Of course all your sensitive information is safe on your PC! Where else would it be? It is still all there where you can see it. But how would you know if a copy has actually left your building? No sensible business would consider putting it's IT on the road today without the proper protection: Firewall, Anti-Virus, and all the rest that we need to keep safe, the quiet revolution that has brought about the 'iPod Generation' also brings with it a threat that we ignore at our peril, opening the floodgates for a deluge of information leaks and security threats that simply cant be ignored. A data-highway that is faster than the Internet and completely unprotected.
It's not just iPods either. Flash memory devices have increasingly massive capacity up to 4GigaBytes or more and come in all shapes and sizes from an SD card the size of a postage stamp through to wrist watches, MP3 players, pendrives and even mobile phones, Including the 8 GB model. They're hard to spot with the naked eye, virtually impossible to exclude and inexpensive they can be found at under £20 with a capacity of a Gigabyte.
CASE IN POINT: UK Hospital -Bolting the door after the horse...
With a long history consulting in IT and security for the NHS I was unexpectedly approached (having been inactive with the NHS for some time) by a major Hospital Trust who - for reason which will become readily apparent - prefer not to be identified. They wanted to review and tighten security in the light of recent events and had heard that I was working in the area of what has become known as 'endpoint security'. The NHS, as the biggest employer in Europe, is not immune from the problems which can affect any organisation when staff misbehaves. Needless to say they have custody of a lot of very sensitive data about patients. Their network of over 1,000 PCs is now protected, and the staff are aware that all data transfers to and from each PC is monitored and recorded.
With the tools now at our disposal its simple and cost effective to prevent this sort of routine abuse its almost criminal not to!
Barry James, the UKs leading expert in the emerging field of mobile applications and endpoint security, Barry can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org