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Protect data by deleting it: Ground Labs

Why are you keeping credit card numbers in e-mail anyway?

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Getting rid of unnecessary copies of private data will help companies comply with Australia's new privacy laws, says Ground Labs, which is pitching a data discovery tool to lend a hand.

Speaking to The Register ahead of the launch, Ground Labs' Stephen Cavey said the problem is that there's always going to be some kind of attack vector available for exploit.

If you assume that there'll be a path an attacker can take into the network, he said, then it becomes imperative to make it hard for attackers to find documents once they're inside.

That's not, however, how it usually plays out in reality: Ground Labs' experience, which in the first instance came from looking for stray copies of credit card data on business networks, is that copies of sensitive information get e-mailed between staff members, included in documents and database extracts, and so on.

“Most people don't know what they're storing or where they're storing it,” Cavey told Vulture South. “Companies start by thinking 'I know what we're storing', but they're wrong.”

“So you have to make the data hard to find – you have to get rid of [copies] wherever you can. Make it so there's nothing to steal.”

The other point Ground Labs makes is that most businesses don't have access to the kinds of solutions that might help enterprise-scale IT departments get their stray data under control. For example, he said, a high end DLP (data loss prevention) product is expensive, and needs an IT department just to cope with the amount of noise it generates.

The Ground Labs Data Recon data discovery tool searches across hundreds of file types, the company says, including database servers and scanned images to identify where personally-identifiable information is being stored (and helping companies work out which copies can be deleted).

Data Recon “gives companies a full audit of any PII and other sensitive information held within their corporate systems, enabling them to permanently delete, quarantine or mask certain data types that are at-risk so that it can no longer be stolen in the event of a security breach”, the company says.

It starts at a single-server license for $199, which Cavey says should make it accessible down to the SMB.

Possibly sensitive record types Data Recon can identify include medicare and health insurance IDs, tax file numbers, bank account details, name, home address, phone numbers, dates of birth and passport numbers. ®

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