RSA - Tech firms swarm on data protection problem

Enterprise IT administrators didn't need the recent stories about large-scale data . (network compromise potentially exposing credit data on hundreds of thousands of customers) or Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (lost hard drive with personal financial information on 470,000 mutual fund customers) or Nationwide Health Plans (backup tapes with data on 28,000 patients stolen from a lockbox) to convince them that data protection was an urgent problem in need of attention. Frankly, corporate boards of directors and auditors have been screaming it in their ear about it for a while now.

The biggest problem thus far, has been a dearth of enterprise-ready endpoint protection products that can monitor and lock down data transfers both online and offline without crippling productivity. But with the RSA Security Conference just over the horizon, news of a whole crop of new products due out on the market in the coming months may finally give IT some weapons to address the threats posed by USB stick drives, iPods, and other gaping holes in enterprise network protection.

Last week, , unveiled PointSec Protector, an enterprise data protection product that combines encryption technology Pointsec acquired with Reflex Magnetics to secure computer ports, storage devices, and e-mail.

PointSec started as a mobile data protection company focused on smartphones, PDAs, and other devices. That vision is broadening as employees' use of personal removable media devices such as USB drives, Bluetooth smartphones, digital cameras, and music players pose a major security challenge, said Martin Leamy, president of PointSec.

The endpoint security news is coming hot and heavy this week, too. On Monday, startup endpoint security firm Provilla Inc. pulled the covers off LeakProof , an enterprise leak prevention product, said Glenn Kosaka , vice president of marketing at the Mountain View, California firm.

Taking a page out of Google's playbook, Provilla offers a free version of LeakProof, dubbed LeakSense, that will allow firms to see data transfer activity on their endpoints.