10 Essential Steps to Security for Businesses - part 3

Part 3 of our best practice Top 10 Tips - ensuring both internal and external company information remains secure.

Read on for Top Tips numbers 5 & 6… missed TopTips 3 & 4?

Top Tip 5: Break open ‘container’ files

Inbound: An innocent-looking spreadsheet could carry an embedded virus. A presentation could deliver a spyware payload. A word document could become the infection vector through embedded active content. A zip file could conceal any number of files that might infect your organization’s network.

Outbound: A Word document could include an embedded spreadsheet containing sensitive financial data. Hidden metadata in a document could contain all the revision history and comments since the creation of the file. An apparently innocuous presentation could be a confidential company briefing. In an absent-minded moment an employee may have placed sensitive customer records information in a zip file instead of the intended fact-sheet.

Clearly, your web and email security must be able to decompose container files like these in order to scan for deeply embedded content. Hidden information in documents should be transparently removed (according to policy) to prevent data leakage. Superficial scanning and basic policies may have worked five years ago. Not any more.

Clearswift SECURE Email and Web Gateways uses deep, recursive analysis to break down all container files into their constituent parts. It then analyses and applies policy to each one independently. It might range from blocking the flow, redacting sensitive information or cleaning information with revision history or comments transparently where necessary.

Top Tip 6: Watch your uploads

Companies that defend against hazardous web downloads are often vulnerable to threats travelling in the reverse direction.

Scanning outbound email attachments isn’t sufficient. Facebook, Twitter and any other number of social-networking sites present numerous ways for sensitive information and files to leak out, simple by being uploaded. The extensive use of Dropbox and similar applications has caused documents to be inappropriately shared as they contain sensitive information. Furthermore, it might be that the access to the destination site is not under your control, and so people who are not associated with the company or project end up with access to your business critical information.

Uploaded material has led to countless prosecutions and embarrassments. Make sure your defenses are two-way.

Clearswift SECURE Web Gateway performs detection of common business terms, such as payment card industry (PCI) phrases and number patterns, personally identifiable information (PII) and compliance terms. Detection is fully customizable and is supported by automatically updated managed lists and editable compliance dictionaries, including the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA), Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), Securities and Equities Commission (SEC) and the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX). Customised policies can be easily created to watch for and protect critical information such as Intellectual Property.

Talk to us about simplifying your information security without compromise or contact us for an introduction to our adaptive cyber solutions.