My “Man Drawer” and Me

May 19th, 2016

We all have one… that place in the house or garage that becomes the container of last refuge (or even refuse) for those items we should file in the right place but we haven’t quite gotten around to doing that yet. It could contain an old credit card, some bits of string, important mementoes or other innumerable items that you just don’t know what to do with but somehow can’t throw away. For me, it’s my ‘Man Drawer’—my little haven in the kitchen that much to my wife’s annoyance I don’t allow her to touch, let alone clean-up! I’m not quite sure what’s in it, what’s valuable, what I really should throw away or what I should put in a safer location. It just sits there as the place I stuff things into, and the first place I look when I can’t find something I need.

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For EU GDPR Compliance, Accountability Starts with End Users

May 12th, 2016

I was speaking at an event in Stockholm recently, and was preceded by an eminent lawyer in the field of data protection. He was telling the audience how, after years of discussion, the European Union’s new data protection framework, the EU General Data Protection Regulation, has finally been agreed upon. He gave lots of detail on the specific obligations organisations will now have to comply with to ensure the protection of personal data, but in essence his message boiled down to three things:

• You are accountable and need to be able to demonstrate compliance coherently across your processes, employees and systems
• If you get it wrong, it’s really going to hurt
• You need to start thinking about how to become compliant before it’s too late Read the rest of this entry »

Your Data in the Age of Quantum Computing

May 10th, 2016

Quantum computing promises to be the most profound advance since the invention of electronic computers in the 1930s. Perhaps one could say even since the invention of Babbage’s first mechanical computer in the 1830s because quantum computing offers an fundamentally new paradigm of computing itself.

The idea of quantum computing was brought forth in 1982 by renowned physicist Richard Feynman. He proposed that the superposition principle of quantum physics could be used to create “qubits” (quantum bits) that held different states simultaneously in contrast to regular binary computers in which each bit is only ever either on or off at any point in time. This superposition phenomenon means that quantum computers can be vastly more powerful than binary computers, able to perform some types of calculations in seconds that would take years otherwise, and thus they have unprecedented ramifications for technology and society. (For more details, this excellent video from Microsoft provides a gentle introduction to the physics and potential of quantum computing.)
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Classification and Organisational Risk

April 13th, 2016

It is a long held view by data classification advocates that the best people to classify data are the end users. After all, they’re the ones who know the content and understand how the data is to be used, right? Yet, some data breaches still happen because users are simply not aware of how sensitive the data truly is, or they don’t fully understand the consequences that disclosure of the data may have to the organisation.

One of the top reasons that customers purchase TITUS Classification Suite is to provide a tool to reinforce their data security education and awareness programs. The user-driven classification approach can be effective as long as your users understand the meaning of the classification labels they are assigning, as well as the definition of sensitive information in the context of your business. Read the rest of this entry »

IT is Not Responsible for Your Mistakes

March 30th, 2016

We’ve all been there; heart racing, palms sweating, and gasps of remorse while frantically pressing the email recall button and praying you haven’t done what you think you have just done. You guessed it, I’m talking about the “oops” email – the email that you should not have just sent. The email that could cost you your job, your reputation and a sizable amount of regret!

Suggesting that IT is responsible for protecting today’s data is like suggesting a car dealership is responsible for the safety of drivers.  Ultimately, you can buy a car from a dealership, but it’s your responsibility to be safe and avoid accidents.  IT alone can’t cover the “oops” email or any other user blunders. As we move forward in a world where users are responsible for creating and handling an organization’s most important asset – data – it’s imperative to make users aware of their responsibility. After all, users are often much more aware of the sensitivity of a file than a machine can be.

I hear you asking: “Why is it my responsibility when we have all these great security systems?”

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Why Choose Just One Superhero When You Can Choose Them All?

March 24th, 2016

This weekend the latest superhero movie will open – pitting the two most popular superheroes of them all against each other: Batman versus Superman. In the film, Batman, the regular guy fighting the good fight with only his personal strength, wits, and a few gadgets, faces off against Superman, the almost limitlessly powerful alien. It is an interesting battle which I find parallels the argument between those that support user-driven, manual classification (Batman) and those that swear that only machine generated automatic classification (Superman) should ever be used.

In the business world, our “superheroes” consist of technologies that help us manage and protect data from the moment it is created to the day it is finally deleted. It would be great if we actually didn’t need superheroes to fight crime, but crime is a fact of life we cannot escape. Criminals are actively trying to steal our data and we need to protect it, be that preventing inadvertent data breaches, protecting data when shared outside our home perimeter, or safely disposing of data when it becomes a liability. So, in the battle of “Batman” versus “Superman,” who do you choose?

Batman v Superman
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Everything is Awesome at RSA 2016

March 2nd, 2016

If you have kids (or are a kid at heart) and have watched The LEGO® Movie (I believe it has been played in my house approximately 4000 times), then you know what ‘Everything is Awesome’ refers to…and you now have the song in your head – you’re welcome!

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Live from RSA 2016 – Discover, Classify, Protect and Analyze Your Data with TITUS Illuminate

March 1st, 2016

And, we’re back – back in San Francisco in the midst of fun and excitement at RSA 2016! As always, we had great crowds at the TITUS booth (1215) last night, and lots of people interested in learning more about our information security solutions. Day 2 is an even bigger day for TITUS as we officially launch TITUS Illuminate. Already in use by a number of large enterprise organizations, TITUS Illuminate examines and automatically classifies files discovered on-premise as well as in the Cloud.

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Data Overload

February 24th, 2016

Data is everywhere.

You hear those words so often that it’s becoming a cliché, but you can’t deny the truth of it. There was a time when there were only hard copies of files – someone typed them up, maybe photocopied them a few times – but they were easier to trace and control. Bob from the finance department down the hall had the latest version, and you went to him to get it. Today, the reality of information sharing paints a vastly more complicated picture.

When I create a document, I do it in several steps. I generate a draft, send it around to a few people for an initial review, and then incorporate their feedback into the next version. From there, I may call it complete and send it to my boss for final review. I may then send the completed revision to its final audience via email, post it in SharePoint, or save it to a network drive (among numerous other options). And what about the other people with whom I shared it? Did they download their own copies to save their changes? Did they send it to someone else within the company to get their take on it? Did someone save it to the Cloud to read at home later? That information that started as a single file may now exist in many places. It’s pretty obvious how quickly our data footprint expands.

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