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'Boil the ocean' data loss prevention needs to change

Check Point slams security so complex you never get around to turning it on

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Check Point is pushing its vision of consolidating disparate security products, managed from a single dashboard and centred on enterprise firewalls.

Consolidating security offers better control, Gil Shwed, Check Point's chief exec, told delegates to the security vendors' annual conference in Barcelona on Wednesday. Check Point's 3D security approach brings together three strains – policy, people and enforcement – on technologies such as anti-malware and data loss prevention delivered through software modules on firewall appliances and endpoints, such as laptops or mobile devices.

The Israeli-based security firm is touting its R75 next-gen Firewall and Check Point Unified Security Manager as the best tools for the job of consolidation without making any specific announcements about improvements to the technology, instead promoting the idea that sysadmins can enjoy better security at lower costs by culling point products in corporate environments.

The approach can allow large enterprises to reduce the number of security vendors they have in their environment from 15-20 to a more manageable 3-5, according to Shwed, who said the strategy offered "better security at lower cost".

"It's not enough to pile up different technologies like weapons," Shwed said. "Security should become a business process."

In addition, complexity can also be reduced by applying "simple, usable and meaningful" rules for technologies such as data loss prevention.

John Vecchi, head of global product marketing at Check Point, and a former senior exec as McAfee and Symantec, described the data loss prevention (DLP) market as the "most disappointing" segment of the security market and not just because it has failed to achieve widespread adoption.

"DLP has been on the market for years but very few firms have deployed and utilised the technology," Vecchi said.

Often even large enterprise early adopters have failed to apply the technology because of what Vecchi described as a "boil the ocean" approach to deployment that some technologies require.

"Some of these technologies are sophisticated and impressive but it can take 12 months to discover and a further 12 months to classify data. That leaves you with an implementation time of 24 months so that many firms who have bought the technology have not turned it on," Vecchi said.

This needs to change so that the technology can be up and running in hours rather than months, according to Vecchi, who added even small business (such as dentists) need data loss prevention technology to guard against the accidental emailing of confidential data or the deliberate extraction of commercial information.

The problem of buying but actually applying security technologies has cropped up before in the world of information security, most notably with intrusion prevention technology. "Many firms still run IPS in passive mode," Vecchi said. "It's a mature market – please turn it on."

Vecchi underlined Schwed's central message that security unification needs to happen in order to give sysadmins any hope of managing threats.

"The number one challenge is managing the madness of complexity, not dealing with threats," Vecchi concluded. ®

Mobile application security vulnerability report

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