15 Sep 2016

Data Security

I want to discuss the advantages and importance of data security and why traditional forms of encryption are no longer enough when it comes to protecting data.

Historically, encryption was the best way for businesses to keep data secure. Encryption is the process of encoding data so that only authorised parties can have access and focuses on controlling access to data rather than controlling the data itself. To achieve a higher level of data security, more restrictions around behavior would have to be set. But in today’s mobile world, employees need to be able to transport files outside of the corporate network in order to travel and work from home efficiently. As a result, firms are left struggling with the conflict of being able to achieve data security while still maintaining a flexible and efficient work environment. Next generation data security has come about as a result of this challenge.

Next generation data security focuses on controlling data at the file level as opposed to controlling the data’s location. Traditional forms of data security, such a disk and file encryption, restrict location, and are difficult to accommodate the flexible, mobile work environment required by most hedge funds.

With traditional data security, once the file leaves the network, the administrator loses control, and the only way to combat this risk is by setting up cumbersome, location based permissions. With newer forms of data security, administrators can control and protect information independent of where it is located, whether that be in file shares, emails, laptops, or the cloud, and revoke access at any given time. This allows employees to work flexibly while still providing appropriate levels of security, and is especially helpful in the case of an employee leaving the business.

It is very important that businesses adapt to this next generation of data security if they want to keep up with the technology demands of our sector. Despite many financial firms adopting policies that prohibit cloud based file sharing or USB drives, many employees will still find a way to use them if doing so makes their life easier. Firms must accept and adapt to this challenge, and can own the situation by investing in solutions that do not inhibit employee productivity and that focus on controlling the data itself rather than the perimeters. Next generation data security acknowledges the need for workplace efficiency while still meeting the new regulatory requirements pertaining to data security and control.

Many products already exist to provide this ‘beyond the firewall’ protection including the latest version of Office365, Vera and others. My advise if you do not already have this in place is to speak to an experienced firm whom can advise on your digital and information rights management and corresponding categorisation like RFA.

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