Thursday, October 25, 2012

Egress Switch 007 - Licence to Secure Data

Natalie-Kym Vinnicombe
Business Development Manager
Egress Software Technologies Ltd.
Who knew that IT security would be cool enough to be the star of the new James Bond movie; Skyfall? Admittedly not sexy enough to don the new bond girl ‘Geek Sheek’ with thick rim glasses, braces and a silver surfer T-shirt; but hot enough to be the main theme of the latest film in the 007 series.
The film’s plot revolves around the loss of extremely confidential government information that discloses the identities of every active MI6 secret agent in the world, pretty damming stuff and definitely the type of information that should really be protected.
Being the secret agent / marketing genius that I am, I saw an opportunity to jump on 007’s bandwagon. However my idea of filming a spoof trailer with my colleagues in the office and editing in some shots of the Egress Switch Software didn’t go down as well as I had first hoped. So instead I thought I would look in more detail at the challenges faced by James Bond and MI6 in Skyfall and show that they are not that far removed from the problems most organisations face when trying to share sensitive information.
Working within the world of IT security where I spend the majority of my time helping customers deal with data security challenges and the Data Protection Act (DPA), I understand the importance of file encryption and the consequences for organisations which choose to ignore it. But outside of this world, how many organisations realise how important information security is? Certainly the increase in fines from the Information Commissioners Office (ICO) is helping to raise awareness and only last week a major UK police force became the latest organisation to receive a hefty fine due to a data breach. But is this enough and what more can be done to educate businesses and end users?
Unfortunately the ICO is not the antagonist of the 007 film, but I am definitely considering a bit of plot alteration for my trailer;
I can envision the closing scenes of the film now... James Bond and the ICO fighting to the death, all the while the ICO is quoting the 7th Principle of the Data Protection Act and telling 007 that if MI6 had only used ‘Egress Switch’ to send the information securely they would have retained real-time control over the data at all times and everything would’ve been ok…Classic film making.
So what can the IT security community hope to get out of this film? Well one thing, the contract to provide encryption to MI6 would be nice :). I wonder how many cold calls & FOI requests they will get from Vendors and IT suppliers alike following its release?!
But more seriously, the cinematic manifestation of the topic ‘Secure Data’ is a significant step forward in the promotion of data protection and the steps organisations need to take. I don’t know how many people watch James Bond but according to ‘answers.com’ over half the world has seen at least one Bond movie.
I am unsure as to whether viewers will find the topic as thrilling as previous Bond films which include stolen missiles, hijacked submarines, stopping evil drug lords and not to forget being led astray by many beautiful women (though I think there will still be plenty of the latter), however, it might be just the thing to really help our industry reach the mass market and finally make people sit up and think ‘Is my Data Safe?!’
Natalie-Kym Vinnicombe
Egress Software Technologies