper-based private medical records last week.  However, the largest movement of data out the door is on USB drives, smartphones, PCs, and tablets.  The new trend is to leverage cloud-based file-sharing applications, such as Dropbox, as a way to get the data out of the building.

20 years ago, data walked out the door on 3.5” floppy disks.  Today’s data walks out on smartphones, iPads, and through cloud storage.  Indeed, in some companies and government agencies removed the drives or even clogged them up with superglue, and did the same with USB ports when those started to show up.  Their success rates with these methods were less than spectacular.

IT shops need to get ahead of this problem.  The first steps are to publish very clear policies, and put protections in place.  For instance, within some organizations, data is only allowed in the cloud and cannot be downloaded in bulk to any device or storage system.

Of course, no protections are perfect.  As long as employees can see the data, they will find ways to take it with them.  The use of cloud-based systems can actually stop some of this, but there has to be a holistic security strategy in place to make it truly effective.

So, the cloud can provide better security?   What a concept.