What Is a Private Content Network?
Failure to apply the right security and compliance controls and tracking to sensitive content communications results in higher risk. Private content networks can help with compliance and privacy to prevent attacks.
What is a private content network? A private content network is a network of internal and external digital communications that ensures zero-trust privacy protection and compliance of an organization’s most sensitive information.
What Is Risk and Content Management?
If your business doesn’t have a risk management program in place, then you are very likely at much higher risk. Most compliance frameworks and security regulations are shifting from checklist-based security to integrated risk management.
Risk management is an approach to security that follows a relatively abstract but straightforward approach, articulated by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) within its Risk Management Framework:
- Categorizing technology and security controls that handle any regulated or sensitive information. Categorization means understanding how those controls do or do not fit into the demands of regulatory compliance and what steps the organization must take to meet those standards.
Note that with integrated risk management, categorization isn’t simply about picking technology from a list. It means aligning these technologies with compliance and business goals, determining what data protections are necessary, and what protections are desired based on the risk they mitigate.
- Selecting and implementing these controls based on how they fit within an organization’s infrastructure and operational contexts.
- Assessing the implementation of these controls to ensure that they operate properly, do what they should do, and that they are producing the results intended.
- Authorizing stakeholders in the organization to make risk-based decisions using information gained during the previous steps.
- Performing continuous monitoring to determine any steps needed to update, upgrade or retire, and replace security controls.
A core feature of pursuing integrated risk management is that it forces an organization to understand just how their data moves through their technical infrastructure and if it is truly secure as understood.
This, of course, dictates how members of that organization share content. Privacy and confidentiality are central aspects of most regulatory compliance standards, including major ones like the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS), SOC 2, Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC), General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), and any U.S. federal regulation (NIST 800-53, FedRAMP, etc.).
This, in turn, presents a challenge: How can an organization effectively and freely share information, both internally and with external stakeholders, without violating their security standards?
There have been a few approaches to meet this challenge:
- Email: Email is inherently not secure, and most regulatory compliance disallows the use of email to share information unless there is a guaranteed end-to-end email encryption standard in place. This is less common than one might think, as coordinating encryption across providers and users is challenging at best.
- Secure Portal Access: A workaround for email is the use of secure links to servers where users can log into an encrypted, protected environment to view private information. While this solution works, it also places a few layers of interaction between the user and their information, including having the user create yet another account, remembering credentials, and moving to third-party websites for all interactions.
- Managed File Transfer: MFTs are combinations of secure file transfer (usually SFTP and other protocols) and enterprise functionality like file management automation, batch processing, data-driven CISO dashboards, and analytics. These support both secure internal file sharing as well as external sharing.
- Virtual Private Networks: VPNs are a software encryption and tunneling method that allows outside users to access LANs as if they were part of that network, even if they are connecting remotely over public internet connections.
VPNs are effective but more advanced and typically find use in enterprise situations where employees need to access work resources remotely for their work (i.e., they are not necessarily for consumers). Additionally, they lack scalability as most VPNs require agent deployment on devices in order to access the VPN, which becomes largely unrealistic in third-party communications.
- Content Services: Also known as enterprise content management (ECM), content services are a collection of processes, platforms, and technologies that support content management across an organization. This includes document security, automation, backups, auditing, and external sharing capabilities. It can also include integrations with other key partners, including providers of file storage, productivity software, or security solutions.
- Collaboration Platforms: A secure collaboration platform can be used feasibly to share files in a protected manner. This isn’t without a trade-off, however, as these kinds of tools weren’t necessarily built with content management in mind.
Having such disparate solutions for everything can lead to major problems. Working with disparate platforms reduces the ability of an organization to effectively manage security and governance. Furthermore, useful technologies like end-to-end encryption are generally untenable across applications, much less organizations.
While there are collections of solutions that can facilitate some form of secure content communications management, the holy grail of sensitive content communications management in general is to create a seamless space where content channels are consolidated into a single, unified approach that includes end-to-end security, centralized governance and auditing, and automated processing throughout.
This is where the private content network (PCN) comes in.
What Is a Private Content Network?
A private content network unifies sensitive content communications through centralized and automated governance, compliance, and security. It streamlines digital sends, shares, receives, and stores of confidential information into, within, and out of an organization. More importantly, tracking, controlling, and securing sensitive content occurs in the background: Minimal coordination of encryption standards, no alignment of secure servers or applications, and no burden on end-users working with sensitive information every day are required.
Benefits that come with a PCN are numerous, and many contribute directly to seamless and secure communications:
Unified Security and Compliance
Perhaps the most important aspect of the PCN is the unification of applications and services under a single, secure communications domain. Within this framework, an organization can effectively unify the necessary compliance and security controls and policies needed for regulatory obligations and security standards. More importantly, this applies to all relevant communication channels, from email to file sharing and collaboration.
Utilize critical in-transit and at-rest encryption (TLS, S/MIME, AES-256, etc.) through your existing email provider without having to work outside of your email (or that of your customers). This also includes built-in attachment scanning, user access control, and data loss prevention.
Provide robust, secure file sharing services through a common interface without sacrificing security or data privacy. This can include watermarked read-only files, productivity app integration (email, Microsoft 365, etc.), and secure collaboration.
Managed File Transfer (MFT)
MFT solutions can inadvertently silo data if not integrated with email, file sharing, or other systems, but with a PCN an organization can essentially use all the enterprise features of the MFT platform within the same pipeline as their email and enterprise file sharing.
Application programming interfaces (APIs) that access data fall under the same jurisdiction as any other part of your code base or file sharing infrastructure. The PCN architecture uses secure APIs within a hardened system.
Hardened, in this case, refers to secure systems. Protected PCN infrastructure uses hardened virtual appliances with embedded firewall technology, all of which undergo regular penetration testing. Encryption, fine-grained permissions, and robust access management control are the norm, and the system readily embeds with your existing security stack, including data loss prevention, authentication mechanisms, security information and event management (SIEM), and advanced threat protection.
Enterprises regularly gather data from users through polls and forms, but the challenge comes when attempting to manage sensitive data provided through forms without going outside the organization. With a PCN, businesses can field internal and external forms and polls, link those polls to email submissions, and connect them with automation across MFT, file sharing, and email platforms—all while adhering to security and compliance requirements.
Streamline Sensitive Content Communications With Kiteworks-enabled Private Content Networks
Enterprises are moving past the days of disparate, disjointed solutions. Integration, data sharing, and security are all part of a unified framework to which modern businesses are turning for real data-driven operations.
Kiteworks-enabled PCNs create a unique infrastructure that unifies content and data management, from emails and file sharing to MFT operations, API integration, and form creation. Our zero-trust content protection contributes to the privacy of sensitive information and overall compliance with some of the most rigorous frameworks and regulations in the world.
With Kiteworks, you can count on the following features:
- Security and compliance: Kiteworks utilizes AES-256 encryption for data at rest and TLS 1.2+ for data in transit. The platform’s hardened virtual appliance, granular controls, authentication, other security stack integrations, and comprehensive logging and audit reporting enable organizations to easily and quickly demonstrate compliance with security standards.
The Kiteworks platform has out-of-the-box compliance reporting for industry and government regulations and standards, such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), PCI DSS, SOC 2, and GDPR.
In addition, Kiteworks touts certification and compliance with various standards that include, but are not limited to, FedRAMP, FIPS (Federal Information Processing Standards), FISMA (Federal Information Security Management Act), CMMC (Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification), and IRAP (Information Security Registered Assessors Program).
- Audit logging: With the Kiteworks platform’s immutable audit logs, organizations can trust that attacks are detected sooner and maintain the correct chain of evidence to perform forensics.
Since the system merges and standardizes entries from all the components, Kiteworks’ unified Syslog and alerts save security operations center teams crucial time while helping compliance teams to prepare for audits.
- SIEM integration: Kiteworks supports integration with major security information and event management (SIEM) solutions, including IBM QRadar, ArcSight, FireEye Helix, LogRhythm, and others. It also has the Splunk Forwarder and includes a Splunk App.
- Visibility and management: The CISO Dashboard in Kiteworks gives organizations an overview of their information: where it is, who is accessing it, how it is being used, and if data being sent, shared, or transferred complies with regulations and standards. The CISO Dashboard enables business leaders to make informed decisions while providing a detailed view of compliance.
- Single-tenant cloud environment: File transfers, file storage, and user access occur on a dedicated Kiteworks instance, deployed on-premises, on an organization’s Infrastructure-as-a-Service resources, or hosted as a private single-tenant instance by Kiteworks in the cloud by the Kiteworks Cloud server. This means no shared runtime, shared databases or repositories, shared resources, or potential for cross-cloud breaches or attacks.
The Kiteworks PCN is the next stage of enterprise content management–unified, seamless, and secure across all your communication channels.