Guest blogger: Derek Brink, Aberdeen Group

Data loss prevention (DLP) solutions are designed...well, to prevent the loss of enterprise data. Said a bit more formally: by “loss,” we mean the confirmed disclosure of an organization’s data assets to an unauthorized party—i.e., a data breach. Said still another way, DLP solutions are designed to reduce the risk of a data breach.

This begs an obvious question, which unfortunately doesn’t often get a crisp response: just what is the risk of a data breach? To answer this question in a way that’s useful to an organization’s senior leadership team, security professionals and solution providers have to consider both the likelihood that a data breach may happen in a specified period of time, as well as the resulting business impact if it actually does occur. That’s just the proper definition of risk.

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Guest blogger: Derek Brink, Aberdeen Group

It’s hard to believe, but security professionals and solution providers have been talking about the need to protect cardholder data (i.e., payment card account numbers, cardholder names, expiration dates, and security-related information used to authenticate cardholders or authorize transactions)—wherever that data is stored, processed, and transmitted—since the 1990s.

Starting with the independently developed data protection initiatives of the major card brands (i.e., Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Discover, JCB), the industry standards and best practices for this nearly universal issue have continued to mature and evolve. From the version 1.0 release of the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) in December 2004, to the now-current version 3.2.1 release in May 2018, one would think that everyone would have this problem fully solved by now, right?

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In the 15 years since its introduction, the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) has redefined data protection for banks, merchants, and every other organization that handles credit card data. Companies around the world design their networks, build their applications, and assign user permissions with PCI requirements in mind.

One data security risk, however, often goes unaddressed, even by organizations that take an aggressive approach to PCI compliance: credit card numbers in unstructured data.

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What's the best way to protect sensitive data?

The answer, of course, is "it depends." Organizations have too many different types of sensitive information, and too many ways to store and share it, to allow for a one-size-fits-all approach. Each of the common methods of protecting data—encryption, tokenization, masking, and redaction—might be the right solution for a given use case.

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Every year, we look forward to the RSA Conference, the cybersecurity industry’s biggest event. No other conference lets us meet as many security professionals, or get as many different viewpoints on what’s happening in security and where the industry is heading.

Here’s a summary of the top storylines we heard as we talked with customers, industry analysts, and other folks in the security world this year.

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PKWARE is proud to announce that CRN, a brand of The Channel Company, has once again named Rick Hofmann, Vice President of Worldwide Channel Sales, to its prestigious list of Channel Chiefs. The top IT channel leaders included on this list continually strive to drive growth and revenue in their organization through their channel partners.

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Not that anyone needed another reminder, but a financial services vendor has provided an illustration of the fact that sensitive data should never be left unencrypted.

As first reported by TechCrunch and security researcher Bob Diachenko, millions of records containing Social Security numbers, tax information, credit scores, and other mortgage data were discovered, unencrypted, on a publicly-available server in early January. The company directly responsible for the breach has already taken its website offline and stopped responding to questions, but the repercussions may only be beginning.

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From the moment Europe's leaders began discussing the law that would eventually become the GDPR, it seemed almost inevitable that the United States would some day pass a national cybersecurity law of its own. After all, as the center of the world economy, America presents the largest attack surface for anyone looking to steal consumer data, trade secrets, or other sensitive information.

America's GDPR may still be years in the future, but the country appears to be taking another step in that direction. Recent comments from Senator Mark Warner and other high-profile politicians, in the wake of the recently-uncovered breaches at Marriott and the National Republican Congressional Committee, suggest that there may be growing support in D.C. for a national solution.

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