Information Security: Compliance alone is ‘not enough’ for businesses

Recent high-profile incidents like the iCloud celebrity photo breach will encourage companies to go further above and beyond regulatory requirements when it comes to information security, according to an encryption expert.

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Alan Kessler, president and CEO at data security firm Vormetric, says that as the issues surrounding data storage and privacy are discussed in the mainstream media, they’ll also feature more prominently in conversations between business leaders.

“One of the trends that we’re seeing that makes it quite exciting – not just for us, but of course for the industry as well – is that we’re seeing quite a few high-profile data security breaches and security, data protection and privacy are increasingly at the front and centre of important conversations at board level,” he says.

This is prompting companies to move beyond what the law requires them to do, he says. Firms are realising that it’s impossible to have perfect protection, and measures need to be taken in case criminals get inside and gain access to networks and data.

When Business Technology spoke to the Global Identity Foundation’s CEO Paul Simmonds, he suggested that one way to keep data more secure is to allow users to keep their own encryption keys, so if their solution provider is breached their data isn’t automatically compromised. Kessler says this is something Vormetric is paying attention to.

“It’s quite an area of interest,” says Kessler. “Our solution allows customers to actually control the key, so the service provider can manage the data but never see the data.

“In some cases customers are concerned about a state government coming to seek information from cloud service providers, wanting to see data held by their customers.

“With this type of approach where the individual user – the owner of the data – holds the key, the cloud service provider can give the data over to a government entity but the information will be cypher text – it will not be in clear text.”

That said, no number of security measures can make it absolutely impossible for what Kessler terms ‘adversaries’ – criminal, governmental or otherwise – to gain access to data. He argues that even those complying with regulations should be doing more.

“There’s no way to be able to share with your board, your shareholders, or your customers that there is zero chance of a security breach,” Kessler says. “The question is, for many organisations, are they doing enough? Are they doing what’s credible?

“If you just do what the compliance and regulators tell you, it’s not enough. Just about everyone who’s been breached has met the compliance requirements. There’s more to be done.”

How can you protect your business against cyber attacks? Click here to find out more about The European Information Security Summit 2015.

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