By increasing security for remote workers and giving the firm a more detailed roadmap of file access activities carried out by its employees and customers, Le said he believes Alliance is finally getting ahead of the insider problem and arming itself with a way to keep everyone honest.
One of the most significant issues the company has dealt with in the past are efforts by insiders to view the records of famous or high-profile patients, activities that are directly at odds with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act medical data protection regulation.
In some cases, the incidents have been the result of mere nosiness, while in others, the firm suspects that workers may have been looking to share sensitive data with outsiders for a profit.
After conducting both technological and physical penetration tests on its operations, Le said that Alliance feels it is making the right moves to address the issue after augmenting its operations as such.
"With the threat of data theft for identity fraud or to get information on our high-profile customers, we had to work to get a better picture of who was accessing what files," said Le. "Since putting the tools in place, we've been able to track people down when they do something wrong, and I think that type of response travels among workers by word of mouth; overall those types of issue have almost disappeared now that people know that their activities will be monitored."
Data leakage prevention tools become more popular
Another angle on preventing insider data breaches is being pursued via the use of so-called DLP (data leakage prevention) tools.
At WebEx, the well-known online conferencing applications vendor, Security Engineering and Operations Manager Mike Machado said that the company is using advanced DLP technologies made by Reconnex to ensure that workers aren't walking out of the building with the company's next big idea.
"Up until now, we didn't have anything in place that could capture everything that goes over the wire, but the ability to use technology do to do this type of testing, versus doing sampling in the past, has given us a much clearer picture of where data is going on the network and who is touching it," Machado said.
"Most of the incidents we find today are people unaware of policies, it's only occasionally that we find something malicious, but typically the result is a simple behavior discussion, and that's helping people expand their own understanding of what they should or shouldn't do," he said.
Another advantage to using DLP to keep an eye on all the data being transmitted out of WebEx's network is that the tools serve as another proof point to show external auditors when those groups are testing to see if the firm is employing comprehensive information protection.
Perhaps the best use case for the technology yet, however, is when WebEx used the tools to catch an employee attempting to participate in a malware-distribution ring.
In addition to joining sides with the malware gang, the employee had also agreed to allow the group to use excess WebEx network capacity to harbor potential attacks -- a problem that would have reflected poorly on the entire company if it were discovered and publicized, said the expert.