A multi-level content security approach

By Jon Collins and David Perry

The last few years have seen a revolution in how organizations collaborate and communicate. While email has a long heritage, it has only more recently become acknowledged as a business-critical tool, to the extent that many companies would lose financially if it were unavailable for more than a few hours. Meanwhile, voice-enabled messaging tools such as Skype and Yahoo! have revolutionized interpersonal communications; things are not stopping there, as illustrated by the rapid adoption of social networking technologies such as blogs and wikis. As these capabilities continue to erode traditional, paper-based mechanisms, electronic content in the form of email messages, customer orders, service requests and other documents, is increasingly being integrated up and down the value chain, both internally and externally.

By embracing this brave new world of communications capabilities, and building applications that can take advantage of new ways of transmitting business related content, businesses can enjoy increased productivity and more efficient business processes through improved collaborative working environments, at the same time as strengthening supplier and customer relationships, and enhancing decision making through better access to information.

However, as more information is held and exchanged electronically, so organizations are subject to increased risk, for example from data leakage and malicious software such as computer viruses and spyware (malware). New, integrated approaches to security are required to protect both the content being transferred and the people and organizations concerned; also, organizations need to show how they are maintaining compliance when faced with the deliberate, ill-advised or unintentional behavior of their own staff.

This report focuses on content protection technologies, the role of which is to minimize such risks through the monitoring and management of both inbound and outbound content. A successful defense will depend on the ability of the enterprise to centrally deploy and manage content protection across the business environment, from the end points, at the gateway and indeed, inside the Internet cloud.

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