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Cloud-based ECM brings asset-based security to fore

It's no longer sufficient to secure a company's network. Today, you have to secure all devices and employ content-based security.

With cloud computing and mobile devices, traditional notions about how to secure corporate information have been upended. With the cloud, files no longer reside on a company's servers, behind a firewall. The plus is that they can be accessed from anywhere, but they can also be accessed by the wrong people with the wrong intentions from anywhere.

Mobile devices have also loosened the security reins on corporate information. Companies that want to secure their information assets have to take new approaches to security. That means they can no longer just secure the network, or the perimeter -- because content has moved beyond the perimeter to smartphones, cloud-based servers and more.

"We used to have the moat model around the building," said enterprise technology reporter Ron Miller, "a body of protection, network protection to make it difficult for intruders to breach that. But that approach doesn't work anymore." Today, many employees are mobile and outside the office or en route. Doing contortions to access content behind the firewall has given way to cloud-based content management and other options that are easier to use in a mobile-centric knowledge worker universe.

Ironically, new security approaches have been pioneered by cloud-based enterprise content management vendors. These companies have forged a path of asset-based security, where companies can set stringent controls on content regarding who can view, edit and print documents. Granular permissions can even expire documents after their useful life has elapsed.

This content-based approach to security entails thinking differently about corporate information assets -- not as mountains of files to be saved somewhere for perpetuity, but as time-sensitive information that should be expired once its useful life elapses. Organizations such as Lawyers Without Borders have taken on this approach to managing their content.

"When you have control of the content, even if someone breaches the machine or the app, it's the ultimate control you can have," Miller said.

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This was last published in February 2015

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In my opinion, content-based security as envisioned by ECM simply entails defining who can access and edit sensitive data, and from which devices and OSes.
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