Code Green’s CI-750 provides affordable data loss prevention capabilities for SMBs and workgroups, but companies may end up paying a high cost for the savings.
Code Green’s DLP appliance now uses algorithms to automatically identify various kinds of documents, including resumes and contracts; integrates with Microsoft Active Directory; and adds new policies to monitor for health care data.
For smaller organizations and branch offices that need to ease into a DLP tool without dropping a ton of cash, the CI-750 (and its big brother, the CI-1500) is worth considering. You won’t get the bells, whistles, capacity or finesse that enterprise providers offer (including Symantec, which acquired Vontu in December 2007, or RSA, which acquired Tablus in August 2007), but the CI-750 did a good job in eWEEK Labs’ tests of identifying sensitive information in Web e-mail, file transfers and file shares.
The CI-750 starts at $10,000 and is designed for as many as 250 networked users; the CI-1500 starts at $25,000 and can accommodate up to 25,000 networked users. Code Green also makes an endpoint DLP agent.
One major concern that arose during my tests of the CI-750 (all reviewed features apply to the CI-1500, which differs only in capacity) was that protected data was displayed in the clear on the management terminal. This puts IT staffs in the position of seeing protected data to which they might not normally have access. A Code Green official told me that data masking was in the works as an enhancement request.
The CI-750 also leaves something to be desired when it comes to user management. While it’s possible to create user groups, it’s not possible to change the rights assigned to those groups. For example, I wanted to create a restricted user group so that administrators could see that a policy violation had occurred but wouldn’t be shown the actual detailed information. That’s not possible in this version of the product.
Offending data highlighted
In fact, rather than making it hard to see protected information, Code Green highlights in context the offending information. For example, the credit card numbers that I used in my test data were highlighted in the file in which they were found. So, as Robert Heinlein so aptly put it in “Space Cadet,” the question for any organization that uses Code Green’s product and others that don’t hide this type of data is, “Who will guard the guardians?”
The CI-750, like almost all DLP tools, uses a combination of data fingerprinting and pattern matching to identify protected data.
I went through the process of registering my data by telling the CI-750 to look for confidential content in files in repositories. I was also able to upload specific files for the identification of confidential information, although this is hardly practical for most organizations because it adds a time-consuming step to the data protection process.
Data can be either structured data stored in Microsoft SQL Server or Oracle databases, or a file or unstructured data stored in a CIFS, SMB or NFS file share. Confidential data can also be fingerprinted from one of several content management systems, including Documentum’s and Stellent’s.
I could also register patterns against which to match content moving across my network and could use new data tags to link registered confidential information to policy templates. This did reduce the amount of time I needed to spend when registering data.
New in this version is an effective tool that allowed me to monitor for resumes, earnings press releases and patents without having to register the content beforehand.
The CI-750 can also monitor content for U.S. tax forms and source code in the same manner.
The appliance’s Web console is sluggish, but it provided reporting adequate for seeing what was happening in my network transmissions.
Most shops will get the Code Green appliances from a reseller, so here are some issues you should include in an RFP to ensure that you’ll get a competent implementation and configuration.
First, the CI-750 comes with about 20 default policies. Ask the reseller if it has experience creating policies and which ones apply to your business.
Next, the CI-750 is only for content inspection. It must be integrated with either Cisco’s IronPort PXE or Voltage Security Networks’ appliances for e-mail encryption. And, companies that want to block Web and network traffic will need to get an additional ICAP (Internet Content Adaptation Protocol) proxy from a provider such as Blue Coat Systems. If your company needs these kinds of capabilities, ask the reseller if it has experience putting the whole package together.