>Fixing The Information Flow

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Faucet

So check this out–H2Glow has an LED faucet light that it temperature sensitive and turns blue for cold water and red for hot.

When I saw this, I thought this would be a great metaphor for managing the information flow from our organizations–where we could quickly and simply see whether the information flowing was sharable and for public consumption (“blue”) or whether something was private and proprietary (“red”).

The Economist, 24 February 2011, in an article called “The Leaky Corporation” writes: “Digital information is easy not only to store, but also to leak. Companies must decide what they really need to keep secret, and how best to do so.”

Like a faucet that gushes water, our organizations are releasing information–some with intent (where we are in control) and much without (due is spillage and pilferage).

In the age of WikiLeaks, computer hackers, criminals, terrorists, and hostile nation states, as well as the insider threat, information is leaking out uncontrollably from our organizations and this puts our vital competitive information, national secrets, and personal privacy information at risk (i.e. health, financial, identity, and so on).

Of course, we want the proverbial blue light to go on and information to be shared appropriately for collaboration and transparency, but at the same time, we need to know that the light will turn red and the information will stop, when information is justifiably private and needs to be kept that way.

Being an open and progressive society, doesn’t mean that that there is only cold water and one color–blue. But rather, that we can discern the difference between cold and hot, blue and red, and turn the faucet on and off, accordingly.

Information is proliferating rapidly, and according to IDC, a market research firm, the “digital universe” is expected to “increase to 35 zettabytes by 2020.”–a zettabyte is 1 trillion gigabytes or the equivalent of 250 billion DVDs.

Therefore, the necessity of filtering all this digitally available information for inside use and outside consumption is going to become more and more critical.

According to The Economist article, we will need to employ the latest techniques and automation tools in:

Enterprise Content Management–to “keep tabs on digital content, classify it, and define who has access to it.”
Data Loss Prevention–using “software that sits at the edge of a firm’s network and inspects the outgoing data traffic.”
Network Forensics–“keep an eye on everything in the a corporate network and thus…detect a leaker.”

Of course, as the Ciso chief security officer says: “technology can’t solve the problem, just lower the probability of accidents.

In the end, we need to make sure people understand the vulnerability and the dangers of sharing the “red” information.

We can focus our employees on protecting the most critical information elements of the organization by a using a risk management approach, so that information with the high probability of a leak and with the greatest possible negative impact to the organization is filtered and protected the most.

The leaky faucet is a broken faucet and in this case we are all the plumbers.

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