January 2, 2013 | Written by: IBM Cloud Staff
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When we think of our family’s most valuable possessions the vast majority of us store them in a home safe or in at safe deposit box in a bank. The home safe keeps their security under our control and is therefore the preferred solution. We trust that the bank will provide a high level of security that in fact may be less vulnerable to theft but it is not directly under our control.
Securing data that is high value in the current environment provides similar options. You can store it locally on your desktop or mobile devices or you can store it in the cloud. A large number of well known companies including Apple, DropBox, Box, Yousendit and others offer what I call a “store and download” solution in the cloud. There are many advantages to this solution especially related to cost and sharing. The big drawback is that the cloud is not a bank. While data can be password protected, it is not under the owner’s control and can be accessed by sophisticated hackers. One only has to read Mat Honan’s article in Wired Magazine to understand your vulnerability and the consequences of having important data stored in the cloud outside your control.
My company, CloudPrime, also stores data in the cloud for our application to Application Secure Messaging Service, however all of the data that is stored is encrypted unlike the previously mentioned “store and download” solutions. The fact is the only way to ensure the secure delivery of data is to encrypt at the file level. With the advent of mobile devices the issues related to protecting the crown data jewels have become more complex. Now the protection of data has to extend to mobile devices that are subject to being lost or stolen.
In addition there has been a substantial increase in the use of mobile devices in healthcare by both patients and physicians. Frequently physicians who are on call may receive important patient information from the ER on their smart phones or tablets including images along with patient names and other identifying data. It is a HIPAA requirement that this data be encrypted. Therefore when it is sent and stored without encryption it is not HIPAA compliant.
There is a new generation of mobile security applications that is going to create the ability to have an electronic transfer of files and data of all types from desktops, smart phones and tablets –images, documents, audio and video files. These new applications enable the crown data jewels to be delivered utilizing secure communications. The data is protected in a way that it is always available under the sender or recipients’ control. The data is also protected using military grade encryption while in transit. It transforms your desktop, tablet and smart phone into secure communication devices with multiple levels of security and authentication such that they also become secure data vaults. In addition the data can be received and delivered securely from those same devices to recipients all over the world. This is accomplished with the ease of use of sending texts or e-mails. Another important feature is a multi-tiered approach to password protection such that unauthorized users cannot access the data if the mobile device is lost or stolen.
On December 6, a new application named QuickDrop was launched by CloudPrime that will make this a reality. The application is available for free in the Apple App Store. After a trial period users will be expected to pay a fee based on usage. QuickDrop will enable secure communication with the only data storage being on the users devices.