Data loss prevention (DLP) guarantees that confidential or critical data is not transmitted outside the organizational network. The term refers to software that helps a network administrator to handle the data that users will send and receive over the network. DLP products use corporate standards to identify and secure sensitive and essential information, meaning that unauthorized users cannot exchange data inadvertently or maliciously, placing the enterprise at risk. For example, an employee would be refused approval if he or she wanted to forward a company email outside of the corporate domain or transfer a corporate file to a consumer cloud storage service like Dropbox. Because of internal risks and rigid data privacy rules, many of which have stringent data confidentiality or data access requirements, companies are implementing DLP. Some DLP software can be used to process data sources on the corporate network and secure data in motion in addition to monitoring and managing endpoint operations.

Need for Data Loss Prevention.

Personal information security/compliance, intellectual property (IP) protection, and data visibility are three key priorities that are typically sensitive areas for many organizations.

Compliance/Protection of Personal Information:

If you gather and store Personally Identifiable Information (PII), Safe Health Information (PHI), or payment card information (PCI) in your organization; then that’s the case, you’re potentially subject to regulations like HIPAA (for PHI) and GDPR (for EU residents’ data) that force you to protect your customers’ confidential data. DLP can detect, identify, and tag sensitive data, as well as track the actions and events that occur around that data. Furthermore, reporting capabilities provide the requisite information for compliance audits.

IP Protection:

if your company have valuable intellectual property, trade secrets, or state secrets that, if lost or leaked, might endanger its financial health and brand image, then DLP implementations that use context-based classification, such as Digital Guardian, can classify intellectual property in both organized and unstructured ways and you can prevent unwanted data leakage by placing policies and controls in place.

Data Visibility:

if your enterprise looking for a better picture of how data moves? Endpoints, networks, and the cloud can all be viewed and monitored with a robust business DLP application. You’ll be able to see how individual users in your business interact with data. Although these are the three most popular usage cases, DLP will also assist with insider attacks, data protection, user and entity behavior monitoring, and advanced threats.

Best Practices in Data Loss Prevention

  • Determine your primary data security target. Are you attempting to safeguard your intellectual property, obtain greater insight into your results, or comply with regulatory requirements? It’s easier to select the right DLP deployment framework or combination of architectures once you’ve identified the main target. Endpoint DLP, Network DLP, Exploration, and Cloud are the four primary DLP implementation architectures.
  • DLP isn’t purely a security decision. If you don’t yet have a budget accepted for a DLP scheme, you’ll need guidance from other executives such as the CFO and the CEO. Using the pressure points of multiple business divisions to illustrate how DLP can benefit. The CFO’s pressure points, for example, include asset productivity and profitable growth. Managed DLP systems mitigate these problems by removing the need for extra personnel and capital expenditures to introduce and manage a DLP system.
  • Establish the roles and responsibilities of the members who will be participating in the DLP system. Role-based privileges and responsibilities can provide checks and balances.
  • Start with a straightforward description of a simple win. Organizations often attempt challenging initial rollout strategies or attempt to resolve too many use cases at once. Define your initial strategy and set short-term, measurable goals. You should either take the project approach, which focuses on a specific data type, or the data visibility approach, which focuses on the discovery and automated classification of sensitive data to control egress.
  • Work with the heads of your business units to define the DLP policies that will govern your company’s data. This will ensure that all business units are aware of the policies in place and how they may affect them. Remember that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to developing DLP policies. Often, your DLP strategy will match your company’s culture.
  • Keep detailed records of your procedures. This will aid in the consistent application of policies, provide a record for when reviews are required, and aid in the onboarding of new team members or employees.
  • Define success metrics and provide reporting to top management. Determine the key performance indicators you should track and closely monitor to assess the success of your DLP system and identify areas for improvement. To demonstrate the positive impact of DLP and its business value, share these metrics with your organization’s leaders.
  • DLP is a service rather than a product. Installing a DLP tool is only the first step in preventing data loss. While quick wins are possible, understanding that DLP is a system that must be continually improved will help you achieve long-term success. To protect your data, DLP is a continuous process of understanding how users, systems, and events interact with it.

Data Loss Prevention solutions:

Network-based DLP solutions:

Data loss prevention (DLP) solutions that are network-based are designed to protect data while it is in transit. The “perimeter” of enterprise networks is where these data loss prevention solutions are installed. They keep an eye on network traffic to see if confidential data is being leaked or sent outside the company. Email traffic, instant messages, social media communications, web 2.0 applications, SSL traffic, and other forms of traffic can be examined by solutions. Their analysis engines look for data leaks and other violations of predefined information disclosure policies.

Datacenter or storage-based DLP solutions:

Data loss prevention (DLP) technologies that are based in the data center or on storage protect data at rest within an organization’s data center infrastructure, such as file servers, SharePoint, and databases. These data loss prevention solutions identify sensitive data and allow users to determine if it is being stored safely. When sensitive data is stored on vulnerable systems, it typically indicates issues with business processes or improperly implemented data protection policies.

End-point based DLP solutions:

End-point data loss prevention (DLP) solutions track PC-based devices (laptops, tablets, POS, and so on) for all actions including printing or uploading to CD/DVD, webmail, social media, USB, and so on. End-point-based solutions are usually event-driven, with an agent on the end-point watching for specific user activities like sending an email, copying a file to a USB drive, leaking data, or printing a file. These solutions can be set up to track activity passively or to actively block particular types of activity.