Data Leakage Prevention – Protecting Sensitive Information

When DuPont lost $400 million in intellectual property, it wasn’t because a hacker from the other side of the world infiltrated their system. The information was simply stolen by a former employee. Alarmingly, data loss incidents are not always caused by deliberate actions.

A file containing personal information accidentally attached to an email and sent to multiple recipients; financial data stored in a USB pen drive, accidentally left in a restaurant; or bank account data of colleagues, inadvertently posted on a company website – these are also some of the everyday causes of data loss.

A report done by research company Infowatch regarding global data leaks in 2010 showed that there were actually more accidental data leaks in that year compared to intentional ones. Accidental leaks comprised 53%, while intentional leaks comprised 42% (the rest were unidentified).

But even if they ?only? happened accidentally, breach incidents like these can still be very costly. The tens of thousands of dollars that you could sometimes end up paying in civil penalties (as in the case when you lose other people?s personal information) can just be the beginning. More costly than this is the loss of customer and investor confidence. Once you lose those, you could consequently lose a considerable portion of your business.

Confidential information that may already be leaking out right under your nose

With all the data you collect, process, exchange, and store electronically every day, your IT system has surely now become a storehouse of sensitive information. Some of them, you may be even taking for granted.

But imagine what would happen if any of the following trade secrets fell into the wrong hands: marketing plans, confidential customer information, pricing data, product development strategies, business plans, supplier information, source codes, and employee salaries.

These are not the only kind of data that you should be worried about. You could also get into trouble if your sloppy IT security fails to protect employee or client personal information such as their names; social security numbers; drivers license numbers; or bank account numbers and credit/debit card numbers along with their corresponding PINs.

In some countries, you could face onerous data breach notification requirements and heavy fines when these kind of data are involved.

There are now more holes to plug

It’s not just the different varieties of sensitive electronic information that you have to worry about. Because these data can take on different forms, i.e. data-at-rest, data-in-motion, and data-at-the-endpoints, you also need to take aim at different areas in your IT system.

Sensitive information can be found ?at rest? in each of your employees? hard disks, in your servers, storage disks, and in off-site backup disks. They can also be found ?in motion? in email, instant messaging, social networking messaging, P2P file sharing, ftp, http, and so on.

That’s not all. Your highly mobile workforce may have already introduced yet another high-risk area into your system: data-at-the-endpoints. This includes USB flash-disks, laptops, portable hard disks, CDs, and even smartphones.

The main challenge of data leak prevention

Having been made aware of the various aspects of data leakage, have you already come to grips with the extent of the task at hand?

There are two major things you need to do here to prevent data leakage.

One, you need to identify what data you have that can be considered as sensitive/confidential information. Of course you have financial information and employee salaries in your files. But do you also store personally identifiable information? Do you have trade secrets that are stored in electronic form?

Two, you need to pinpoint their locations. Are they only on your hard disks and laptops? Or have they made their way to flash drives, CDs/DVDs, or portable HDDs? Are they being transmitted through email or any other file transfer media?

The reason why you need to know what your sensitive data are as well as where they are is because you would like all efforts of securing them to be as efficient and unobtrusive as possible.

Let’s say, as a way of protecting your data, you decide to implement encryption. Since encryption can consume a lot of storage space and significantly reduce performance, it may be impractical to encrypt your entire database or all your files. For the same reason, you wouldn’t want to encrypt every single email that you send.

Thus, the best way would be to encrypt only the data that really need encryption. But again, you need to know what data needs to be encrypted and where those data can be found. That alone is no simple task.

Not only will you need to deal with the data you already have, you will also have to worry about the data that will go through your systems during the course of your day-to-day transactions.

Identifying sensitive data as it enters or leaves your system, goes through your network, or gets stored in your file system or database, and then applying the necessary security actions should be done automatically and intelligently. Otherwise, you could end up spending on a lot of man-hours or, worse, wasting them on a lot of false positives and negatives.

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Benefits of Integrating IoT and Field Service

Owing to the complexity of its definition, many people loosely use the phrase Internet of Things (IoT) without having a solid grasp of its true meaning. A majority in this category take IoT to be nothing more than the automation of home gadgets, where the internet is used to interconnect computing components embedded in everyday devices.

Granted, the whole idea of IoT got its roots from the home setting. Nevertheless, IoT has outgrown that spectrum and has since penetrated into almost every area of business and industry. By employing IoT, you can literally take full control of everything in your business using a single device. From assigning tasks to monitoring security, managing bills to tracking time, IoT has revolutionized the way business is done.

Interestingly, not so long ago, most technology experts limited their forecasts to machine-to-machine (M2M) integration and Augmented Reality (AR), which also, admittedly, hit the technology industry with an admirable suave. Back then, it could have been laughable for anyone to have suggested that IoT would be so commanding in almost every industry, including real estate, medicine, automobile, and more.

It’s not for nothing, therefore, that the field service industry has also embraced IoT, integrating it in the daily running of business activities, including tracking machine diagnostics, detecting breakdowns, and assigning field engineers to attend to customer needs.

How the Field Service Industry is Benefiting from IoT

Machine uptime has remained an ongoing concern for many customers. In the traditional approach, whenever a machine breaks down, the customer alerts the service provider and then the field service manager checks to see if there is any field engineer available for a new task. Once an engineer has been identified, he?s then dispatched to the site. This worked, but it resulted in an extended machine downtime, a terrible experience for customers.

Thanks to IoT, things are now happening differently.

IoT is now integrating machines to a central communications centre, where all alerts and status updates are sent. The notifications are instant. The field service manager, therefore, gets to learn of the status of machines at the exact time of status change. An engineer who?s not engaged would then be immediately assigned to undertake any needed servicing or repair.

By employing IoT, the service provider receives timely reports relating to diagnostics, machine uptime, part failures, and more. The field manager can, as a result, foretell and forestall any possible downtime.

How has this been helpful?

Before giving a definite answer to that question, it’s crucial to note that more than half of all field service organizations now employ IoT in their Asset Management Systems and Field Service Management. And to answer the question, all the organizations that have the two systems integrated using IoT experience twice as much efficiency as those that don’t, states an Aberdeen Group report. As you already know, improved efficiency results in a corresponding upshot in customer satisfaction.

Apps Making a Difference in IoT-Field Service

The integration of IoT into almost every aspect of business prompted the design and development of different applications to link computing devices. Since the advent of IoT, the software development for the technology has come of age. Powerful and lightweight apps that don simple yet beautiful user interfaces are now readily available at affordable price tags.

A good example of such an App is ecoVaro by Denizon.

ecoVaro not only helps businesses to monitor energy and other relevant environmental data such as Electricity, Gas, Water, Oil, Carbon, Temperature, Humidity, Solar Power, and more, but also provides analytics and comprehensive yet easy to understand reports. The data received from devices such as meters is converted into useful information that’s then presented in figures and graphs, thus allowing you to make decisions based on laid down controls.

The focus of the app is to instantly alert service engineers to go on site to fix issues.

With ecoVaro, field service engineers no longer have to return to the office to get new instructions. Also, customers don’t have to manually fire alerts to the service provider whenever something isn’t working correctly. By employing the latest in IoT, ecoVaro sends notifications to field service managers and engineers about respective customers that need support.

How ecoVaro Helps

Best-in-class companies aren’t ready to compromise on customer satisfaction. Therefore, every available avenue is used to address customer concerns with the deserved agility. By using IoT, ecoVaro makes it possible for field service providers to foresee and foreclose any possible breakdowns.

The inter-connectivity among the devices and the central communications centre results in increased revenue and improved interactivity between the system and the field engineers. This results in greater efficiency and lower downtime, which translates into improved productivity, accountability, and customer satisfaction, as well as creating a platform for a possible expansion of your customer base.

ecoVaro isn’t just about failed machines and fixes. It also provides diagnostics about connected systems and devices. With this, the diagnostics centre receives system reports in a timely manner, allowing for ease of planning and despatch of field officers where necessary.

Clearly, but using the right application, IoT can transform your business into an excellently performing field service company.

What ISO 14001 Status did for Cummins Inc.

Cummins manufactures engines and power generation products, and has been a household name almost since inception in 1919. It sells its products in over 300 countries, through approximately 6,000 dealerships employing 40,000 people. Because its product line runs off fossil fuel it is under steady pressure to display a cleaner carbon footprint.

Cummins decided to go for the big one by qualifying for ISO 14001 certification. This is a subset of a family of standards relating to managing environmental impact while complying with all applicable legislation. In this sense, it is similar to the ISO 9000 quality management system, because it focuses on how products are produced (as opposed to how those products perform). Compliance with ISO 14001 was a doubly important goal, because it is part of the European Union?s Eco Management and Audit Scheme and fast becoming mandatory on suppliers to governments.

The qualification process follows the well-established principle of plan, do, check, act. It begins with gap analysis to detect materials and processes that affect the environment. This is followed by implementation of necessary changes affecting operations, documentation, emergency strategies and employee education. The third step involves measuring and monitoring performance. Finally, the project moves into a phase of ongoing maintenance, and continuous improvement as circumstances change.

In Cummins case, the project was almost worldwide and called for environmental, health and safety reporting throughout the organisation. The information was shared via a globally accessible document repository, and then processed centrally at the head office in Columbia, Indiana USA.

Measuring environmental performance almost inevitably has other benefits that make it doubly worthwhile. Speaking at the 2014 National Safety Council Congress after receiving the top award for excellence, Cummins chairman and ceo Tom Linebarger commented on a journey that was ?nothing short of amazing? yet wasn’t even a ?pathway to the finish line?.

?All of us feel like we have way more to do to make sure that our environment is as safe as it could be,? he added, ?so that our sustainability footprint is as good as it can be and that we continue to set more aggressive goals every year. That’s just how we think about it.? Linebarger concluded.

If you are taking your company on a journey to new heights of environmental excellence, then you should consider choosing ecoVaro as your travelling companion. We are environmental management specialists and have proprietary software geared to process your data. We also have a wealth of experience, and a treasure chest of roadmaps to help you achieve your goal.

Failure Mode and Effects Analysis

 

Any business in the manufacturing industry would know that anything can happen in the development stages of the product. And while you can certainly learn from each of these failures and improve the process the next time around, doing so would entail a lot of time and money.
A widely-used procedure in operations management utilised to identify and analyse potential reliability problems while still in the early stages of production is the Failure Mode and Effects Analysis (FMEA).

FMEAs help us focus on and understand the impact of possible process or product risks.

The FMEA method for quality is based largely on the traditional practice of achieving product reliability through comprehensive testing and using techniques such as probabilistic reliability modelling. To give us a better understanding of the process, let’s break it down to its two basic components ? the failure mode and the effects analysis.

Failure mode is defined as the means by which something may fail. It essentially answers the question “What could go wrong?” Failure modes are the potential flaws in a process or product that could have an impact on the end user – the customer.

Effects analysis, on the other hand, is the process by which the consequences of these failures are studied.

With the two aspects taken together, the FMEA can help:

  • Discover the possible risks that can come with a product or process;
  • Plan out courses of action to counter these risks, particularly, those with the highest potential impact; and
  • Monitor the action plan results, with emphasis on how risk was reduced.

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