Academic journal article Manager

Digital Vaults

Academic journal article Manager

Digital Vaults

Article excerpt

A major challenge faced by all organisations selecting IT technology is trying to clearly understand how a particular solution may affect the problems they need to solve. This often involves managers trying to interpret what various vendors mean when using generic terminology.

The term 'digital vault' has recently come to the fore, and now several vendors are offering technology under that umbrella name. So what should you as a manager understand? The acid test is the ability to answer two questions:

1. Does the digital vault hide items from those who have no right to see them?

2. Does it ensure that those with access rights are monitored every step of the way?

Physical vs Virtual Vaults

The term 'vault' is appropriate because it relates to the bank vault we are all familiar with in the physical world. Every enterprise possesses priceless items that must never be lost or exposed for fear of endangering continuity and even threatening the business's very existence. In today's world, a large percentage of that property is in digital format. Most businesses will still use the physical vault for secure storage of critical data, but this is impractical when on the one hand you are required to make that data available on a day to day basis for those who need to view and modify it, while on the other hand, you are required to keep it under "lock and key" so that those, who are not entitled, are denied access to it.

Coming back to the banking analogy, the physical vault can only be accessed by those who have privileges to do so, and once in the vault, only those safety deposit boxes that they have the right to open should be made available. For those who saw the movie The Bourne Identity, you may remember the scene in which the hero enters the bank and is escorted to the vault. He is then provided access to his private safety deposit box. Well, the digital vault needs to mirror this physical scenario. Critical data needs to be stored in a secure location, and should be accessible only to those with special clearance.

Are they the same?

Another key factor in identifying a digital vault should be its ability to mimic all existing security processes and procedures in the organisation for handling sensitive information. Most businesses will have clearly defined policies and procedures defining how sensitive physical items are handled. …

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