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PRISM and Privacy: Reinforcing IT Instincts

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The top-secret National Security Administration (NSA) data mining program isn’t so secret anymore, and on Friday, July 18, it was reported by Reuters that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court renewed authority for the United States’ Office of the Director of National Intelligence to collect telephony metadata in bulk.

In June, details of the PRISM program were initially revealed by The Washington Post and it didn’t take long for word to spread that the NSA has been accessing data via some of the most popular third party public cloud services. Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and Yahoo! were called out by name as companies whose servers have been tapped by the NSA and FBI. The program provides, in the words of the NSA, direct collection of confidential user data from the servers of these companies.

Many continue to question exactly what information has been accessed, why and by whom. Very fair questions since we often assume (and expect) that corporate data won’t be tampered with or shared with others outside our organization without our knowledge.

While details on PRISM, and its impact on enterprise organizations, continue to emerge, this news serves as an important consideration for organizations that store and share data via a third-party service. It’s critical to know where data is stored and what safeguards are in place to prevent unwanted access, particularly with public cloud service providers.

Accellion customer, MiTek Industries, recognized the importance of getting an enterprise-class mobile file sharing solution in place so that employees wouldn’t be tempted to share files via free cloud sharing services, which can cause organizations to lose security control over sensitive internal data.

“With Accellion, we know exactly where our files are, can track and monitor both senders and recipients, and enforce file sharing policies at a user and corporate-wide level,” said Justin Daniels, Web Services/Software Engineering and IT Support Manager with MiTek.

Complete data privacy in today’s world is probably not realistic, but whether sharing product specs with your engineering team or quarterly financials with the board, there are ways data privacy risks can be mitigated. For more information on the privacy and security benefits of adopting a private cloud file sharing and synchronization solution, read this whitepaper.

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