Content Filtering Needs to Marry DLP

    Historically, there’s been a lot of frustration with data loss prevention (DLP). Often due to a lack of context, DLP offerings draw the enmity of end users and IT organizations alike when appropriate messages are blocked simply because they contain some word that in a different context should be blocked.

    Of course, the providers of DLP systems argue that over time their systems will learn the appropriate context for the business. But until that happens, a fair amount of frustration can build across the organization.

    It’s unlikely that, given compliance requirements, DLP offerings are going away anytime soon. But the folks at ContentWatch are making a case that says content filtering is a more effective approach to determining what information should be leaving and entering company systems.

    According to Doug Anderson, a product manager for ContentWatch, a provider of Web content filtering and bandwidth management appliances, compliance issues coupled with frustration with DLP is getting a lot of companies to take a second look at approaches that not only dynamically filter content, but do a much better job of understanding the context of that information based on the role of the individual within the organization. The end result, says Anderson, is a more proactive approach to data loss that can also be extended to encrypted data.

    The difference in the way ContentWatch approaches content filtering is that its engine relies on a dynamic content analysis engine rather than a simple list of URLs, says Johnson. That engine allows ContentWatch to examine every page of content, even if the content is encrypted, he said.

    Content filtering is just one aspect of the suite of security tools that ContentWatch makes available. But as companies look for lower-cost ways of staying compliant with any number of regulations, especially as mobile computing creates more opportunities to be out of compliance, Anderson says there is a new appreciation for content filtering as a natural complement to DLP.

    Whether that leads to convergence of content filtering and DLP remains to be seen. But it increasingly seems that this is a case where two technologies together might be more than the sum of their parts.

    Mike Vizard
    Mike Vizard
    Michael Vizard is a seasoned IT journalist, with nearly 30 years of experience writing and editing about enterprise IT issues. He is a contributor to publications including Programmableweb, IT Business Edge, CIOinsight and UBM Tech. He formerly was editorial director for Ziff-Davis Enterprise, where he launched the company’s custom content division, and has also served as editor in chief for CRN and InfoWorld. He also has held editorial positions at PC Week, Computerworld and Digital Review.

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