Data loss prevention (DLP)

Data loss prevention (DLP)

Data loss prevention (DLP) ensures that sensitive or vital data is not sent beyond the business network. The word refers to software that allows a network administrator to manage the data that users may send and receive. DLP products employ business rules to categorize and secure private and vital information, ensuring that unauthorized users do not divulge data inadvertently or deliberately, putting the company at risk. For example, an employee would be refused authorization if he or she attempted to send a business email outside the corporate domain or upload a company file to a consumer cloud storage service like Dropbox.

Data loss prevention (DLP) refers to a set of technologies and solutions that monitor and safeguard sensitive company information from unauthorized access. DLP technology protects data in three places: when it’s in use by authorized people. When it’s in motion (being transferred across the internet), and when it’s at rest (on a file server or in a database). Data loss protection software, for example, can prevent users from copying data and moving it outside a company’s network.

Content inspection, which is software that looks at chunks of data as they move over a network, evaluates the type of file that contains them, and determines if the data is where it should be and being used for its intended purposes, is at the heart of all data loss prevention software. Sensitive data may be jeopardized by both unintentional disclosure and malicious behavior, which is why DLP security is critical for firms that need to secure their data assets. Data loss prevention software has traditionally been designed using static, policy-based rules, but the advancement of intelligent technologies, notably machine learning, has raised the bar. Machine learning DLP can detect and prevent data breaches by recognizing patterns of activity that occur before data breaches.

How does DLP work?

Content inspection is the foundation of DLP software, which employs a variety of approaches to detect policy breaches.

To begin, content inspection is based on rule-based expressions that are identified by data loss protection software and result in further actions. Credit card numbers with 16 digits are a good example. If you try to email a credit card number (that starts with a 4, 5, or 6), especially with the 3-digit security code and expiration date, the DLP software will either reject the email or automate encryption.

The next step is to match the exact files. This recognizes files that are in use, in motion, or at rest and have the same content as an indexed file. Data fingerprinting is another term for this.

Third, DLP solutions leverage conceptual / lexicon analysis for content analysis. This level of analysis employs a set of dictionaries or other lists and rules to detect undesirable conduct, such as specific internet searches or the sharing of trade secrets with others outside the network.

Finally, advanced statistical analytic approaches can be used in content analysis. Machine learning is used in statistical ways to safeguard certain bits of information. When a computer learns how data should be organized, it is continuously on the lookout for data that does not fit the pattern.

Different types of DLP

Data loss prevention software is divided into three categories: network, endpoint, and cloud. The end effect (data protection) is identical for all three, but the methods utilized differ from one type to the next.

Network DLP

As the name implies, Network DLP creates a safe perimeter around data in motion on the network. Instead of endpoints, this system tracks and analyzes data as it flows through the company’s network.

If a user tries to email sensitive information while on the company’s network, the network’s DLP security will encrypt, block, quarantine, or audit the email, among other things. It can also alert the administrator to an attempted email transmission.

When a computer is linked to a network, network DLP solutions are effective, but their protection does not extend to laptops and devices that are not connected to the network.

Endpoint DLP

Endpoint DLP does not work on a network when data is in transit. Instead, it is installed on each device, which houses the network’s endpoints. Endpoint DLP security keeps track of data as it goes to and from these endpoints, no matter where they are or how they link to the network or the internet. It can also identify when important data is being saved in files on devices that aren’t secured.

Endpoint DLP provides more comprehensive security than Network DLP, but it also necessitates more administration. Endpoint DLP security software must be installed on each device. When companies have remote employees, this might be difficult logistically. It’s also worth considering how much time and effort it takes to administer and maintain an Endpoint DLP solution.

DLP Cloud

Cloud DLP is similar to Endpoint DLP, except it applies DLP rules and policies to a subset of cloud accounts. It does not, like Network DLP, create a perimeter around a standard on-premises network. Instead, it works with cloud-based applications such as Office 365 and Google’s G Suite (and many others).

This provides your employees with the ease and security of utilizing cloud apps and cloud storage without the danger of data loss or breach.

Benefits of DLP?

Some of the advantages of employing data loss protection software are self-evident, while others are less clear.

Legal compliance may be ensured by properly installing DLP security. Legislations like as HIPAA, CCPA, and GDPR, for example, require you to know where personal/patient data is stored and how it is shared and managed, which this data loss prevention software may help you with. DLP also guards against personal data being copied, pasted, uploaded, or printed inadvertently to other parts of the network for unwanted purposes. Data loss prevention software guards against unauthorized access to any sensitive data by ensuring that no person or script may send it to the wrong area. Attempts like this will be prevented or limited.

Human error is more frequently than not the source of these breaches, which can be malevolent or purposeful (such as an employee mistakenly attempting to print or email a sensitive document). Having a well-configured DLP in place will prevent these mistakes from becoming breaches, regardless of the intent. This shifts the responsibility for data protection from human judgment to software.

These instances of DLP systems safeguarding data are apparent benefits for IT and security personnel, but what about the larger business case?

DLPs help to avoid data breaches, which are costly. Cleaning up after a data breach may be quite costly. Companies that provide free credit monitoring to customers whose personal information has been compromised, for example, can spend millions on this. Furthermore, it is typical for data subjects to pursue legal action against organizations that put their data at risk, which may be catastrophic depending on the scope of the breach.

The financial consequences might be catastrophic in the near term, but the long-term harm to a company’s reputation can have a long-term impact. Problems created by failing to follow information privacy rules, such as HIPAA), the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA), and California’s Online Privacy Protection Act, can overshadow both financial expenses and reputational damage (OPPA).

Although the United States does not yet have comprehensive data protection legislation in the same way that the European Union’s GDPR protects information privacy, it would be prudent for American businesses to take preventative measures to protect client privacy so that they are compliant if/when such laws are enacted.

Why Do Businesses Require DLP?

Many of today’s cybersecurity and compliance concerns can’t be handled without the aid of a DLP solution. Administrators are always on the lookout for new risks and trying to figure out how to identify and stop them. You’ll need a DLP for the following reasons:

Compliance: Several compliance rules require data monitoring and protection. If your company is required to meet HIPAA, PCI-DSS, GDPR, or other compliance regulations, a DLP solution can help you stay on track.

IP protection: It’s customary for businesses to keep intellectual property in document files, and a DLP will prevent hackers from accessing and stealing confidential information.

Data visibility: Tracking data in transit and at rest is a regulatory requirement that helps enterprises identify the sorts of data saved across endpoints.

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