One of those Articles…

Mar 5th, 2007

Comments: 0
Category: Misc.

One of those Articles…

When disgruntled employees get clever – Network World
This was definitely one of those articles that I read in the sure and certain knowledge that the person writing it would be selling the solution to the problem they were laying out… Now a lot of the time people who work for vendors have some of the most valuable insight as they’re fully focused on a particular technology area, but you also get a number of articles like this one that create an artificial scenario, avoid any mention of related problems that the technology they sell won’t solve and then seem to think that because they don’t mention their product by name, you wont twig..
In this case the author sets out that simple e-mail filtering won’t catch intellectual property theft, but that “fingerprinting” intellectual property and looking for those fingerprints will allow companies to catch that leakage…
I’ve not thought too long on this but it seems there’s a couple of holes in this as an idea… firstly E-mail encryption… you’d expect users to be encrypting sensitive documents that they send externally so unless the software has the right position in the network and the company has the right kind of encryption setup, it’s not going to see much in the way of fingerprints.
Secondly and perhaps more seriously, I’d have thought most employees might be a bit smarter than to try and e-mail themselves intellectual property that they want to take. Instead why not just put in on a data key, or put it on your laptop and take it home, or go really low tech and … print it out and put it in your briefcase…
Oh one other slight problem with this article .. on the first page there’s a throw away line “First, you have to be able to identify the data you want to protect when it is at rest, before it leaves the network.” !. Companies spend a huge amount of resource trying to classify data just to the server or perhaps the share/directory level and then keep that classification reasonably up to date in the very fast moving business environment that most operate in these days. The idea of a large company that knows where all it’s valuable data is exactly is to me, not very likely.

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