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Privacy Tech | This service monitors data as people work from home Related reading: Notes from the Asia-Pacific region, 1 Dec. 2023




Nearly every aspect of life has been upended by the COVID-19 pandemic. For many, homes serve many functions. They are now a place of residence, a school, a daycare and also an office. Employees will likely be working from home for the foreseeable future, and employers have rushed to make sure their staff is ready to continue operations.

Spirion CEO Kevin Coppins doesn't want companies to rest easy once everything is up and running. Workers will still be handling sensitive information that needs to be identified and properly handled.

It is why Coppins and Spirion decided to quickly put together a pair of offerings to help. Spirion announced organizations can obtain a no-cost 60-day license of its Sensitive Data Manager to help monitor remote employees for any sensitive data on their computers. The vendor also has made a no-cost Data Discovery Agent available for employees to identify the sensitive information that resides on their machines.

While the Sensitive Data Manager license is currently set for 60 days, Coppins said Spirion is prepared to extend the license should it be needed beyond the two-month window. He added the manager is built for organizations that "want to run something centrally" rather than for smaller nonprofits that may have an easier time monitoring sensitive data. The manager will only be available on Windows. 

The global pandemic may have stopped many daily routines; however, bad actors continue to work overtime, Coppins said. By using the two products, Coppins wants companies to be vigilant about the data they possess to avoid a breach.

"I can be sure if I’m compromised that when they get into my machine, there’s nothing there to get," Coppins said. "You just don’t want to be a target by having stuff that allows you to be personally compromised. Or if you are in HR or in payroll and you downloaded a large file on a workday and you’ve been manipulating it, and it’s been sitting as a CSV, and then it’s saved as an excel and you don’t realize a column has 17,000 employee Social Security numbers, you are now a target."

Of course, bad actors aren't the only ones who can cause a breach. Employees may unintentionally cause a breach of their own. Coppins believes this will likely occur as staff members attempt to perform their tasks in this "strange environment." Another added incentive to avoid an incident is that they would still have to report a breach to a regulator.

"They are going to save stuff they shouldn’t save and they are going to email stuff they shouldn’t email. They are going think they deleted something they didn’t delete," Coppins said. "It happens in the corporate environment, and it’s going to 10 or 12 times more based on the environment we are in."

As the pandemic rapidly developed, Coppins and his team had to make a quick decision about how they could help those who needed to adapt to a digital workweek. He said it took a little more than five days for Spirion's marketing, engineering and development teams to produce products that were ready to use.

Coppins acknowledges the turnaround meant Spirion was not going to get every single feature ready for launch. The vendor could have spent six to eight weeks crafting its offerings; however, time was of the essence given the state of the world, Coppins said. This meant making decisions such as turning off administrative analytical features that may go over the end user's head.

"The decision was made by the team saying, 'We don’t have everything, we don’t have all the features, but we will man the phones and jump on the chats and do what’s necessary to get people through it,'" Coppins said. "It wasn’t necessarily compromising, but it was just getting it to a point where it could do the most help at scale as quickly as possible." 

Coppins has no issues extending the 60-day license if needed. The bigger issue for Spirion will be resources should the vendor see an influx of customers. To address this potential dilemma, Coppins said Spirion has reached out to partners for assistance to ensure users have a hand to help them in the weeks and months ahead.

Photo courtesy of Spirion.

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