Destroy Your Laptop Without Ramifications!

This article originally appeared on Stephen’s personal blog. You can visit it here.

Don’t let the introduction scare you.This post is actually more appropriate for less technical readers who have had a computer failure and lost data.

While on a recent business trip, the hard drive light on my laptop remained solid at all times. As time went on, Windows slowed to a crawl and became unusable. I looked at the resource monitor to see what was causing the disk to spin so much, so that I could kill it, but there weren’t even any IO hits. When I rebooted the computer I got a message “Detection Error on HDD” and Windows wouldn’t start at all any more.

It was basically over. While we were able to mount it with Ubuntu and recover some of the data left there, I was very glad to have committed to synchronizing data consistently enough to not lose anything.

[Read more…]

What is it that you want to protect from data loss the most?

This can be a very difficult question.  A question that has created many products and solutions (inside and outside of IT…think insurance.)  Other than the people, the most critical asset we have in most organizations is the information.  If it were not for that information we wouldn’t need all of the switches, routers, servers, and storage.  If we aren’t protecting the data that we value most as a starting point then what are we doing?

DLP (Data Loss Prevention) has been one of the dirtiest words over the last ten years.  It may be even considered worse than cloud, at least in security circles.  What made this term so unpalatable is the fact that it somewhat implies that without these solutions branded Data Loss/Leakage Prevention that we are losing and leaking data.  It implies that these solutions are the silver bullet.  The end all to be all.  Obviously marketing gone wild.  There is definitely some merit in this though.  And applied correctly with other technologies can actually provide a fantastic last line of defense, which used to be endpoint anti-virus.

If the attack traffic got through the firewall, then the Network Intrusion Prevention System, then hopefully the endpoint anti-virus software would pick it up.  But what happens when it doesn’t?  What happens when the system has been compromised without detecting for a while.  This is where the data starts to get pulled out of the network, or exfiltrated.

Assuming there is a compromise, let’s delve into our solutions that make up a DLP strategy and provide some examples of when each of them is used.  Ideally you’ll find which of these following solutions fit best in your environment today. [Read more…]

Little known ways of managing mobile devices to prevent data loss

This article originally appeared on Stephen’s personal blog. You can visit it here. 

Most people feel naked without their smart phones and tablets. The adoption rates of these devices over the last five years have been explosive with an expected 10 billion by 2020, according to Morgan Stanley  (to give you an idea of the magnitude – PCs and notebooks are at about 1 billion today.) Morgan Stanley also predicts that 95% of devices purchased for business will be by employees. This means that there will soon be a diverse selection of mobile devices in the office (for example right now Softchoice’s Employee Choice model has brought hundreds of iPhones into our environment.) How is IT going to cope with this?

Device heterogeneity is a serious issue.  Similar versions of Apple’s IOS Operating System run on iPod, iPhone, and iPad devices. Android has been modified by several vendors including Samsung, HTC, and Motorola. HP recently introduced new versions of WebOS that run the Palm Pre3 and TouchPad.  RIM has also introduced the Playbook that works with Blackberry devices. Is your head spinning yet?

All of this heterogenity has left network administrators confused about how to apply one of the most fundamental principles to these devices: centralized management. Lack of centralized control and updating is an architecture built for an individual, not an enterprise. Centralized management of mobile devices is crucial as part of a Data Loss Prevention program because of they are easily lost, stolen, (and likely soon to be) compromised. 

Here are seven little known ways to implement a Mobile Device Management solution: [Read more…]