Prevent Data Slurping Part 4: Thin client to the rescue?

Part four of our guide to preventing data slurping asks if thin clients are the best way to restrict users activities, and therefore the best way to ensure they do not remove data from your business.

One way to stop your users getting unfettered access to your most valuable data is to use thin client technology to provision applications. "Yes, it raises the bar, and you could probably secure it adequately, but just by using a thin client by itself doesn't solve all the problems," says Adam Boileau. "I can think of a dozen different ways of getting data out of thin client servers."

But Phil Montgomery, a director of Citrix's application networking group, says organisations are increasingly deploying thin client to restrict user access. "It's really driving our business," he says. "People are trying to structure their networks so they can have partners and employees all over the world... when you want to partner with someone in India you can't send them your application and the data."

These days, thin client networks can be set up to restrict the users right to save data, cut, copy, paste or print. At the Citrix iForum conference in the United States, the CEO of Boeing told delegates the company used thin client software during the design phase for its Dreamliner project. By centralising design applications, the company's partners all over the world could collaborate on design, while ensuring valuable intellectual property didn't wind up scattered on enpoints all over the globe.

"It's almost going back to the mainframe days, we're always going backwards and forwards," says von Dadelszen.

Other approaches, like IBM's Tivoli Privacy Manager software, still rely on centralised data storage and management, but allow administrators to operate outside of a thin-client model.

It's designed to stop large amounts of customer data walking out the door by monitoring access to personal information, generating audit logs and enforcing policies. It uses the P3P Platform for Privacy Preferences format.

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