Verdasys MSIP Hosted Service Brings Data-Loss Prevention to the Cloud

REVIEW: Verdasys moves data-loss protection and data governance controls to the cloud, speeding deployment and reducing IT burdens for reporting and controlling sensitive data.

Called Verdasys Managed Service for Information Protection (MSIP), the service combines the essential elements for DLP and data governance into an easy-to-deploy, managed-service offering that centralizes data security administration.

MSIP combines many of the company's signature technologies, such as Verdasys' Digital Guardian platform of data protection technologies, encryption services and content inspection capabilities to create what Verdasys calls a fully managed "all-inclusive [software as a service] for information protection."

While that terminology rings of marketing mumbo-jumbo, Verdasys is striving to prove that MSIP can become the sole solution that enterprises need to gain control of their data, wherever it is stored, used or put in motion.

I dove into Verdasys MSIP to identify the service's strengths and weaknesses. The company provided me with a pilot management account, instruction and extensive support. First and foremost, I found the MSIP service very easy to deploy and manage, despite the overall complexity of the technology. This complexity is a natural result of the range of capabilities that Verdasys offers, which covers the gamut from data encryption for removable devices to examining data in motion for policy violations.

Obviously, as a service, there are a few prerequisites that must be in place to make MSIP work effectively. One of the first steps is to determine what must be protected. Of course, most enterprises have an inventory of IT systems, lists of applications and databases as well as user lists.

However, those lists and inventories are usually not up-to-date, and often miss critical systems, new applications or different categories of users. Simply put, it's vitally important to know what must be protected, otherwise data can slip through chinks in the armor, putting critical information at risk.

The solution to this dilemma is to perform a comprehensive discovery and risk assessment across the enterprise, and Verdasys provides the tools to make that happen. In short, MSIP can monitor machines and the network, all its users and all the data to determine what lives where and what needs to be administered. What's more, the risk assessment and discovery process has the added value of uncovering security holes, failed patches, unauthorized systems and data usage that escapes current policy controls.

Verdasys relies on its Digital Guardian technology to process discovery chores through a host agent that is installed on each subject system. The same Agents monitor data events and show data usage activities building out the risk-assessment results.