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Metalogix 2016 Predictions: Prevention of Costly Data Breaches in the Cloud and On-Premises Takes Center Stage in 2016

Virtualization and Cloud executives share their predictions for 2016.  Read them in this 8th Annual VMblog.com series exclusive.

Contributed by Jai Dargan, Product Manager, Security and Compliance Solutions, Metalogix

Prevention of Costly Data Breaches in the Cloud and On-Premises Takes Center Stage in 2016

Over the past few years, as the number of data breaches has continued to rise, securing corporate data has become one of the top concerns for CIOs, CSOs, and their IT organizations. The Experian 2015 Second Annual Data Breach Industry Forecast revealed that almost 50 percent of organizations have experienced a security incident in the last year, and nearly three-quarters have developed a data breach response plan - reflecting an awareness of its likelihood.

Yet traditionally, the primary focus has been on safeguarding the perimeter against outside threats. Many companies have systems in place-such as encryption, or preventing the download of data onto mobile devices or moved via e-mail-that attempts to deal with outside hackers and/or lost or stolen mobile devices. Less attention, however, has been given to addressing and combating the vulnerabilities that fester within the organization itself.

This is a big mistake, as recent events have proven. Indirect data breaches-such as those at Target and Home Depot in 2014 resulting from a compromise of third-party vendors-as well as more malicious situations such as with the Edward Snowden and Bradley Manning cases, show that insider leaks are among the most challenging threats to any organization's data security, not to mention seriously damaging. While the malicious attacks may happen less often, the damage is oftentimes greater. Contrary to popular belief, the perpetrators of such breaches aren't always insiders themselves, but may be "external" sources who have found a way to gain access to sensitive information via compromised credentials and/or malware.  And, while some traditional protection methods are still valid (i.e., good email practices), there needs to be a better balance struck between the perimeter and interior guard. 

While most organizations' security situations won't rise to the level of a Snowden or Manning breach, any company that stores business and/or personal data in 2016 must make security a greater concern than ever before, if they want to avoid finding themselves on the front page as the latest victim of a data breach. The problem will likely get worse before it gets better, with data breaches now costing U.S companies over $100 billion a year, according to McAfee.

According to Infosec Europe, while 67 percent of IT professionals feel worried about insider threats, most of current security spending doesn't address these risks. Clearly to date, many organizations have recognized the risk of a significant breach and are investing to prevent such a breach, but appear to be spending in all the wrong places.  Consequently, they have remained vulnerable to the ever increasing threats. This will begin to change into 2016, as more and more organizations begin to recognize that while protecting their data has been a top priority, the methods by which they have been attacking the problems have been ineffective.  Forward looking IT professionals will not only see this, but begin to proactively seek more advanced methodologies and technologies that will enable them to meet their goals.

According to AIIM.org, almost 60 percent of companies now use SharePoint as a central content collaboration platform - a platform which is known to suffer from weaknesses in known methodologies and technologies to protect itself and its content. Regardless, as SharePoint is such a powerful platform, corporations are using it to store proprietary, confidential and/or personal information, leaving highly sensitive data exposed and at risk. For companies using this platform, there is no greater need than to secure SharePoint from the possibility of data breach and provide the proactive intelligence and insight required to protect this critical content repository.

That's why 2016 is positioned to be a year in which we not only see continued and heighted awareness around the need for security intelligence, but a year in which higher-level solutions to address these challenges are more fully embraced. In other words, 2015 was the year in which awareness of the challenges and threats hit a critical point, while 2016 is a year in which business organizations take the action necessary to prevent them - especially across more prevalently deployed platforms, such as SharePoint. 

One new solution for protecting critical business data is Metalogix's ControlPoint 7.0, which features technology that uses real-time machine learning to analyze, detect and report on suspicious patterns of activity in SharePoint, while simultaneously preventing unauthorized access to content. This advanced technology monitors SharePoint continually and alerts on suspicious behavior, tracking behavior anomalies and unauthorized access based on such factors as geo-location to protect against both internal and external threats. By providing insight into the content users are accessing-including where, when and how often-the software fills a gap in the existing SharePoint security model.

No matter which solution you use, your goal for 2016 should be to not only change the game in your approach to SharePoint, Office 365 and other cloud collaboration platforms security, but to win it. The only way to do this effectively is by choosing a technology that automates and provides the level of insight and intelligence necessary to identify and lock-down suspicious user activity and unauthorized access to sensitive content, minimizing if not eliminating the risk of data leakage and tampering.

So... What are you waiting for?

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About the Author

Jai Dargan guides the direction of Metalogix products aimed at securing content collaboration, including ControlPoint, Sensitive Content Manager, and Insider Threat Index. Prior to Metalogix, Jai was a co-founder at Pim Labs, LLC, a startup company (acquired by Metalogix) that built solutions for securing social networks and sensitive content. He holds a Masters Degree from Georgetown University and an undergraduate degree from New York University. You can follow his musings @jai_dargan.

Published Friday, November 13, 2015 9:00 AM by David Marshall
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