Vontu upgrade catches data leaks at end points

New version tracks copying to USB drives, iPods

Vontu on Monday announced a new version of its data leak protection suite, which now protects sensitive information from being copied onto removable media without permission.

Vontu 7.0 uses the same content-analysis capabilities that protect data traversing or stored on the network to block the unauthorized copying of sensitive information on to USB drives or other removable media, says Steve Roop, vice president of products and marketing with Vontu.

"Anyone could download a billion consumer identities onto a single 80GB iPod," Roop says. "It's very easy for this data to walk out the door."

While other products designed to protect copying of sensitive data at the end points tend to implement universal policies -- such as preventing all users in accounting from copying files to removable media -- Vontu 7.0 examines the content being copied and, if deemed sensitive, sends up alerts. Such an approach gives an organization more flexibility regarding its removable media policy, but still keeps sensitive information inside the company, Roop says.

"This requires a solution that is very content-aware and knows the difference between a payroll master file and key source code and a customer list; it has to be able to enforce the proper policies based on how sensitive those data types are to the organization," Roop says.

Another new feature in Vontu 7.0 is the ability to scan additional databases to search for confidential data that should not be stored in those repositories, Roop says. Often when an employee leaves a company, the IT department copies the files from that employee's PC onto a network drive where they often sit for years, he says. Vontu 6.0 scanned Windows and Unix file shares looking for such data; with Vontu 7.0 the company has added the ability to scan Lotus Notes and SQL databases as well.

Also in Vontu 7.0 the company has added Asian languages to those it can scan and analyze, Roop says, bringing the total number of languages that the suite works with up to 32. It also includes an incident correlation feature that lets administrators track employee patterns of data usage to look for trends, such as repeated downloading of files to a USB drive.

Corporate spending on data-leak prevention products is on the rise, according to a recent survey by Merrill Lynch. A study of 50 CISOs in North America showed that 40 percent of the respondents had increased their budgets for data-loss prevention products in 2006.

The Vontu 7.0 suite includes Network Monitor and Network Prevent components for data in motion, Discover and Protect for data at rest, and Endpoint Monitor for data at the endpoint. Pricing starts at US$25,000, dependent upon the number of users and products purchased. Vontu 7.0 is slated for release at the end of March.

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