What is Data Loss Prevention (DLP)?

Data Loss Prevention (DLP) ensures that confidential or sensitive data is not lost, stolen, or unintentionally distributed. It can be used to prevent data breaches and protect an organization’s reputation.

You may have heard about DLP in the news, but what exactly is it? And how can you use it to protect your data?


What is Data Loss Prevention (DLP)?

Data Loss Prevention (DLP), also known as Data Leakage Prevention, is the practice of identifying, monitoring, and protecting confidential information. This may include social security numbers, credit card information, or trade secrets.

DLP is used to prevent accidental leaks of this information, as well as malicious attacks that might seek to steal it.

This is essential because if this information falls into the wrong hands, cybercriminals can use it for identity theft, fraud or other malicious activities. This typically involves using a combination of technologies, including data encryption, activity monitoring, and user training.

Apart from this, in order to maintain compliance with industry standards and data privacy, many organizations use DLP to protect their Personally Identifiable Information (PII) and private business information.

For example, suppose you work from home or in an organization with a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) environment. In this case, your organization can use DLP techniques to protect its sensitive data residing on your device.

How does data loss prevention work?

DLP technology works in different ways.

First, it can be used to identify sensitive data. This is usually done by searching for specific patterns or keywords in files and emails. Once this data is identified, DLP can then be used to monitor how it is used and shared.

This can include tracking who is accessing the data, what they are doing with it, and where it is sent.

Organizations can also use DLP to prevent unauthorized sharing of sensitive data. For example, some DLP solutions may prevent emails containing sensitive information from being sent to personal email accounts. Others can encrypt files containing sensitive data so that only authorized users can open them.

Apart from this, by using DLP, you as a business owner can also prevent your employees from reading or writing from USB drive. This prevents unauthorized transfer of data.

And when it comes to detection, business owners can use the DLP application to monitor incoming emails for suspicious attachments or phishing links.

The 3 types of DLP solutions

There are different types of DLP solutions available, each with their own advantages and disadvantages.

1. On-Premises DLP Solutions

Some organizations choose to install DLP software on their servers and workstations. This allows them to monitor all activity on these devices and identify any sensitive data accessed or shared. These DLP solutions are known as on-premises DLP. They offer the highest level of control and visibility, but can be complex to deploy and manage.

2. Network-Based DLP Solutions

As part of this, organizations choose to deploy DLP sensors at key points in their network, such as mail servers or Internet gateways. This allows them to monitor the traffic of sensitive data that is sent outside the organization. Network-based DLP solutions are generally easier to deploy than on-premises solutions, but provide less visibility into activity on individual devices.

3. Cloud-Based DLP Solutions

Finally, some DLP solutions are cloud-based and delivered as a service. They can be used to monitor activity across an organization, regardless of where the data is stored or how it is accessed. These solutions are generally the easiest to deploy, but may not offer the same level of control and visibility as on-premises solutions.

Why is data loss prevention important?

Data loss can have serious consequences for both individuals and organizations.

Identity theft can cause financial loss and damage your reputation. A data breach can damage your company’s reputation and lead to heavy fines. By using DLP, you can help prevent these events from happening.

DLP can also help you meet compliance requirements, such as those set out by the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

Under the GDPR, organizations must take steps to protect the personal data of their customers and employees. This includes ensuring that such data is only accessed and used by authorized persons. Failure to comply with the GDPR can lead to heavy fines.

DLP can also help you meet the requirements set by the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS). This standard requires organizations that process credit card payments to take steps to protect that data from access or theft.

Other than that, data loss prevention is important because it can help protect your company’s trade secrets and other sensitive information. Your competitors could use this information to gain an advantage over you. By using DLP, you can ensure that this information is only accessed and used by authorized persons.

Best Practices for Data Loss Prevention

There are a few best practices you can follow to protect your data:

  • Encrypt your files: One of the best ways to protect your data is to encrypt it. This will make it unreadable if it falls into the wrong hands.
  • Train your employees: It is important to train your employees on how to handle sensitive data. They need to know how to identify it and what to do if they encounter it.
  • Monitor your network: You should monitor your network for any suspicious activity. This will help you identify any unauthorized access to your data.
  • Implement a DLP solution: A DLP solution can help protect your data by identifying, monitoring and preventing the unauthorized sharing of sensitive information.

Why should you choose DLP in your organization?

DLP technology is constantly evolving and new solutions are constantly being developed. As organizations become more aware of the need to protect their sensitive data, DLP is becoming an increasingly popular solution.

DLP is an essential tool for any company or individual who wants to protect their data. This can help prevent data loss, meet compliance requirements, and protect your reputation. Follow data loss prevention best practices to protect your data.

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