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How Can Your Remote Workforce Collaborate Securely?
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Never has there been a better litmus test for seeing how agile your business is than responding to a pandemic. A recent survey by leading research firm Gartner confirmed that most businesses will shift some employees to remote work permanently as a result of COVID-19. Even from home, employees need to collaborate securely with colleagues, partners and customers to stay productive and meet deadlines and goals. While video chat and instant messaging lets you communicate, a lot of collaboration is through documents. Ideally you want to easily share documents, make sure everyone is working on the most recent version, and be able to securely manage all your projects. With the major shift to working at home, the time to double down on data security is now.

Collecting Laptops From Terminated Employees? Protect Unstructured Data
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Protect data on laptops from terminated employees I read a Tweet recently from “Accidental CISO” about collecting laptops from terminated employees during the pandemic that I deemed retweetable (if that is a word).  Some comments focused more on the hardware – how to get it back – but this got me thinking more about what is actually on the hardware. What sensitive information, like intellectual property, might reside on them?  It also made me think, in a situation like this, how the potential for insider theft is far greater.

Files containing IP can be either printed on home printers, sent over email to personal accounts, saved on a USB stick, screen captured and so on.  These are not necessarily actions of malice, but obvious desperation to assist with the basic need for employment.

Pandemic Sent Your Workers Home? Reminders for Best Data Security Practices
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Overnight, companies across the globe were forced into a fully remote workforce.  If you are prepared, under the best of circumstances, it can still be a challenge, but if you are not, the challenges are even greater and some things can potentially fall through the cracks.  People working from home can lead to a few unintended bad habits. With business continuity being the priority, data is even more at risk as hackers and thieves see opportunity when your guard is down.

For companies that don’t have tools in place, and for that matter, those that don’t have the right tools in place, here are some things you can do while ensuring the health of your employees, and your business stays on track.

Please Steal My Password
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steal this passwordHow many times have you seen passwords attached to monitors on sticky notes?  How about people who use the password “password” or “123456”?  With a lot of us having to work from home because of COVID-19, data security and privacy has become more important than ever, since we are not in the protective confines of an office and many of us may have to use our home computers.

In 2020 we have a lot of great technology to access our computers, tablets and phones.  You can access my phone with my face and your laptop with your thumb, but they are all still based on an initial password.  We’ve all read stories about using strong passwords and how easy it is to guess people’s passwords.  The fatal flaw in the system is that we need something that isn’t obvious, but something that we can remember.  Some of the simplest methods of creating a more complex password is to use upper and lower case alphanumerics plus a symbol.

Tariffs Hitting the Automotive Manufacturing Industry Is Bad Enough, But Intellectual Property Protection is of Huge Concern!
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Protect intellectual property in the automotive industryIntellectual property is a valuable asset in a variety of verticals.  Let’s take manufacturing, for example.  More specifically the automotive industry.  It is particularly vulnerable to theft.  In fact, in our Webinar “Close the Gap on Insider Threat: Granular Access Controls & Behavior Analytics , we cited a Deloitte survey where the respondents put the automotive industry at the highest risk of insider cyber threat. This means they need to put serious consideration into protecting their intellectual property in unstructured files, especially when it is handled by multiple parties.

The auto industry is suffering because of the tariff war between the U.S. and China – they’ve got enough to think about in this respect.  But, this does not mean they can let their guard down with protecting CAD/CAE designs, that are very critical to their success.  It is a very competitive market from both a talent and design perspective. In fact, one of our customers considered themselves the “University of Auto Manufacturing”.  This was because they would put time, effort and money into training individuals on their designs, giving them access to their precious CAD/CAE files only to see it walk off on a USB stick perhaps getting into the hands of a competitor.  They got tired of that, and took control through discovery and classification, and by using granular access rights.

It Takes a Village to Raise a Child, Right? It Takes a Team to Develop a Data Governance Strategy!
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Define a Practical Data Governance Plan for Unstructured DataThe phrase “It takes a Village to raise a child” is true.  But it is also true that it takes a team to develop a data governance and policy management strategy!

Teamwork is important when developing a data security strategy. As part of that process, data governance and policy management needs to be part of the equation. It’s becoming more and more clear that organizations struggle with policy management – particularly with unstructured data. The very nature of unstructured data leaves it vulnerable to exposure and loss. Insider threat is of particular concern because while hackers typically attack structured databases, your employees and other valued insiders are accessing those databases on a regular basis. The insiders can download sensitive information into spreadsheets and reports. They are accessing your intellectual property, such as product designs and roadmaps. It’s the insiders that will walk off with those designs and sell them to your competition or bring it to a competitor to jumpstart the next phase of their career. The loss of this information will not only cost you revenue, but can also result in a regulatory fine. Who can afford that?

Geese at the ISMG Cybersecurity Summit in New York? It’s all about teamwork!
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Work as a team for unstructured data securityLast week, Fasoo sponsored and participated in the ISMG Cybersecurity Summit in New York City.   It was a great event, well attended and in the Theater District and the ISMG folks were awesome to work with!

As part of our sponsorship, Fasoo had a 10 minute Tech Spotlight where, rather than providing a “death by powerpoint” tech dump, we thought it would be good to get everyone thinking about working together as a team with respect to their data security initiatives by following the example of geese. Below is the recap for the greater audience.

Getting Granular: Why You Need Granular Access Controls
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Granular access controls are important to protect unstructured dataIn our last post, we said “Without granular access controls, you can’t prevent a user from copying data from a file and pasting it into an email, for example. If you only encrypt a file and do not prevent copy and paste or printing, a user can easily compromise security.” And we meant it.

Now,  you might be asking yourself “What does it mean… granular access controls?” And the answer is simple.

Granular permissions or access controls means you grant specific permissions or enable actions when a user opens a file.  This means you can either allow or prevent a person from doing things in a file when it is open – or “in use” – and since data in use is really difficult to protect, wouldn’t it make sense to add this layer of protection?  By applying granular access controls, you can prevent someone from copying and pasting, taking a screen shot, or printing based on the classification of the file and security policy applied to it.  Users can be either granted or denied specific actions when a document is open.

Your Sensitive Data is at Risk: How Do You Manage Insider Threats?
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Protect against insider threatsPicture it.  Your employees access sensitive and confidential customer information every day so they can do their jobs. Once the data leaves the protected confines of an information repository, file share or cloud-based service, your authorized users can share it with anyone, do anything with it and compromise your customer’s confidential information or your intellectual property.  As a result, you may be subject to regulatory fines, not to mention losing customers because they can’t trust you to maintain their confidentiality. And as for IP?  It could get in the hands of your competition, threatening your business.

What do you need to do?  You need to persistently protect confidential data so that customer information and your IP is protected regardless of where it goes and who has it.  Through a file-centric approach, you need to close the security gap that allows you to share sensitive data with unauthorized users by applying granular access controls to sensitive data.  Without granular access controls, you can’t prevent a user from copying data from a file and pasting it into an email, for example.  If you only encrypt a file and do not prevent copy and paste or printing, a user can easily compromise security. 

I Want YOU…
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PrivacyTo think about stronger data security and privacy protection! But first, I want you to think about the millions of heroes who have served our country.

As we approach the 4th of July, I wanted to take a moment to recognize the heroes in the many branches of the U.S. Military.  From myself, and on behalf of the entire team at Fasoo, THANK YOU for your service!

And while thinking about those who have put themselves at the first line of defense, defending our country and fighting for our freedom, we are still fighting for privacy and stronger data security.  As individuals, we are required to provide tons of personally identifiable information to our doctors, lawyers, employers and financial institutions – trusting that they will safeguard our information.  But data leaks still happen!  So we know we need to take data security and privacy seriously.

Now, I don’t want this discussion to turn political, but it was brought to my attention (thanks, Rick), in an article published by ZDNet that “The US State Department will now require new visitors to the United States to hand over their social media account names as well as email addresses and phone numbers used over the past five years.”

I remember when I was a kid, the USA was referred to as “The Great American Melting Pot” where people were welcomed from all over the world to come here and live their dream!  Freedom.  In fact, my own family migrated from Hungary and settled in Pennsylvania in the early 1900s.  Of course, this was long before the digital age.  Back then, the information collected, while personally identifiable in nature, was not nearly as much in terms of “volume”.  So while people are still coming to this country to live their dreams, the data requirement to do so is a magnitude far above what it used to be, exacerbating the amount of data that needs to be protected.   So what I am saying here is that these visitors’ dreams should NOT include the fear of identity theft and/or exposure of personal data.

In the digital age, our thirst for knowledge and expression has us willing to give information in exchange for merchandise, a whitepaper, maybe even recognition.   And we should be able, with trust and the freedom to do so, without fear.  So at the risk of misquoting one of our Founding Fathers, those who would give up personal data for essential freedom, deserve both privacy and security.

So fire up the grill, add another hot dog or hamburger, tofu for my vegan friends, crack open a beer or have some wine.  Enjoy your friends, family and freedom and by all means, please have a safe holiday!

By Deborah Kish – EVP Research & Marketing