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Guest Blog // Selected Security Content Provided By Sophos
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12/17/2012
10:52 PM
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BYOS: Data At Risk From Endpoint To Cloud And Back Again

Bring Your Own Software introduces data protection risks that BYOD attempts to account for. Enable your users with data protection encryption software on their own devices rather than playing IT whack-a-mole

By mid-November, Dropbox reported having more than 100 million registered users, and thanked us for it. You're welcome, Dropbox! With that many people sharing files with one cloud storage provider, what are people doing to protect sensitive and personal data?

Whether it is your resume, customer data, or compromising photos of you on a beach, it needs to be safe.

Software defects have already been in the headlines that temporarily provided unauthorized users access to other people's data. Here is one example that can happen to any software manufacturer where data was lost due to a bug.

There is risk in the longevity of some of the current cloud storage providers. Even when IT heavyweights such as Iron Mountain and EMC make an offering in the cloud storage arena, it doesn't mean success. Will you get your data back when they shut the lights off or the servers down? I doubt it, but I hope you do.

A lot of organizations are considering adopting BYOD programs. A BYOD program should consist of smart devices (phones and tablets) along with personally owned laptops, netbooks, and ultrabooks. Most organizations are limiting their BYOD programs to smart devices due to the enormous challenges surrounding personally owned laptops. No surprise.

Whittling the task down to a much smaller form factor, there are other challenges, such as mobile malware, managing vulnerabilities (checking and updating), enforcing security policies, application control, modifying the OS, data at rest protection -- and the list goes on. BYOD comes with an unavoidable by-product called Bring Your Own Software/Service (BYOS).

It looks like a daunting to impossible task to keep the smart devices under control, or the sheep in the corral, so to speak. Fortunately, there are many MDM COTS solutions available to address most of these challenges.

The devices themselves, over time, are looking to be more and more manageable, but the software and services installed on them are looking less and less manageable.

Focusing solely on data at risk, stopping data loss is a high priority in your organization, right? Or is that depending on who you ask?

Cloud Encrypted Password infographic

What the available MDM solutions lack is the ability to enable your users to share files securely with the cloud storage provider of their choice. The nonrooted or jailbroken devices themselves do not pose so much of a data risk as does the software you and your users will install on them.

After having spoken with attendees at IANS in Chicago this year, data protection with cloud storage providers was a big concern of theirs. One attendee, remaining anonymous, said he saw about 11GB of traffic directed to dropbox.com. He blocked dropbox.com, patted himself on the back, and three days later the traffic moved to Box.net. Feeling discouraged, he said, "...it was like playing IT whack-a-mole."

The conversation evolved into a plausible encryption solution that provides central key-management, agnostic cloud storage provider support, audit proof that the files are encryption, ease of use, Internet facing for secure data sharing, and support for most commonly used operating systems.

To keep this blog post from growing out of control, here's a whitepaper for more details on how to get your hands around fixing your Dropbox problem.

BYOS is about as vast as there are as many apps to download on every platform. The challenge to control them and the data they access will take more than a single technology. With applications and services that share data across cloud storage providers, you can now get in front of your data protection requirements.

No security, no privacy. Know security, know privacy.

David Schwartzberg is a Senior Security Engineer at Sophos, where he specializes in latest trends in malware, web threats, endpoint and data protection, mobile security, cloud and network security. He is a regular speaker at security conferences and serves as a guest blogger for the award winning Naked Security blog. David talks regularly with technology executives and professionals to help protect their organizations against the latest security threats. Follow him on Twitter @DSchwartzberg

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