Endpoint data leak prevention remains a major problem for IT managers

The study – from data leak security specialist DeviceLock – found that more than one in three (38%) respondents are still failing to deploy any form of data leak prevention (DLP), whether that be device control, endpoint DLP or DLP appliances.

And, say researchers, amongst small to medium sized business this figure increases to more than half of organisations (54%).

The survey also revealed that even those managers that are deploying technology solutions to prevent data leakage from within their organisations, the majority are failing to protect all the possible channels where data leakage can occur.

According to DeviceLock, despite the rapidly growing use of personal smartphones and PDAs within business environments, less than half (48%) of all respondents who had deployed a DLP system reported that they controlled the data synchronisations between employees' computers and their smartphones.

On top of this, researchers found that just 26% of respondents using DLP technology are able to control the content of documents printed from corporate computers.

DeviceLock says that this is despite the fact that a recent study published by the Ponemon Institute concluded that the document printing channel was found to be the most often used for stealing corporate data.

Delving into the report reveals the interesting statistic that 77% of respondents acknowledged that they monitor employees' web mail and social networking applications such as Facebook and Twitter to prevent data leakage, regardless of whether corporate or private accounts are used.

Only 8% of respondents said they believed that privacy concerns are an obstacle to enforcing such controls, suggesting that concerns about security breaches override those of privacy.

DeviceLock reports that the overwhelming majority of respondents (75%) said that DLP systems should support out-of-the-box components for full-text searching in their audit and shadow log database.

The reason for this, the data security vendor says, is clearly that full-text search capability reduces the labour and time expenses for security compliance auditing, incident investigations and forensic analysis for IT departments.

Sacha Chahrvin, DeviceLock's UK managing director, said that the fact that many organisations are still failing to adequately address data leakage prevention is concerning.

"However, the increasing integration of endpoint content filtering and device control technologies, as well as the growing popularity of complete content-aware endpoint DLP solutions should help to address this", he said.

"IT departments are becoming acutely aware of the need to keep costs arising from highly resource intensive processes – such as security compliance auditing, incident investigations, and forensic analysis to a minimum", he added

Chahrvin went on to say that affordability and ease-of-use clearly remain significant barriers of entry for those responsible for protecting organisations' data – especially amongst small to medium sized businesses.

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