Clearswift Adaptive Redaction Brochure
Clearswift Adaptive Redaction
For Critical Information Protection
Table of Contents
Defence against attack
Ease of Use
Centralized Management
Total Cost of Ownership / Return on Investment
Sharing of Knowledge
The Wider demands of the Chief
Information Security Officer
The Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) has
become the custodian of information security and
protection for organizations, requiring a wider
perspective of both the internal and external
threats that are being faced, which are often in
stark contrast of the need to make information
more widely available to continue business growth.
Information has transitioned from being a cost and liability to
an organization in the early 2000’s (when Information Lifecycle
Management (ILM) was first introduced) to a core component of
business differentiation; the value and control of the information
now has a direct impact on financial and reputational elements
of a business.
The increase of collaboration tools such as social networks
that complement traditional tools such as email and Instant
Messaging (IM), combined with accessibility of information from
a wider range of smart media devices (SMDs) and connectivity
via increased bandwidths now means that the Information
Supply Chain (ISC) reaches every corner of the world at the touch
of a button.
Furthermore, the attacks on organisations are becoming
increasingly sophisticated, with innocuous looking documents
becoming the carriers of targeted Advanced Persistent Threats
(APTs) on the way in, and concealed critical information on
the way out. However a traditional ‘stop and block’ data loss
prevention (DLP) approach does not help the situation as it
reduces collaboration and organisational agility.
Protection and security of information is only one aspect of
the CISO’s role, but this is not a responsibility that is standalone.
The CISO may protect the information and assume the role of an
information processor, but the information owners are the CISO’s
peers; HR, Operations, Sales, Marketing, amongst others. Each of
these individuals needs to take equal responsibility to ensure that
malicious and negligent access in the sharing of critical information
is minimized as part of their own and their team’s activities.
Defence against attack
Up until about two years ago the primary focus on
cyber-attacks was identified as the external actors
such as hackers, script kiddies and cyber criminals,
each using their skills to intentionally interrupt,
damage and extract information or systems of a
target organization. A major shift and re-focus has
now been accepted in that ‘insider’ attacks are more
prevalent making up almost 60% of information loss.
Whereas most external attacks are best managed
reactively, internal ones can be more proactively
mitigated, significantly reducing the amount of
negligent and inadvertent unauthorized information
sharing that happens to cause the breach incident.
Specifically relevant to point 2 above, all other DLP technology
may inform the sender that their content has been quarantined,
but in most cases no further interaction happens, unless
disciplinary action is involved, penalizing the sender in most
cases for something they had not been educated ‘not to do’.
A proactive approach to critical information protection protects
the individual and the business from unauthorized information
sharing and also significantly reduces the number of outbound
information breaches that the organization will experience. This
allows the security teams to once again focus their efforts on
the more complex external attacks.
Clearswift’s Adaptive Redaction approaches the challenge
of the ‘insider’ or as we call it ‘The Enemy Within1’ from two
interlinked perspectives:
1. The technology builds on Clearswift’s Data Loss Prevention
(DLP) functionality and automatically redacts (removes)
content that breaks policy, i.e. the sender should not be
communicating or the recipient receiving, immediately reducing the risk of an internal policy breach2. However, the
rest of the content is sent – rather than being blocked.
2. Upon redaction the sender is sent an email to inform them
that the communication has been redacted. If the redaction
is deemed unnecessary the sender can immediately request
the content to be communicated in its original format, or a
change request made to the policy to ensure the content will
not be blocked in the future. As well as protecting critical
information, the automated feedback provides education on
policy around not sharing unauthorized information in the future.
Clearswift’s “The Enemy Within” Research 2013 -
It should also be noted that redaction is also useful for external communication as well. Ensuring unauthorized information is not delivered to external recipients.
A major component of Clearswift’s Information Governance
strategy is the ability for organizations to adhere to industry,
governmental and internal governance, regulation and
compliance (GRC) requirements. There are ever increasing
government and vertical industry bodies requiring regulations
to protect data that businesses manipulate every day and it
has been widely accepted that non-adherence to these new
regulations can harm an organization financially as well as
reputationally, damaging both business confidence and growth.
In order to immediately safeguard businesses’ compliance
needs and also ease of deployment, the DLP and Adaptive
Redaction technology is provided with ‘out of the box’ policies
and dictionaries that provide immediate coverage for: Sarbanes
Oxley (SOX), Personal Identifiable Information (PII), Payment
Card Industry (PCI), Protected Health Information (PHI), amongst
others whilst also ensuring that organizations can meet
compliance for areas such as state constitution laws where no
specific data privacy regulations exists as well as examples
such as:
• Privacy Law (Australia)
• Information Technology Rules 2011 (India)
• Privacy Act (1985) / PIPEDA Act - Updated 2010 (Canada)
• Federal Data Protection Law (Germany)
• Penal Code, Labour Code (France)
• Article 31 Constitution, Data Protection Act (UAE)
Family Education Rights and Privacy Act, Federal Identity
Theft and Assumption Deterrence Act (US)
Many organization information compliance policies
cover areas of profanity, inappropriate content and unauthorized
sharing of confidential information, including salary details,
performance review information, company strategy, etc.
Internal policy compliance breaches happen through a number
of collaboration tools such as email, social networks and the
web, each is distinct and not (in most cases) integrated with
each other. The Clearswift Adaptive Redaction technology
reviews content and ensures compliance across all these
communication channels, mitigating the need for ‘no use’
collaboration tool policies.
Ease of Use
The Adaptive Redaction technology resides within the Content
Aware – Data Loss Prevention (DLP) category. Commercially
available DLP solutions have not changed architecturally for the
past 10 years. Their intent is to stop information being leaked
out of an organization, via policy based policing, that quarantines
the content for review by a security analyst after policy violation.
Unfortunately, traditional DLP is known for its ‘False Positives’
which have meant inappropriate delays through the ‘stop and
block’ approach which in turn effects business collaboration
and the timeliness of business operations. Anything that stops
business fluidity is bad, so all too often DLP solutions become
shelf-ware, never being deployed or realizing the true business
value it creates.
Adaptive Redaction is the bi-directional intelligent removal or
amendment of information within a document or message/web
posting as part of a critical information asset protection strategy.
It ensures that the communicated content meets organization
policies for information security. The automatic removal of
hidden content (sanitization) and the removal of sensitive content
(redaction) combine to provide advanced Data Loss Prevention
and Information Governance solutions, utilizing existing (where
applicable) DLP policies, minimizing the time to implement and
creating a timely return on investment. In essence, Adaptive
Redaction strips out those specific pieces of information that
would break policy, but leaves the rest to continue to the
recipient unhindered. For example, taking out the credit card
number but leaving the rest of an order untouched when it is
sent onward to a third party for fulfilment.
The award winning, patented, Adaptive Redaction functionality
has already been integrated into the existing Clearswift SECURE
Email Gateway and SECURE Web Gateway products. In addition
solutions are available to address:
Web Security: Integrated with the Blue Coat ICAP solution
(ProxySG) and the F5 ICAP proxy, the adaptive redaction
functionality is provided within the Clearswift SECURE ICAP
Gateway that enhances existing web proxies and their clients
with advanced critical information protection.
Internal Email Security: Integrated alongside the Microsoft
Exchange Server, the new Clearswift SECURE Exchange
Gateway provides advanced DLP and Adaptive Redaction
capability for internal email collaboration, identifying and
redacting critical information assets before unauthorised
communication can occur.
Third Party Email Security Solution: A new product,
ARgon for Email is available for use with any third party
email security solution. This not only protects against
advanced information threats but can also be used in
conjunction with an existing DLP solution to remove the
effects of ‘stop and block’ created by false positives.
All Clearswift solutions are capable of bi-directional Adaptive
Redaction (for both sender and recipient), based on policies
created by the administrator and performed automatically
without any manual intervention. Only a fully-automated solution
can be trusted to provide consistent and effective protection.
Commercially sensitive information (intellectual property or
business plans), national security concerns (such as planned
projects or operations), and/or legally restricted assets (NI,
Tax Information, etc.) can all be protected from being uploaded
and/or sent outside the organization through redaction. As
only the policy identified critical information is removed, the
rest continues unhindered, this enhances business continuity
by sharing information without breaking corporate, legislative
or regulatory requirements. For example, if an email is sent
with personal or financial information, the SECURE Email
Gateway or ARgon for Email solution will remove/redact the
information asset and replace it with asterisks (*) and send the
new ‘redacted’ communication, allowing the business to continue
interactions while safeguarding critical information. All other DLP
solutions merely “stop and block” the communication, preventing
a policy breach but also creating a barrier to the business
process flow and possible ‘False Positive’ situations.
Clearswift’s Adaptive Redaction currently includes support for
the following formats: MS Word, Excel and PowerPoint, Open
Office Documents, HTML, PDF, RTF and text.
In addition to data redaction, Clearswift’s Adaptive Redaction is
also capable of two other operations that remove the risks found
in hidden content; Document and Structural Sanitization.
The traditional method for sanitization information in
communications, including files, is either a manual inspection, or
deletion via the application’s own facilities, for example using the
“Prepare for Sharing” option in Microsoft Word. However, success is
dependent on the user remembering to carry out the task, which can
be easily forgotten or even maliciously bypassed Adaptive Redaction
ensure there is consistent application of the functionality.
Structural Sanitization
Active content exists everywhere. Its purpose is to provide the
user with a more interactive experience, either on the internet
or within a document. Hackers, however, embed their own active
content into either purpose-built or compromised documents –
for example in HTML and Office documents to be downloaded
or PDF documents distributed as email attachments. Since the
active code will rarely affect the information content, it is good
practice to simply remove it. Infection of the corporate network
by an Advanced Persistent Threats (APT) is a CISO’s nightmare
and embedded active content is the most common way this
occurs. Removing the active content, removes the threat.
Structural sanitization policies are most frequently used
on incoming content – so documents that are downloaded
from the web, or sent through email, can be secured against
embedded malware. A recent Bloor Research white paper3
authored by Fran Howarth highlighted that:
94% of targeted attacks use email with malicious
attachments as their exploit delivery mechanism
Document Types attached for targeted attacks; MS Word 34%,
MS Excel 5%, PDF 11%, Executable 39%, Other 11%
Breaches cost organisations in the UK US$3.1 million per
breach on average, rising to US$4.8 million in Germany and
US$5.4 million in the US
Initial detection rates for newly created viruses by traditional
AV software is less than 5%
Outgoing documents can also have Structural Sanitisation
applied, for example in stripping macros from financial
spreadsheets, where the macros are the Intellectual Property
or ‘secret sauce’ for the organization.
Document Sanitization
Many documents contain hidden data that could be sensitive.
This could be in the document properties, which can disclose
both the author and the true date of the document; or in change
histories, which can leak sensitive data that the author or
authors believe they have removed – such as project details,
new product names and prices. One recent case was with
the Australian Federal Police where documents contained
‘hidden’ metadata information about the subjects of criminal
investigations which were then made public and the critical
information was subsequently found.
Other examples of sensitive information being exposed in metadata that could have been mitigated by the Clearswift Adaptive
Redaction technology have been experienced by some of the
largest global companies such as Merck, Microsoft and the
British government.
Merck: Metadata revealed that the company deleted vital
information concerning the arthritis drug Vioxx, resulting in
users having false information on heart attack risk associated
with taking the drug.
Microsoft: Hidden data in Microsoft Office documents was
discovered by the Associated Press and showed that Microsoft’s
advertising campaign highlighting a customer that switched
from Apple to Microsoft was actually a member of their PR firm.
British Government: Released a dossier titled “Iraq: Its
Infrastructure of Concealment, Deception, and Intimidation.”
The government says the dossier is based on high-level
intelligence and diplomatic sources and was produced with
the approval of Prime Minister Tony Blair. Unfortunately, the
dossier still held the original properties from a September
2002 article by university student Ibrahim al-Marashi.
Document sanitization is frequently applied as a policy for
documents leaving an organization to ensure that there is no
hidden information that might be found and come back to bite
the sender!
Many industries have differing requirements for the movement
and collaboration of critical information assets. If the policy
of the organization is not to utilize the Clearswift Adaptive
Redaction technology (i.e. not to block or redact sensitive/
private information or IP), there is an option to create a policy
within the SECURE Gateways to encrypt the message and/
or attachments as an alternative action when the email or
attachment is scanned and found to have critical information.
Most good DLP solutions have encryption built-in, however not
all governments and organizations use the same encryption
standards. Clearswift supports all the common industrystandard encryption technologies, including TLS, S/MIME, PGP,
password protected zips and portal-based encryption. The
choice of the type of encryption is policy based on the recipient,
making it transparent for the sender and removing operational
overhead. This removes concerns around interoperability and
gives clients the assurance that their critical information asset
can be securely shared with other organizations.
Content assurance and advanced threat protection for valuable business documents …assuring the safety and integrity of files and documents (Howarth, F. Nov 2013)
Centralized Management
Adaptive Redaction technology resides
on each of the Clearswift solution instances
to ensure both availability and scalability.
All solution instances can be peered, creating
resilient processing groups and their centralized
management is provided by a web-based user
interface (UI). A granular authorization architecture,
which is integrated with LDAP or Microsoft Active
Directory, enable system administrators with different
privileges to perform different system tasks such as
policy definition, message management (quarantine),
reporting and system monitoring.
The advancement that
Clearswift have provided in
managing protected information
with their automated Adaptive Redaction
capability, within their gateway technologies,
is a clever and effective data
loss prevention technique to facilitate
continuous collaboration while mitigating
the effect of potential false positives
that inhibit business
Frank Dickson, Industry Principal Network
Security, Frost & Sullivan
All Clearswift solutions can be peered to share policies from
a single UI. For example, a customer might have two SECURE
Email Gateways, two SECURE Exchange Gateways, three SECURE
Web Gateways and two Critical Information Protection (CIP)
servers, servicing 5,000 clients. Policy across the entire solution
ensures consistency of discovery, while the actions taken can
vary by communication channel.
Total Cost of Ownership/
Return on Investment
The Clearswift Adaptive Redaction technology provides two
levels of Total Cost of Ownership or Return on Investment:
1. Immediacy: Organizations can install the standard system
with pre-defined policies which include standard dictionaries
and tokens within 30 minutes, immediately redacting content
that breaches these policies. This level of immediacy can also
be implemented in ‘Watch mode’, where potential breaches
are reported on, rather than any actions taken. This provides
a level of visibility into potential policy breaches enabling
fine-tuning of policies before they are enforced. A pre or post
implementation engagement can create more sophisticated
policy definitions which can be applied to protect unique
critical information, such as intellectual property, as well
as minimize ‘false positives’.
A level of automated education will be received by users who
are unknowingly or inadvertently breaching policies through
the system feedback mechanisms, negating the need to provide
specialist data loss education away from their main role.
Breach events which result in quarantined data can be
automatically routed, through LDAP / MS Active Directory,
to the senders’ manager rather than to a central point,
reducing the workload for IT or security analysts who would
otherwise be required to resolve the events. Distributed
workflow reduces the overall operational costs and enables
managers to make decisions on breach severity, rather
than relying on someone who may not understand the full
intricacies of the business. Managers also have the ability to
release original content if required. This is easily carried out
by simple clicking a link in the breach event notification.
breaches would also be negated.
Organizations can further determine the ‘Risk Mitigation’
TCO/ROI by using the policy breach reporting facility
and applying those breaches to examples that are freely
available4, identifying the financial penalty savings and
associated reputational damage.
Sharing of Knowledge
The Clearswift Information Governance strategy, which
incorporates the world’s first automated Adaptive Redaction
technology, encourages the authorized sharing of intelligence,
knowledge, information and data with the assurance that
unauthorized information is secure – as it will be removed before
the recipient receive it. This technology enables continuous
collaboration as it overcomes the traditional ‘stop and block’
inadequacies in existing DLP solutions. It also reduces the effect
of false positives as it allows authorized business content to
reach the recipient – so even if not all information is received
(due to the policy), at least some is, and the recipient is not left
wondering what happened to the communication.
In today’s ever-changing business environment, it is essential
for automated technologies such as Adaptive Redaction to
be implemented as a strategic tool to manage the growth in
authorized information sharing and control the information
supply chain. While the risks were once perceived as being
external only, it is now the internal threat and threats carried
unseen in documents which also need to be addressed. Adaptive
Redaction is designed to enable secure continuous collaboration
across all communication channels.
2. Risk Mitigation: A breach of policy that causes critical
information assets to be accessed or shared by an
unauthorized individual can result in financial and
reputational penalties. As an example, when
Stoke-on-Trent City Council were fined £120,000 by the
Information Commissioners Office (ICO) for sending ‘Care
Order’ information about a juvenile to the wrong person,
the Clearswift Adaptive Redaction technology would have
stopped this sensitive information being sent to unauthorized
recipients, mitigating the breach from happening and
subsequently saving the council its £120,000 fine, plus the
costs incurred to manage the incident. Subsequent possible
Privacy Rights Clearinghouse Chronology of Data Breaches 2005 to Present
Clearswift is trusted by organizations globally to protect their critical
information, giving them the freedom to securely collaborate and drive
business growth. Our unique technology supports a straightforward and
‘adaptive’ data loss prevention solution, avoiding the risk of business
interruption and enabling organizations to have 100% visibility of their
critical information 100% of the time.
As a global organization, Clearswift has headquarters in the United States,
Europe, Australia and Japan, with an extensive partner network of more
than 900 resellers across the globe.
United Kingdom
Clearswift Ltd
1310 Waterside
Arlington Business Park
Reading, RG7 4SA
Clearswift GmbH
Landsberger Straße 302
D-80 687 Munich
United States
Clearswift Corporation
309 Fellowship Road
Suite 200
Mount Laurel, NJ 08054
Clearswift K.K
Shinjuku Park Tower N30th Floor
3-7-1 Nishi-Shinjuku
Tokyo 163-1030
Clearswift (Asia/Pacific) Pty Ltd
5th Floor
165 Walker Street
North Sydney
New South Wales, 2060
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