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Next-Gen CASB Blog

Where's Your Data?

By Annie Wang | November 24, 2014 at 12:16 PM

Data trackingIs it in the US, Brazil, Russia, China, gone? Can you answer the question?

With the emergence of cloud applications and BYOD, answering this question has gotten considerably more difficult. Over 50% of employees now access company information from their personal mobile devices. This is up from 37% in 2013. 82% of IT organizations expect BYOD to grow in the next year, with lost or stolen data being the top concern.

Everybody’s Got To Learn Sometime

“Where’s My data?” is something that companies of all sizes must be able to answer, as compliance regulations like HIPAA and FIPS must be met.  Both require the full protection of all customer and PHI data. The cost of compliance failure is huge. A Healthcare organization's data loss event can cost anywhere from $50,000 to $1,500,000! That’s a lot of dinero.

For large enterprises, thousands of employees are accessing apps from around the world, downloading information and then sharing company data with people both in and outside a company’s network, regardless of whether or not it goes against company policy. This is a reality that companies must come to terms with. It’s also one of the most common subjects that comes up in calls with customers and prospects.

Organizations need to know what data has been downloaded, see who downloaded it, and must be able to track where it goes once it travels outside the firewall, and anywhere on the internet. Knowledge of data location allows IT security teams to be alerted if data ends up in the wrong hands, enabling them to take the correct course of action. This visibility can be the difference between a massive data breach event (JP Morgan) and botched attempt from a cyber criminal (CitiBank).

Proactive > Reactive

To answer the question companies should deploy a security solution that can watermark. You know when iStock or Shutterstock images have a logo placed on them so no one steals their photos? Watermarking works similarly, but with a few added bells and whistles. A watermark is digital fingerprint that is completely invisible and allows data to be tracked anywhere it goes as it travels the world.

As files are downloaded to a device, or sent as email attachments, every file receives its own unique digital fingerprint (or watermark). This watermark allows the IT team to identify who downloaded the file and when the event took place. The solution is then notified every time that the file is accessed, allowing the IT team to track corporate data anywhere it goes on the internet. The watermark is still intact even if a certain section of the content is copy and pasted into another document. 

Companies must realize that answering the question isn’t impossible, there are just steps that they must take in order to arrive at the answer. The first step involves finding a data security solution that can actually watermark sensitive corporate data, and keep tabs on its location.

So, do you know where your company’s data is?

Read "BYOD Security That Works" for more information on how to secure data on mobile devices.

Chris Hines

Product Marketing Manager