One of last week’s top news stories was the availability of a remote “kill switch” for cell phones. All devices manufactured for sale in the United States after July 2015 must provide this technology. Research has shown that the primary reason for the theft of smart phones is that they can be resold for quick cash. Using the “kill switch” would render the phone inoperable, thus discouraging this trend.
What if you could have a “kill switch” for all of your confidential files? It’s possible and many companies are now taking advantage of it!
Take for example a current employee who accepts a job with a competitor and for a period of several weeks downloads customer lists and Intellectual Property to a thumb drive. Or she cuts and pastes confidential data into another document and names the file “Soccer Schedule”. Printing the file with some unimportant name may not set off any alerts. All the while the company is in the process of losing some of its most valuable and strategic assets. This activity is such a common problem today that some companies have “Vice Presidents of Internal Threats”. If that’s not a telltale sign that we are operating in new territory, what is?
So how do you protect your company’s confidential data without becoming overly restrictive? Consider implementing a “remote kill switch” for confidential files. Persistent policy security requires the file to “call home” each time it is opened. If the policy is removed or changed, the file is not accessible. Files may be restricted to specific mobile devices so that if they are deliberately or unintentionally sent to someone through email, the file cannot be opened. With one revoke access command files can be totally disabled!
While it’s a great idea to be able to discourage the theft of smartphones, it’s even a better idea to provide persistent security to each confidential file so you can maintain control over its use regardless of its location. You can even push the “kill switch” if necessary.
Photo credit Tim Regan