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Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Protect Your Company’s Data - TRAINING IS IMPORTANT

After you identify data that is crucial to your company, you’ll want to train your employees to protect that data and to recognize and handle any sensitive data.

“For those of us who live every ay in data security, this is a matter of reflex, but most employees who are trying to add a new employee to payroll, [signing] an agreement with a partner, or working with consumer data are just trying to do their jobs,” says Gunter Ollmann, vice president of research at Atlanta-based Damballa (www.dam “Most are blissfully unaware of the risks of mistreating that data. The first order of business is to adequately train employees to identify and handle sensitive information and, just as importantly, the risks of mishandling it.”

This task is complicated by the fact that some employees see security training as an obligation. As the owner, you need to impress on your employees that a data breach can mean the end of the company and, therefore, their jobs. “As employees have access to an ever increasing range of devices capable of storing large amounts of data, they become custodians of potentially vast amounts of sensitive information,” says Ollmann. “The kind of awareness and training that was acceptable five years ago is simply not sufficient when it’s possible to carry terabytes of storage around in someone’s briefcase.”

The portability of data is another significant factor in your exposure to a data breach. Figures from Datacastle indicate that laptops, especially, are a central part of data breach risk.

Consider that more than half of laptop thefts or losses result in data breaches; one out of 10 laptops will eventually be lost or stolen; and only 8% of corporate laptop data is ever backed up to a corporate server.

Therefore it is important to instruct employees on the importance of diligence, not just in doing regular backups of their data, but by also avoiding classic scenarios that almost inevitably lead to theft, such as leaving a laptop on a car seat. And if clients, vendors, or others have access to your data, make sure that you protect anything sensitive with passwords, restricted administrative access, or perhaps encryption.

“What many organizations still seem to overlook is that in spite of their very sophisticated and extensive perimeter security barriers, trusted insiders can still walk right in the front door and sit down at a laptop or desktop computer somewhere in the organization and transfer whatever information they have access to on that workstation to their iPhone, iPad, USB stick, or other easily portable and concealable mobile device,” says Vince Schiavo, CEO of San Ramon, Calif.-based DeviceLock (, which makes data loss prevention software. “This opens up the enterprise to huge risks of data leakage, both via intentional malicious theft and via unintentional or inadvertent transfer of private information from the endpoint device to a mobile device, which can easily leave the workplace and release that information into the wild.”

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