Security in Context: The BeyondTrust Blog

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Bringing you news and commentary on solutions and strategies for protecting critical IT infrastructure in the context of your business.

Data Discovery using the Retina Network Security Scanner

Posted May 9, 2013    Morey Haber

One of the challenges facing every organization is locating where Personally Identifiable Information (PII) resides on workstations and servers. This data, by nature, is sensitive. However, if this data is not properly being tracked, secured, or even encrypted it can result in data loss. This type of data loss can result in a violation of various industry and government regulatory initiatives such as PCI and HIPAA. The process of finding and reporting where this information resides is called Data Discovery.

Many solutions that perform Data Discovery require the deployment of a persistent agent on a host in the form of a DLP (Data Loss Prevention) solution or a network based scanning solution that remotely crawls the file system and opens every file across the network and inspects the contents for PII. Both solutions are less than ideal as they require another agent on the asset and management infrastructure or they need secure access to a remote file system. Furthermore, they additionally require the opening and closing of every file remotely to verify the contents. This can be very time consuming, network intensive, and could result in sensitive data being opened over potentially insecure network paths.

With the Retina Network Scanner version 5.19.0 (and higher), BeyondTrust proudly introduces the most flexible solution to enumerate the contents of files on Windows targets utilizing the Retina Local Scanning Service.

The Retina Local Scanning Service (RLSS) provides the ability to perform local tasks on the target being scanned. Such tasks include the ability to control and execute console commands. As such, the RLSS is a temporary service that is deployed, performs an action, and then is removed. The use of RLSS adds greater flexibility to the type and depth of information that Retina can gather.

RLSS functionality now includes the ability to audit for Personally Identifiable Information (PII) on remote targets.  This functionality is supported at the Retina audit level and supports the following personal information:


If Personally Identifiable Information is discovered, the exact PII string is not written back to the Retina Network Security Scanner User Interface or Retina CS (will require version 4.5; coming soon). This is intentional. Consider recording the finding and spreading the discovered PII across the network (due to the Data Discovery itself) and storing it again in yet another solution. The Data Discovery process itself made the PII data leak situation worse. Instead, Retina provides full details of the filename and path and the type of content that was discovered. This is illustrated below:

Data Discovery using the Retina Network Security Scanner

The Retina Network Security Scanner has solved the problem of data discovery in a more secure and efficient method than the most common tools on the market. Using the advanced dissolvable scanning capabilities of RLSS, a vulnerability assessment scan can now find sensitive data, report on the asset, and identify the file, path, and type of data discovered. This answers the question of where my sensitive data is at rest and helps meet regulatory initiatives that require the identification and protection of personally identifiable information.

Watch the product video now >

For more information on the Retina Network Security Scanner or Retina CS, please click here.

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Additional articles


Answering the age-old question, ‘What’s plugged into my network?’

Posted October 9, 2015    Alejandro DaCosta

“What’s plugged into my network?” is a question I hear frequently from security administrators. And, really, it’s no surprise why. No longer do we have to account just for the physical servers in our datacenters, workstations and a few network devices. Now we need to keep track of roaming laptops, dynamic virtual systems, off-site cloud deployments and BYOD.


Closing the Vulnerability Gap

Posted October 7, 2015    Brian Chappell

Managing vulnerabilities is a significant challenge for many organizations. The main difficulties with managing this manifest in two key areas. The first is that the list isn’t static. The second is priority.


Scottrade Breach: Identified by Federal Officials

Posted October 5, 2015    Morey Haber

Late afternoon on October 2nd, news leaked out of another large security breach, now at Scottrade. The identity count of records, in the millions again (4.6 million is the latest). This breach comes on the second day of national CyberSecurity month, the first being Experian/T-Mobile breach.