Data leaks affect over 75 percent of businesses, with 68 percent experiencing six sensitive data losses annually according to the IT Policy Compliance
Group. Data leaks can occur through e-mail, Web sites, USB
sticks, and MP3 players
. While malicious data theft is a threat, a majority of leaks are accidental and happen because of poor employee judgment. Unfortunately, employee education is not 100 percent effective.
By implementing corrective risk, compliance, and governance practices, companies can prevent or decrease the number of data loss
The primary means of foiling leaks is automating the monitoring and measurement of controls and procedures.
Companies can deploy content filtering
, encryption, and digital rights management software and hardware
that controls access to sensitive content. With most encryption software, users must enter a password
before a computer
will boot up. Digital rights management software enables companies to encrypt and assign privileges to documents, for instance flagging them for "internal use only" or "do not print."
Combating data loss
can be expensive. Content-filtering packages for large enterprises start at around $25,000. A sophisticated digital rights management system
can cost $500 per employee and encryption products cost $125 to $300 per user
. St. Bernard Software
and SonicWall are two providers of enterprise and SMB content filtering
software. Adobe, Protexis, and RSA (part of EMC) provide digital rights management solutions. Encryption
vendors include PGP, Checkpoint, Utimaco, and WinMagic.
Businesses should also monitor outgoing e-mail messages and use software to flag and block e-mail messages or file
transfers containing confidential data. And companies should audit security
practices regularly, probably at least monthly. Vigilance can help companies reduce costly and embarrassing data loss
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