Missing data: An opportunity for Enterprise DRM?
The recent spate of missing computer discs containing personal details of very many individuals, (first by the HMRC and, more recently, by the DVLA), has crystallised the need for better protection schemes around personal data. This could be a golden opportunity for Enterprise DRM solutions, but how…?
The story so far: Last month saw wide coverage of the fact that two HMRC computer discs, containing some 25 Million user details had been lost in the post; and this month, according to BBC News article, the DVLA also admitted the loss of computer discs, with over 6000 driver details, sent via postal courier services. The common theme seems to be around the transportation of computer records on physical media. In this day and age you might wonder why the data was not simply transferred over some sort of secure network, but that would be too easy. In any case, regardless of transportation method or format, the protection scheme used for such valuable personal information should be both effective and comprehensive enough to prevent unauthorised access / use of protected information. This is where Enterprise DRM solutions could excel for the following reasons:
- Enterprise DRM provides persistent protection for content both within, and outside, traditional corporate security boundaries (i.e. even on missing computer discs)
- It prevents unauthorised access to protected data, and can make it extremely difficult to use or manipulate content without proper authorisation based on positive user identification
- It also has facilities to track and stop further access to, and use of, protected content even ‘in the wild’ so to speak.
Essentially, a properly implemented Enterprise DRM solution would play a significant role in mitigating the risk around misuse of protected data in any future scenarios involving missing discs. However, it can be argued that one obvious weakness would be the complicity of an authorised user in accessing the data, but even that can be easily traced with the built-in forensic capabilities found in some of these solutions. In conclusion therefore, I suspect that these two incidents will help bring home the message that the future of DRM does not lie solely in consumer oriented content or media industries, but that it may also be used to enhance existing security for sensitive content in the enterprise space as well. What do you think?