Reconnex, maker of data monitoring appliances, today made some news for itself today (March 5, 2007) by announcing the findings of a survey that the company sponsored. Unsurprisingly, the survey showed that of the enterprises surveyed, 1/3 acknowledged the loss of sensitive data in the last 12 months, a problem for which Reconnex (and Vontu, and until recently Port Authority–acquired by Websense in January 2007) has a solution. These kinds of products are becoming more interesting to me because of the highly publicized loss of data at several institutions including the Veterans Administration and UCLA might have been prevented had a data loss product been in use. The basic idea, that data loss tools can be trained to recognize both personally identifiable information and intellectual property seems pretty sound. Creating policies to monitor and enforce appropriate use is a little harder to do. Keeping determined insiders from making off with the goods using these types of products seems a little less likely, at least in the short term. However, it seems that loss prevention tools, which basically act as barriers to collecting a lot of valuable information in one place (usually a very portable laptop) could go a long way towards keeping users from doing really dumb things with valuable information.