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Tag: privacy compliance

Image shows wall-mounted home office surveillance camerasRemote work is putting sensitive data at risk. That we can all agree on. Traditional endpoint protection frequently fails. So what about stronger surveillance of remote employees at home? 

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Let’s monitor the heck out of them, shall we?

That seems to be the approach of some financial services firms whose remote workers handle sensitive financial data and Personally Identifiable Information (PII). Is remote work surveillance a good idea? 

Perhaps, if your organization is craving attention – from the Washington Post, for example – for all the wrong reasons: privacy concerns, lawsuits, alienated employees and contractors. 

“Excessive surveillance,” writes ZD Net’s Owen Hughes, “is having profoundly negative effects on the workforce.”

But does it work?

 

Why monitor employees at home?

You see, that’s the other catch: it may not be worth the effort and expenses. Digital surveillance, warns Tech Target’s ComputerWeekly (UK), may “increase enterprise risk” by “forcing remote workers towards shadow IT.”

In short, excessive work-from-home surveillance doesn’t only erode trust and productivity. It also results in weaker data protection and employees leaving for the competition. 

What’s not to love? Perhaps you agree: pretty much everything, if you value your employees and work culture.

The tips below favor a non-creepy approach that is more sustainable: 

 

5 data protection tips for maintaining trust in the Zero Trust era  

Fasoo’s data-centric security model maximizes document protection – not the surveillance of the people handling them from home. Fasoo enables IT to secure and keep tabs on sensitive unstructured data throughout the document lifecycle, instead of putting employees and contractors under home office surveillance.

  • Stay vigilant; keep watching. 

Fasoo Enterprise DRM lets your organization automatically assign file protection without user intervention at the point of creation. Encryption and policies keep the document secured even when it is shared outside the organization by mistake.

Efficient document protection with Fasoo enables your organization to continuously monitor, log, and flexibly change who’s accessing confidential files and how. 

 

  • Turn your employees’ bedroom nooks into secure print stations.

What would it take, aside from nationwide lease, maintenance, and insurance contracts? The kids giving up their bedroom? A two-camera surveillance system? 

Or, less creepy: You deploy Fasoo Smart Print as your organization’s remote network of monitored print stations. Regardless of which physical or virtual printer is used – including the old inkjet in the bedroom nook – IT remains fully in control.

A granular audit trail includes the text or image of the actual printed content. It ensures visibility into all print activities that involve EDRM-secured documents.

 

  • Intervene when they take a snapshot.

How do you keep remote employees, in the privacy of their home, from using the Print Screen key, screenshots, or a smartphone to take pictures of confidential information?

Install more spyware and observation cameras? Think about the possible impact on your workforce retention rate in the “great resignation” era.

Here’s a less heavy-handed approach that’s more efficient than excessive remote work surveillance. Deploy Smart Screen, Fasoo’s on-screen document protection. It enables IT to block and monitor screen capture attempts. Administrators can monitor all screen capture attempts and even view an image of the targeted areas.

It may be impossible to keep a determined person from taking photos with a smartphone or camera outside a high-security office area or designated data room. That’s why effective deterrence is essential. Fasoo Smart Screen enables admins to imprint sensitive documents with a visible “smart” watermark that contains tell-tale user-specific information.

 

  • Keep tabs on them outside work and after hours.

On your files, that is. Shareholders, customers, and regulators expect you to protect confidential financial information and PII throughout the document lifecycle. Password-based document protection or Data Loss Protection (DLP) solutions, for example, cannot provide this level of security. 

DLP aims to prevent data exfiltration, but files can still make it beyond your organization’s IT perimeter: on a USB stick, for instance, or via a personal cloud storage account.

With Fasoo Enterprise DRM, encryption and policy settings apply regardless of where the document lands and prevent unauthorized access. A confidential file remains protected even in the wrong hands.

  

  • Always and immediately involve higher-ups, IT, and HR… 

…when (former) employees attempt to access specific documents. Sounds ridiculous, right?

Well, that’s because it is. Yet, some Information Rights Management (IRM) solutions expect data owners to relinquish control over individual documents to a degree that poses challenges for organizations with many users and constantly changing roles.

Workflows become work trickles. People find shortcuts. Overall data security suffers.

Fasoo’s centralized policy management capabilities allow for flexible, people-centric exception handling. It integrates with all leading federated authentication systems, minimizing risk when employees change departments or leave the company.

This approach ensures that everyone who needs to be is in the loop about a file’s security – the document creator, supervisors, IT, and HR. No home office surveillance required. 

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Zero Trust makes sense. Until it doesn’t.

Would you make Zero Trust your People & Culture or HR slogan? Let’s face it: You need a Zero Trust strategy to secure your data. As a tagline for your work culture, on the other hand, it would be a less than ideal pick.

With Fasoo Enterprise DRM, you don’t have to sacrifice trust and productivity by setting up remote work surveillance bridgeheads in your employees’ homes.

As a cornerstone of your Zero Trust strategy, Fasoo empowers your organization to maintain its work culture and trust within the team while still ensuring maximum data protection.

 

Contact the Fasoo team to find out more.

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.

It reminded me of a webinar we did in 2019, Close the Gap on Insider Threat: Granular Access Controls and Behavior Analytics, where we focused on the best way to protect and control unstructured data without having to think about where it is located, who is accessing it or how it is being used.  It’s part of a 3-part series, so check out the other two.

In my last post, I talked about how many companies are not prepared to suddenly support a remote workforce and provided some thoughts on things you can do.  But this tweet brings to the surface the extent of how unpreparedness can lead to (and this is going to sound weird) intentional, non-malicious behavior.

I encourage you to think about it, watch, and at the very least, start putting a plan in place to protect and control your unstructured business critical information.  The time is now to do your best research so when you are ready to pull the trigger on your unstructured data security project, you will be able to hit the ground running.

Contact us if you want to talk about any of this and in the meantime, stay safe and healthy!

 

Photo credit Ian Sane

 

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?

It’s really important to work as a team to:

  • Define a Practical Data Governance Plan for Unstructured Data
  • Identify Use Cases & Conduct Workflow Reviews
  • Turn Use Cases Into Unified and Centralized Policies
  • Develop a Change Management Plan

In Fasoo’s next webinar, Why Leadership and Data Governance is Critical to Policy Management, Ron Arden and Deborah Kish will call out these steps and provide insights to what the best practices around the teamwork that will help you get to a better data governance and policy management strategy.  The last of our 3 part webinar will be September 18th at 2 pm.  You won’t want to miss it.

Photo credit Anna Samoylova

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.

When geese fly south for the winter or are moving from one pond or lake to another, they do so in a V formation.  There is a bunch of science around this, but to make a long story short they:

  • Flap their wings to ensure better lift and a more efficient flight
  • They take turns leading the way to ensure each have had a break
  • They stick with each other in times of trouble

Geese are sensible in that they share the responsibility of working together as a “team” to help them get to their destination efficiently and meet the goal of the journey!  For the purposes of this post, we equate the journey to better data security across all businesses.

Many organizations’ stakeholders (C-Level, business unit leaders etc.) don’t talk to one another with respect to how they need to handle data security. Each has their own agenda, process, budget, ideas and such, but much more can be accomplished when working together.  Understanding each others’ goals and coming up with a plan on which to execute.  And so, think about the flock of geese and their relocation journey (to the south, from body of water to body of water) the way you should think about your data security projects and initiatives.  Work as a team.  Talk to one another and get on the same page. Talk about your data and make a plan with the goal toward protecting it and creating a stronger data security strategy that, as a company, you can achieve.  Understand each other’s goals and ensure that you reach them.

Now, some geese –  you may or may not know – get what is called “angel wings” – they are little tufts of feathers sticking out of the side of the wings.  It is usually caused by a poor diet (i.e. bread – please don’t feed geese bread – it is no good for them) – so for the purpose of this blog, an incomplete or non existent data security strategy – but it leaves them unable to fly and vulnerable to attack from a predator (much like data to a hacker or thief without a good strategy), and ultimately –  left behind.

Like the geese, work together and make sure that your journey toward stronger data security is attained. And keep in mind, things don’t happen overnight. There will be disagreements and things might feel as if they are going nowhere.  But don’t give up!

The upside?  There are many, but great things can come of working together as a team because, you will find that by talking to one another, you’ll discover commonalities across the organization about how data is collected, handled, and used making the journey simpler than you think.   And if you feel that your organization is NOT talking?  Be the thought leader or pioneer for your company or business unit.  Start the conversation.  I’ll help you!

Bring your ideas to the table and don’t let your business be the goose that wound up with angel wings, left behind and vulnerable to attack.

Photo credit Vivek Kumar

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.

Intellectual property is extremely valuable to your business, but it is really vulnerable to theft.  Think about your product design plans or maybe your trade secrets or product roadmaps.  Anyone could copy and paste that information into an email and send it to anyone, take a screen shot and text it to a friend or print it and walk out the door with a piece of paper.  If you’ve followed our first webinar “Overcoming Unstructured Data Security and Privacy Choke Points“, you will hopefully be thinking about getting your first line of defense, or your foundation built.  In our next webinar,  “How Granular Access Controls and User Behavior Analytics Close the Gap on Insider Threat” on Wednesday, August 7, 2019 at 11:30 am EST, we “get granular” about granular access controls.

 

Photo credit Kelli McClintock

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. 

Picture it.  When you hire an employee, you are trusting them to always have the best interest of the company at heart. The employee trusts that the company will help them reach their goals in terms of career and advancement. Trust should be a two way street.  But in the former, it isn’t always black and white, because we know two things:

  1.  No one is infallible
  2.  Malice exists

To elaborate further… not so much on “No one is infallible” because we all know, mistakes happen.  Information can be accidentally sent to the wrong person through email either internal or external to the organization.   But for the sake of statistics and surveys, IBM recently published a study and cites that “…inadvertent breaches from human error and system glitches were still the cause for nearly half  (49%) of the data breaches in the report, costing companies over $3 million. 

But maliciousness, unfortunately is a reality.  Clear examples of why data may fall victim to exposure include:

  • The employee who gets let go   
  • The employee who leaves the organization because they feel they are being treated unfairly
  • The employee who decides they can advance their career by taking intellectual property or trade secrets to the competition 

As an organization, you can mitigate these risks by applying granular access controls and utilizing user behavior analytics.  This is the topic of my next webinar, “How Granular Access Controls and User Behavior Analytics Close the Gap on Insider Threat” on Wednesday, August 7, 2019 at 11:30 am EST.   If you have an interest in protecting your sensitive and private data, you should.

Photo credit Arlington Research 

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

GartnerI have to say, being on the other side of the Gartner Security and Risk Management Summit was a combination of exciting, fun, and educational. The cool thing is that I still got to get up on stage and the bonus was to see all the hard work that goes into exhibiting. I think the Fasoo team did a fantastic job setting up and manning the booth.

At our booth at the Summit, we highlighted new features of our Data Radar and Wrapsody eCo products that deliver a unique life-cycle approach to enterprise content challenges plaguing organizations globally.

Overall our booth attracted hundreds of visitors seeking products that can help them regain control over their unstructured data with particular interests in discovery, encryption and access control.

Privacy regulations such as GDPR and CCPA is the driving factor as visitors clearly indicated the need to adapt quickly to the changing environments. Also, new data security related projects have been planned or launched based on recognizing the impact from IT changes within the organization including the adoption of cloud infrastructure and applications.

Our visitors at the Gartner Security and Risk Management Summit ranged from CISOs, business unit owners, and cyber security professionals to Chief Data Officers and Chief Privacy Officers across multiple verticals. I hope I got a chance to meet you!

I was super excited to moderate our solution provider session at the Summit featuring 3 of our customers which included the regional CISO from a global financial institution, a business unit leader in the automotive industry and a consultant who is leading global digital transformation projects in the public sector globally. Each have projects that involve the challenges of unstructured data security and privacy with distinct use cases. They shared with the audience how they successfully “fast tracked” their way through the challenges often associated with these projects and accelerated their organizations’ paths to data centric security and privacy.

They shared how Fasoo helped them in their plight to gain control of and secure their unstructured data, their intellectual property and meet privacy regulations.

Deborah’s Final Thought:
As trends toward cloud and content collaboration continue – as growth in unstructured data increases and the perimeter fades, it is clear now, more than ever, that the market must adopt a file-centric approach to data security. I believe that this approach will minimize the risks associated with sensitive data exposure and help meet regulatory requirements.

By Deborah Kish – EVP Research & Marketing

HIPAAThis has been on my mind. A lot. Every day, I open my email to find news about how a company needs to pay a fine or a fee to either an individual or a regulator because data was leaked or stolen. This one in particular caught my eye because it is a classic example of data being accessed by likely the wrong individual and shared with someone who should definitely not have been able to see it. This one seems to be an access control and encryption play.  If they were in place, this healthcare entity wouldn’t have to shell out $853K and violate HIPAA regulations in the process.

And this one! It dates back to 2015, but it is still one of the largest hack attacks to date, and the settlement (which was just reached) is nearly $1 million dollars!  All because a sophisticated attack allowed the hackers to steal user credentials and 3.5 million patient records.   As a result (besides the $900K) MIE has a laundry list of technologies they will be required to invest in as well as implementing “controls during the creation of accounts that allow access to ePHI”.

This tells me something.  It tells me that there are still so many companies that do not have strong sensitive data security and privacy controls in place.

And, it leads me to feel even more strongly about the “file centric” approach. A file centric approach means that you are focusing on the actual data, (in both of these cases, PII) rather than the location of the data. Encryption and access control in these cases could have made a significant impact and saved; the victims of the breaches from potential harm like ID theft AND the entities themselves a lot of money.  I’ll be talking more in detail about this in my upcoming webinar “Overcoming Unstructured Data Security and Privacy Choke Points” this Thursday, June 6th at 1:30 pm. I’ve embedded the link so you can go ahead and register.

See you then!

By Deborah Kish – EVP Research & Marketing

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