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Problem with the professional consumer is leading to an information security headache

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The culture of the professional consumer, or ‘prosumer', is leading to increased problems within the workplace.

L. Frank Kenney, vice president global strategy at Ipswitch File Transfer, explained that a 'prosumer' is a consumer buyer who purchases an electronic device from personal funds but intends to use it primarily for business rather than consumer applications.

Kenney said that this is an area ‘we should all be talking about', as it is the single biggest impact to information security in years and it becomes an issue of protecting intellectual property and enforcing policies.

Referring to Gartner statistics, Kenney said that the market is growing in FTP, and two million MP3s are moved via email systems every four weeks.

He said: “From the iPhone and iGoogle portal pages to web mail and file-sharing websites to USB drives, corporate IT has to manage and control both sanctioned and ad-hoc applications, processes and systems.

“The result is a tectonic shift in the processes, methodologies and mechanisms companies must deploy to better manage their flow of information. How do you know what is being sent? How do you deal with it?”

In terms of file transfer, Kenney said that 'prosumers' are starting to leverage bit torrent as a viable delivery option, and it is the consumers who are getting that first.

He said: “They want to be able to leverage that technology for the organisation. You think it is impossible to support everything in every single way, you support the TCP/IP stack and maybe X25 and maybe MQ and maybe S&A, and then from a risk perspective you have got everything covered.

“Then you start thinking and you start watching what is going back and forth, and you use adaptive intelligence or adaptive communications, you start doing complex event processing to see what is being sent.

“We are purposely giving away our corporate and intellectual property and at some point we are going to give away stuff that does not belong to us, stuff that our bosses have promised our consumers – whether it is an email address, whether it is registration information, whether it is credit card information, because we do a good job of protecting that between systems.

“We have to start thinking about that and the biggest impact, the thing that makes us think about it is this whole ‘prosumer'.”

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