i’m quite good at finding things. it’s a knack that i often refer to as a “survival instinct” mainly because it’s helped me to survive the impossible rapidity with which my darling wife is able to loose something. a set of car keys picked up mere moments ago can become lost forever in the mist of time. stalking the missing keys like a tracker, retracing steps half-remembered, and deducing potential steps from there, i can usually locate the mislaid item which is invariably lying discarded on the floor somewhere.
as forgetful, distracted humans we often find ourselves realizing we’ve lost something. but what about those things you loose but don’t realize you’ve lost? before we descend into an overly reflective view on that topic, let me drive at a more secular example: data loss.
today it was again reported that another company mislaid customer information and had paid a heavy price for it. the hope is that other companies learn from the steady stream of such mistakes and avoid similar penalties. but what puts this particular case into a whole new category is that the loss of data went unknown and undetected for a year. this is the hidden menace of data loss. it can be bad enough to mislay critical or sensitive customer data, but it can actually be very hard to detect that you’ve done it. that time lag increases the embarrassment and also widens the window of opportunity for bad things to happen.
like the car keys, things rarely go wrong when the keys are in one place – hanging on the hook, or resting in the car’s ignition. it’s when those keys are moving around, especially being exchanged from one driver to the next, or (in my darling wife’s case) from one handbag to the next, that things go wrong. the same is true of data. while there is ample need to protect and defend data resting in a database or file system, the data loss examples i’ve seen that have caused the biggest problems usually occurred while the data was in transit, such as the routine transfer to a remote backup system, as was reported in today’s story.
managed file transfer is designed to address both sides of this issue – first the actual leakage of data, by leveraging secure channels for transfer such as SSL, and encryption/authentication at either end. second – the ability to track what has been moved, and where it’s gone to, making it easy to know when something has gone somewhere it shouldn’t.
we’re busy readying a future update of our managed file transfer solution and working with clients around the globe on helping them reduce the chance of becoming the next headline. helping to make these stories a thing of the past is the mission we’re driving. and for our clients it’s more than a matter of avoiding fines and headlines – it’s a “survival instinct”. because winning your customers’ trust is hard to do and as easy to loose as a bunch of keys.