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RSA Takes Suite Approach to Data Leak Prevention

Next-gen technology can inspect data, classify it, and apply policies on how to secure it

So far, most data leak prevention technology has been pretty much what it sounds like -- a way to plug holes that might allow to data to leak out of the enterprise. But RSA thinks DLP can be more than that, and today, it's putting its money where its mouth is.

RSA, the security division of EMC Corp., is releasing its Data Loss Prevention Suite, a package of products and services designed to help companies identify sensitive data, define policies for securing it, and enforce those policies -- all without altering the data itself.

The DLP Suite is the first fruit of RSA's $40 million purchase of Tablus, a specialist in data content filtering and monitoring, in August of last year. Tablus, which cut its teeth as a tool for monitoring outgoing email content, has developed a method of identifying sensitive content in documents and messages. (See RSA Takes Tablus.)

With its DLP Suite, RSA proposes to extend Tablus's technology across the enterprise in a full-scale security architecture designed to prevent sensitive data from falling into the wrong hands. The DLP Suite is a set of appliances, software, and services that can do deep-packet inspection of data, determine its sensitivity to the business, apply a policy for securing that data, and then enforce the policy across the enterprise, officials say.

"After years of focusing on protecting the infrastructure, companies are now putting a lot more focus on protecting the data itself," notes Tom Corn, vice president of data security products at RSA. "That's where the money is. But it's a lot harder to protect data than to protect infrastructure, because data moves around. It's a management nightmare."

And most DLP products today can only do one or two pieces of the puzzle, notes Rich Mogull, founder of Securosis, an IT security consultancy. They might monitor user behavior, or analyze data as it travels across the network, but they aren't comprehensive, he notes.

"DLP technology is one of the least understood tools on the security market, and there is a lack of consensus on what a DLP solution is actually comprised of, Mogull says. "[Securosis] defines it as products and solutions that, based on central policies, identify, monitor, and protect data at rest, in motion, and in use."

With the DLP Suite, RSA is attempting to meet that definition. The package includes RSA DLP Enterprise Manager, a central console that is deployed like an appliance, and which collects and processes information about types of data and policies for securing it. Out at the end points, the RSA DLP Endpoint is an agent that helps identify sensitive data and enforces those centralized policies.

The RSA DLP Network monitors data as it travels over the network, inspecting data and enforcing policies such as encryption or blocking. The RSA DLP Datacenter is a tool that analyzes data at rest in the datacenter, helping to identify sensitive information and enforce access controls or encryption.

RSA is offering a range of professional services, DLP RiskAdvisor, designed to help enterprises deploy the DLP architecture, and the goal is to get businesses up and running on the products quickly, Corn says. "In most cases, we're done with all the implementation within 20 working days. This is not a nine-month engagement. We have to be able to do the work relatively quickly."

A number of enterprises have successfully beta tested the suite. "Deploying RSA DLP Network and RSA DLP Endpoint was instrumental in helping us assess where personally identifiable information resided across our network," says Catherine Gorman-Klug, corporate director for privacy and data security at Meridian Health.

"It heightened awareness across Meridian Health of the need to protect data," she says. "[It] also helps us in ongoing regulatory compliance. It’s currently monitoring close to 4,000 email users, as well as close to 11,000 team members and physicians."

The RSA DLP Suite will be available in May. RSA officials declined to give details on pricing, except to say that it is based on the number of endpoints being monitored.

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  • RSA Security Inc. (Nasdaq: EMC)
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