April 10, 2019

The DFS Encryption Mandate is Here. Are You Ready?

February 15th marked the deadline for all businesses under the jurisdiction of the New York State Department of Financial Services (DFS) to be in compliance with new cybersecurity regulations. Although there are many components to these new regulations (23 NYCRR 500), perhaps the most important one is in section 500.15 which states that any covered entity must take measures to protect nonpublic information at all times through encryption of data at rest as well as in transit.

In a nutshell this means that nonpublic information being sent across networks and the internet needs to be encrypted - that’s the data in transit part - but it also means that files in an idle state waiting to be opened or used must also be encrypted. This essentially covers any file or document that could be opened on a computer that isn’t meant to be public knowledge; from financial statements and tax returns to HR records to scans of paperwork provided by clients or partners that have been downloaded from an email provider or cloud-based application.

In order to meet this requirement it may be tempting for organizations to enable something known as “full disk encryption” and call it a day. However, this option does not actually protect files while a user is actually sitting at their keyboard (and when a hacker can strike). Its primary use case is to protect data on hard drives from being accessed if they’re ever lost or stolen. In fact, protection via full-disk encryption is deactivated once a user begins using their system.

Atakama offers drag-and-drop ease of use to encrypt any file at rest with industry-grade AES 256 encryption. This new approach resolves the significant flaw in full disk encryption by providing always-on protection that simply isn’t available through operating systems and cloud storage providers. Even when storing Atakama-encrypted files in a cloud repository, the files remain encrypted while at rest. Opening encrypted files without Atakama typically requires setting and entering a password for each one but Atakama’s technology allows you to unlock encrypted files with just a tap on your smartphone or tablet.

Nobody enjoys having to change, especially if it means having to meet new statutory requirements. Thanks to the ease-of-use of Atakama, employees are far less likely to turn to shadow IT or potentially violate the DFS regulation. Leadership can be assured that employees using Atakama are also far less likely to expose nonpublic files during collaboration—or leak files if changing roles or leaving the organization.

Contact our team to learn more about how Atakama can protect your organization’s data at rest.

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