Friday, September 14, 2007

Bank Technology Summit

Earlier this week, my brother-in-law, Sam, and his co-worker was in town from Spokane, WA for a conference. Johnny and I met up with them at Margaritaville on The Strip for dinner and drinks atop the patio overlooking Caesar's Palace.

Sam is the CTO of NextSentry which has this innovative product that prevents internal fraud (basically accidental or intentional intellectual data distribution to outside sources). Him and his co-worker were in Las Vegas to provide information to the bankers at this technology conference. So I took a day off from work to help Sam and his co-worker at their exhibitor's booth at the Red Rock Casino, Resort & Spa.

While most companies are concerned with hackers from outside the network (in reality, there is only one "hacker" in history and he wasn't even a true hacker), the real threat often lies within the company--the trusted inside sources such as employees and even CEOs.

NexSentry's software, ActiveSentry, helped proved this when a company that had purchased and installed the software (and within 30 days) caught one of seven loan officers (all were part of a ring) who burned the customers' portfolio from their current company to start up a new company together. But the birth of that new company will never happen because a law suit is now pending against the cohort. When the loan officers were asked during discovery to turn in the CDs they had burned, the crooks turned in three CDs but there was actually six--a fact that would not have been revealed if it weren't for NextSentry's desktop client.

ActiveSentry protects sensitive data transmission through the obvious, like e-mail but also protects against the more creative ways such as flash drives, printing, CD-rom, IRC, FTP, instant messaging--even screenshots and taking a photo of the screen with a digital camera! Believe me, I tried to find the loopholes. Even the dinosaur way of passing on information, writing it all down on a piece of paper, cannot pass the test.

There are ways the software tracks these activities without cutting into employee productivity. The actions of the employee is context-based and understands the user's intent. Sort of a trust network relationship. This may be boring to you but I found it pretty interesting being the techie geek that I am. You can find out more about NextSentry and their products here:

The conference was a new experience that I've never had. I enjoyed meeting other exhibitors, learning about their products, and a glimpse into the bankers' world. All refreshments, lunch, desserts, and after-the-event cocktails and hors d'oeuvres were provided for us.

Then I took a tour throughout Red Rock Casino. It is such a hip place.

After the event, we hung out in the Rocks Lounge for drinks. I don't get to chat with my brother-in-law very often (he's such a smart guy but very busy) and it was nice to be able to do that.

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