Enterprise data egress: Who is watching?

Not long ago, business' critical digital information moved away from the enterprise in tapes and disks to be stored at an offsite location for backup and archiving. That was the only time when the digital information left the boundaries of the enterprise. Even now, many enterprises follow this practice. The vaults where these tapes and disks are preserved are highly physically secure. This method provides peace of mind when it came to security and privacy of the enterprise data. This peace of mind may have been compromised with the increased adoption of new methods and technologies.

How data egress works in the 21st Century

Email

With the spread of Internet and advances in networking, the resulting paradigm shift has had far reaching consequences. Email is probably the most common conduit of the modern data egress in an enterprise. There are many instances of emails containing confidential information reaching unintended recipients. The servers can now be accessed from anywhere and sensitive data lands in the hands of unauthorised personnel.

Mobile

Mobile computing devices provide unparalleled flexibility to the employees. These devices now can be a part of the corporate network with ease and they have access to all the corporate data. Information can be easily transferred from the back end systems to the mobile computing devices thereby compromising on the security and privacy of the information.

Outsourcing

Managed Data Centres and outsourcing of IT infrastructure Management have many significant advantages like efficiency and cost reduction in addition to shifting away from capital expenditure. However, the IT vendors of the enterprises have access to the critical digital information.

Internet of Things

With the advent of IOT, many gadgets like printers and air conditioners are now connected to the internet. Most often than not, enterprises operate these gadgets in a managed outsourced model. Since, these gadgets are now monitored remotely by a third party vendor; there is a risk of exposing critical business information.

Cloud

The adoption of cloud is growing at an exponential rate every month. With the increased usage of IaaS, PaaS and SaaS, enterprises are investing less in their own data centres. Instead, the data gets stored remotely at the data centre of the cloud provider in a very cost effective manner. The use cases include CRM, spreadsheets, end-point backup, server backup, archiving, VMs for workloads, file sharing, NAS, block storage, and many others. The advantages of using cloud are very significant. However, there are many security and privacy gaps.

How can we solve enterprise data egress?

Enterprises would like to focus on their core business and hence will increasingly entrust competent third party vendors with the task of managing their data needs in a pay per use model. This model will gain pace further if the current security and privacy gaps are bridged. The good news is that there are solutions in the market today, which can bridge most of the gaps. The most efficient solution is to host a security broker to obfuscate the information before it leaves the enterprise. Cloud Access Security Brokers (CASB) are just one such example of how to bridge the gaps while adopting cloud for data storage.

Ananda Rao Ladi at Parablu