Data loss prevention (DLP) ensures critical and sensitive information does not leave a corporate network. This is important to protect personal information PII, ensure compliance with regulations like GDPR or HIPAA, and prevent costly insider attacks that can damage your brand reputation.
A comprehensive enterprise DLP solution provides visibility into how your data moves across networks, endpoints, and clouds. It can help protect data from exfiltration by encrypting, quarantining, or blocking unauthorized access.
One of the critical components of any enterprise data loss prevention solution is data discovery. This process involves identifying business needs related to data and then combining and preparing them for analysis to provide hidden insights and address potential threats. For example, a company with a supply chain focused on fast-moving consumer goods might use data discovery to look at their logistics data and find ways to reduce food waste during shipment, or an IT security team might look at network traffic and spot unusual activity that could indicate a hack or fraud.
Once data discovery is in place, businesses can use it to make better decisions – which can then help them grow and succeed. However, data discovery is only as effective as the quality of the data being used, which means businesses must work to ensure their data sets are easily accessible and usable. This includes providing context for the data sets to help users understand the data and the underlying processes. It also means ensuring that all of the data is securely protected.
The foundation for an adequate data protection policy is an organization’s ability to identify and classify its sensitive information. A practical classification program provides valuable capabilities for record retention and legal discovery.
A sound system surveys the organization’s internal data assets and determines their sensitivity level based on rules, policies, and regulations. It then catalogs and prioritizes each piece of information and applies formal, business-approved security controls such as access protocols, storage guidelines, and retention policies.
Generally, confidential information is classified as high or medium sensitivity and may be marked with one of three labels:
Susceptible data (high) can have a catastrophic impact on your organization and individuals if compromised or destroyed in an unauthorized transaction. It should be subject to strict cybersecurity controls and restricted only to designated personnel. Medium sensitivity information is sensitive and should be secured, but it would not cause a significant impact on your organization or individuals in the event of loss or theft. Low-sensitivity information (common) describes internal procedures and documents not deemed confidential.
A robust DLP solution encrypts sensitive information – such as passwords, credit card numbers, and financial records – into unreadable code (ciphertext) that only the intended recipient or data owner can decipher with the correct secret key. This helps protect against the theft or manipulation of digital data stored on a device or transmitted across a network, such as the Internet.
This is particularly important because even the most prominent companies with large cybersecurity budgets are often victims of data breaches, and the damage caused by sensitive information getting into the wrong hands can be catastrophic. DLP solutions that include encryption for data at rest and in transit are critical to safeguard against these types of events.
Effective encryption solutions should be easy to use, generate keys quickly and automatically for new data and existing files, deliver those keys securely to the appropriate data owners, back up and maintain those keys for safekeeping, and revoke access immediately when it is no longer needed. They also need to be able to enforce these policies at all locations, whether the endpoint is physically located in a physical office building or a virtual workspace.
Access control ensures that only the right people can gain privileged access to the data they need. This includes passwords, credentials, tokens, and other methods of verifying identity. It also encrypts data so that only authorized individuals can read it.
For example, when someone tries to send a confidential file outside the corporate network or upload it to consumer cloud storage, an access control solution can detect and block this activity to protect sensitive information from being shared. Another feature of access control is that it logs everything that happens to administrative accounts so that any changes in permissions can be quickly detected.
Several different access control models exist, including role-based access control (RBAC) and attribute-based access control (ABAC). RBAC grants access based on roles, such as payroll specialist or marketing manager, rather than individual users. This approach is easier to manage and audit than other models because it decentralizes security decisions to administrators or resource owners, who can easily grant or remove access. ABAC evaluates attributes and environmental conditions in real-time to determine whether access should be granted or denied.
Reporting is a process that takes complex data and presents it simply for specific groups of people. This can be done with tables, diagrams, and other ways to visually display the information in a format that makes it easy to understand.
When selecting a DLP solution for your organization, make sure it can create comprehensive reports that provide actionable insights. This can help you quickly identify any potential threats to your intellectual property and ensure that you can keep data secure from unauthorized access.
Data loss prevention (DLP) is a strategy that monitors, detects, and blocks sensitive information in transit, at rest, or in use. This is accomplished through hardware, software, and policies deployed across physical or virtual environments. With the growing number of employees working from home, a DLP solution is essential for businesses looking to prevent sensitive information from leaving their networks. A DLP solution can help companies to comply with regulatory requirements.