Thursday, May 28, 2009

Data Management

I once was told that 80% of a companies data is out of their control. Laptops, USB drives and such make it near impossible to control data. I wish I had the report they referenced, it was a pretty powerful statement. However, I was reminded of this report today in a San Francisco parking garage as I watched someone hand their keys to the parking attendant. As he did, I thought about what might be on that USB key and whether one of the attendants would get curious and plug it into their computer. What would they find? Financial reports? Powerpoint slides? Pictures of the wife and kids?

As I look at my own company I think about everything I have on my laptop and USB drives. I have backups, but if my laptop were stolen there is a lot of data that the thief would now find themselves with. Now, I don't have especially exciting data. Aside from my MP3 collection, the laptop thief would be rather disappointed with what's on my laptop.

However, I think about a lot of my clients. My clients come from a wide range of industries:
  • Healthcare
  • Biotechnology
  • Finance / Banking
  • Manufacturing
What about their data? How secure is it? I know these and many industries are highly regulated, but regulations do not mean security. Email is probably the most common communication tool used in business today. It's used to share ideas, files, and confidential material. All of this can be stored on a user's laptop.

So how do we secure this? One emerging solution is Virtual Desktops.... As the month of June goes on, I'll have to find ways to make my data available to me without needing to have the data with me.

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