Secure Islands: Protecting Corporate Data As Soon As It's Created
Secure Islands, a privately held Israeli computer security company, opened its US HQ earlier this year in New York City. The company is confident in repeating the success it has enjoyed in Europe, here in US enterprise security markets, with its approach to data protection.
Its technology automatically classifies and if required, encrypts sensitive data upon creation, as opposed to when it leaves the organization, which is traditionally how encryption has been managed.
This process, which it calls "Data Immunization," enables organizations to set classification polices which are automatically applied when a file or email is created. If encryption is required, the protection stays with the data wherever it ends up. This way, if it is stolen, no one can read the data except the intended readers.
I recently spoke with Aki Eldar, co-founder and CEO of Secure Islands. Here are some of my notes:
- Secure Islands was founded about eight years ago by two brothers. One had skills in sales and marketing in enterprise IT markets, and the other was a software developer.
- The brothers realized that you can't win against cyber criminals because they always have a head start. Breaking into a computer network, or having sensitive files leaked from inside, will continue to happen no matter how good an organization's perimeter security is. But, if those files are encrypted and can only be opened by specific people, it no longer matters if the data was lost or stolen, as it will be useless to anyone but its intended recipients.
- Secure Islands product, called the IQProtector Suite, is a real-time monitoring technology that will detect [it classifies the content and checks if a security policy applies] data that's sensitive -- as it is being created. It will then encrypt the files and assign user access rights, if a policy applies. It also has a services arm where it can help its customers create data security policies appropriate for their business.
-Secure Islands also has an audit function and once data is tagged, it can track all of the unstructured data of the organization.
- Unstructured data is a big problem for organizations because as it moves around an organization and onto a variety of mobile devices, and beyond -- there's a loss of control over sensitive company information.
- Had Sony used Secure Islands products, it could have prevented the embarrassing emails from executives at Sony Pictures from being leaked with a single policy: "Encrypt all of executive management's emails."
- Secure Islands says a big part of its success is that it works transparently across platforms and apps, and does not disrupt existing uses.
-It's important to encrypt the data files at the point of creation, before it gets changed or "tainted."
- The technology works with Microsoft's Active Directory for ID management and it uses Microsoft's encryption engine, which is the standard in European financial industry.
-The protection is persistent as the data is managed over its life cycle.
- I asked about the need for regulators, lawyers and auditors to be able to access archival business data for a variety of reasons. The company said that because its protection is policy driven, there is no problem complying with all legal and fiduciary data access requirements.
- Its technology can understand the content and context of the data and index the information. It's too costly to encrypt everything created by an organization, and also unnecessary.
- Secure Islands received an investment of unspecified amount, last year from Credit Suisse, one of its first customers. That investment is helping to fund the company's US HQ and marketing push.