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Content tracking, analytics hold the key to endpoint data protection

Datacastle CEO Ron Faith points out what some businesses are doing wrong when it comes to handling data, and what they should do differently to track and back up endpoints.

Endpoint data protection is a tough task, but backups and content tracking can help.

IT needs the ability to back up data on PCs and mobile devices, so in the event an employee leaves the company or their device is stolen, the organization doesn't actually lose its content. Admins also need the ability to track where data is and who has access to it to keep up with regulations. The problem is many devices have "dark data," or business data that people forget about or haven't used for a long period of time, said Ron Faith, CEO of Datacastle Corp., a data analytics and security vendor in Seattle.

IT departments need to gain insight into this data to see what critical content employees have on their devices, Faith said. Datacastle's Analytics tool, for instance, can track content and detail how users may have shared it, such as via cloud file-sharing apps or email. Another Datacastle tool, RED, backs up data from users' PCs and mobile devices to the cloud.

Ron Faith, CEO, DatacastleRon Faith

Other companies that offer these kinds of tools include Code42 Software and Druva Software. Here, Faith discusses the biggest data loss threats businesses face today and what they can do to prevent them.

What mistakes do organizations make when it comes to data loss?

Ron Faith: They don't do comprehensive backup of endpoints. You shouldn't be expecting employees to do that. If the data gets lost or corrupted in ransomware, for example, you have to have a way to not have a data loss situation.

What are the biggest threats to businesses around data loss?

Faith: You have very flexible workplaces and mobility of employees, and mismatched expectations between employee and business. An employer says, 'That's our data. You can't leave with it.' The employee doesn't think of it as sensitive data, saying, 'These are my docs that I made.' So, [organizations] want to prevent situations of employees walking out the door [with corporate data].

Does it make a difference whether the devices are personal or corporate-owned?

The small data breaches are way more likely to happen.
Ron FaithCEO, Datacastle

Faith: If they are employer-owned devices, IT has greater control. If it's BYOD, the employee has to agree to corporate policies to have access to company email and file shares, and the organization will back up everything. You still want to track content with corporate-owned [devices], especially in regulated spaces.

What are the consequences if an employee leaves with company data?

Faith: You might have issues with reputation damages. There could be fines. If the person goes to a competitor, that can have downstream damages. But if you are in a regulated space and it constitutes a data breach, you have to report it. The organization is responsible.

How often do small-scale breaches happen compared to those involving hackers?

Faith: The small data breaches are way more likely to happen. For example, the Secret Service agent's stolen laptop that was recently in the news had all sorts of sensitive data on it. Laptops are corporate content creation devices. Those materials might be local to the device and not backed up, so you want to get that content and information ... even if the employee is gone, so you can provide the content to the next employee.

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