Accidents Happen: Protecting Devices and Data from Human Error

As critical as IT security awareness is to protecting sensitive information, we’re all human, and we make mistakes. Even the best educated, trained and tech savvy among us can accidentally leave a smartphone in a cab or fall for a “spear phishing” attack that looks like a legitimate email from a colleague. It’s no wonder that humans are the number one security threat to any organization with 70% of all data breaches attributed to human elements.  

As we observe this 11th annual National Cyber Security Awareness Month, we know that awareness and caution are not enough. Gone are the days when people used a single work PC tethered to a single location. Today, employees routinely work from home on a personal machine, use smartphones and tablets, and access cloud-based services. And they use USB drives and other portable media for convenience and mobility.  Also gone are the days when IT could lock-down an organization’s network, preventing users from accessing personal email or social network sites, and keep sensitive information confined inside the corporate firewall. Productivity and competitiveness today rely upon the free movement of data to the right people, at the right time and in the right place, wherever that may be.

Keeping that data secure demands multi-layered endpoint security that protects against inevitable human errors while maintaining maximum user mobility and productivity. Such solutions need to block viruses and malware when a user inadvertently clicks on a malicious link and must encrypt data residing on PCs, laptops, handheld devices and removable media that can be lost or stolen.

Even with robust security awareness education and training, no organization is risk-free. And often it’s a mixture of human error and bad luck. That’s what happened at one company after an employee’s car was stolen. That was the bad luck. The human error was that in that car were several USB drives containing customer data, including social security numbers.

Strong endpoint solutions provide the highest level of protection against today’s threats and support the evolving work paradigm. They need to both address inadvertent loss and theft, as well as defend against highly effective zero-day or targeted attacks. Savvy organizations deploy in-depth defense through multiple solutions that complement one another. To protect data, strong 256-bit encryption is required, with each file encrypted independently and with its own unique key.  Addressing new cyber-attacks requires creating a “container” for untrusted data with DARPA developed behavioral-based analysis to thwart attacks before they can infect systems. 

And the security can’t inhibit end users from doing what they need to do. Creating blacklists or putting up walls around information access is an invitation for users to find a way around the restrictions. Ultimately, we want end users to be productive and able to do their job as quickly as possible, because that’s the bottom line. But we need to do so in a way that keeps the business safe. Finding that balance is the key.

Dell Data Protection | Encryption (DDP | E) offers a simple and flexible way to safeguard endpoint data wherever it resides — on devices, external media and in public cloud storage. It implements encryption options ranging from Microsoft BitLocker management to hardware encryption delivering the only commercially available client to receive FIPS140-2 level 3 certification.  And it works with other Dell security solutions, including Dell Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) and Dell SonicWALL Secure Mobile Access—which will soon be able to enforce policies for moving data to the cloud.

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Dell Data Protection | Protected Workspace (DDP | PW) takes a proactive approach to malware prevention by placing internet connected applications in a virtual container so that malware is prevented from accessing the user’s data or operating system.  As a result, the system can recover back to a pristine, non-infected state in less than 20 seconds even when addressing new or zero-day threats.

DDP | E, and DDP | PW provide the first line of defense to protect your data, employees and networks. You can take a deeper dive into our vision at For hands-on answers to your real-world data security challenges, join us at Dell World 2014, Nov. 4 – 6, in Austin, TX

About the Author: Brett Hansen

Brett Hansen is Vice President, Dell Unified Workspace. In this role, he is responsible for developing solutions that enable customers to simplify and streamline their client lifecycle, secure their endpoints, and ultimately provide users with a more productive and modernized workspace environment. With Dell Technologies uniquely positioned to deliver these solutions, Mr. Hansen harnesses capabilities from Dell Client, Dell Services, VMware and Secureworks to deliver integrated solutions spanning hardware, software and services. These technologies are optimized on Dell Client portfolio, but also embrace the multi-OS and device heterogenous environments of our customers, ultimately providing them with the choice, simplification, and productivity improvements they desire. Brett engages with customers, channel partners and product developers on a daily basis, leveraging his more than 15 years of experience leading business development and channel functions in the software industry. Brett joined Dell after 12 years with IBM Software Group. In his last position at IBM, he served as Director, IBM Tivoli Demand Systems Marketing where he held global responsibility for generating and managing the Tivoli pipeline.