dataharvestWhether intentional or accidental, data leaks are a huge concern for organizations. And it has been for years. Going back to a 2004 survey from an IT security forum hosted by Qualys, found that 67% of security executives do not have controls in place to prevent data leakage, A December 2006 survey, Boston-based researchers Simon Management Group noted that some 78% of respondents said they were "very concerned" about data exposure. A 2010 article published by Trustwave on CSOonline.com said that 65% of leakage occurs due to the following combined methods: Microsoft SMB sharing, Remote Access Applications, and Native FTP clients.

And a recent informal survey conducted by the Avast Mobile Enterprise team at two healthcare technology events indicates that Data Leakage (69%) was the greatest security concern of Healthcare CISOs. Insider threats (34%) and Malware (28%) got silver and bronze.

Information seems to be the gold standard in today’s digital society and it comes in many forms. It can be personally identifiable information (PII) of customers or employees; it can be corporate or financial info; it can be litigation related; it can also be health care related and really, any data that should be kept secret…except from those who are authorized to view it.

According to Cisco, some risky behavior by employees can aggravate the situation. Areas included:

  • Unauthorized application use: 70% of IT professionals believe the use of unauthorized programs resulted in as many as half of their companies' data loss incidents.
  • Misuse of corporate computers: 44% of employees share work devices with others without supervision.
  • Unauthorized physical and network access: 39% of IT professionals said they have dealt with an employee accessing unauthorized parts of a company's network or facility.
  • Remote worker security: 46% of employees admitted to transferring files between work and personal computers when working from home.
  • Misuse of passwords: 18% of employees share passwords with co-workers. That rate jumps to 25 percent in China, India, and Italy.

How can you reduce and mitigate some data leakage risks? BIG-IP can help shore up some areas.

The overall category of Data Loss Prevention (DLP) is a multi-faceted area of security that encompasses securing data storage, data transmission, and data in-use. Specifically, BIG-IP ASM focuses on the protection of data in-flight. For instance, ASM’s DataGuard is a method of protecting against SSN or CC# information from leaking out of back-end databases but ASM’s benefits in a DLP strategy extend well beyond that. DLP is concerned with unauthorized access to any private data, whether confidential personal or corporate information. ASM provides comprehensive protection against unauthorized back-end database access, by preventing the exploit of well-known vulnerabilities such as XSS, SQL-injection, cookie poisoning, etc. If you can’t even reach the info, less likelihood of it leaking.

No single product is going to provide a comprehensive, all inclusive DLP solution. HIPAA, PCI, and other regulatory standards are focused almost entirely on DLP. BIG-IP ASM, as a WAF, provides a vital part of any overall DLP solution in today’s security-conscious environment.

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