There was a pretty good article over at eWeek today talking about the similarities and differences between DLP and DAM. It was kind of strange to read it, since I used to be the lead analyst covering those markets and I might have been the first person to use the DAM term.

As I’ve discussed here before, I think information-centric security will evolve into two major stacks. DLP is the start of the Content Monitoring and Protection stack, while DAM is the start of the Application and Database Monitoring and Protection stack. We’ll have to see if CMP and ADMP survive as terms now that I’m not with a big analyst firm.

Over time I’ll post more on how those stacks will evolve and what they’ll contain. Reading some of the comments on my last DAM post it’s clear that I still haven’t fully articulated this and need to write some papers on it.

Today I’m going to skip ahead, thanks to the eWeek article, and discuss how the two sides will work together. I’ve come up with this division for a lot of reasons, mostly to do with buying centers, technology overlaps, business problems, and business and threat models.

I have to start with a couple assertions. In the model I’m about to show, the CMP stack is embedded into the world of productivity applications and communications- including DRM applied at the time of information creation using content aware policies. Second, ADMP protects information in business applications and databases, and includes static data labeling (which could come from the DBMS) and can also apply on-the-fly labels using content analysis. CMP is for user-land (Office apps, email, etc.); ADMP is more data center oriented.

What will happen is that rights/labels assigned in one stack with be passed to the other stack as information moves between the two. If I run an extract from a database that includes sensitive information, that extract is tagged as sensitive. If that data goes into an Excel spreadsheet, then a Word document, then a PDF, the rights are maintained through each stage, based on central policies.

For example:

  1. I run a query from a customer database that includes social security numbers in the result.
  2. That data is labeled as sensitive, since the SSN column is labeled as sensitive.
  3. I extract that data to Excel. The extract is only allowed because Excel is integrated as an application that can apply DRM rights.
  4. The document in Excel instantly has mandatory DRM rights applied, based on central policies for that classification of data. We’ve now transitioned from ADMP to CMP.
  5. Those DRM rights are maintained through any subsequent movements of the information.

Here’s an animation from a presentation I gave last week that shows what I mean. Click it at least 3 times to advance.

This is just one example of how they’ll bridge, and yes, it sounds like science fiction. But all the components we need are well in development and you might see real-world examples sooner than you think.


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