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Data Loss Prevention & Protection

What does DLP Stand for?

Data Loss Prevention is basically any process or solution which identifies the confidential data in an organization and tracks it as it moves through the enterprise. It also prevents the unauthorized disclosure of the data by enforcing various disclosure policies. Confidential data can reside on a number of different devices in today’s world such as PC’s databases, mobile devices, etc. They move through various network access points like VPNs. There are a number of DLP solutions available to tackle data loss, data leaks, and data recovery.

As the number of Internet devices keeps on growing, data loss prevention is becoming a more and more important part of the arsenal of an organization to manage and even protect confidential and critical information.

A couple of types of confidential data that need protection are mentioned below for your reference:
Customer data: This includes social security records, credit cards, financial statements, medical records, etc.
Corporate data: These include financial statements, confidential documents, strategic planning information, and so on.

What Causes Data Loss?

The loss of data is an unpleasant occurrence. It may appear inevitable. But with certain measures, Data loss prevention is possible. Understanding the primary causes would be the first step.

While some failures are caused by the hardware becoming worn out, others are caused by external causes such as:

Fire or water damage
Magnetic field exposure
Surges or power outages
The effect of being dropped

A common mistake is spilling coffee or a drink on a laptop. Liquids can produce a short circuit, affecting the computer's electronic components, including the hard drive. Another common source of data loss is software failure or breakdown. Any data-requesting application can crash, resulting in data loss or corruption. Viruses can enter and corrupt data on hard drives and corporate networks. Additionally, viruses can steal, corrupt, encrypt, and erase data. A power outage while preparing a document could result in data loss if data was not regularly stored.

How Does Data Loss Prevention Works?

Programs are used by Data loss prevention solutions to sift through data under their control. To sniff out data that is sensitive or deserving of protection, these applications employ a range of DLP techniques. Rule-based matching or regular expressions:  Agents search for data that matches specified rules using established patterns. This is frequently used as a first pass to mark documents for further examination. Database fingerprinting or exact data matching: Agents look for perfect matches to structured data that has been provided in advance.

Exact file matching: Instead of looking for documents by their contents, agents look for them by their hashes.

Partial document matching: Agents hunt for files that fit pre-defined patterns in part. Various copies of a form filled out by different users, for example, will have the same structure, which can be exploited to fingerprint the file.

Statistical analysis: Several DLP systems employ machine learning or other statistical methods to trigger policy breaches insecure content.

Once your DLP solution has recognized sensitive data, it must determine how to proceed. 

First, your company has to develop a DLP strategy to decide how different types of data should be handled and what internal and external users' duties are concerning that data. 

Then, your plan will inform the DLP policies and processes you'll use with your DLP system. 

Finally, if your solution detects an action that breaches one of your policies, it will apply DLP security controls to avoid data loss.

Types of Data Loss Prevention

These solutions are focused on protecting confidential data while it is in motion, i.e. when it is moving from one server to another or from one device to another. They are installed at the perimeter of an enterprise network. They monitor network traffic in order to detect any sensitive data which is being sent out from the internal network or internal servers. These solutions will look into email traffic, social media interactions, instant messaging, and much more. They will be looking for any violations of disclosure policies set by the company.

These solutions focus on keeping the information that is on the data center infrastructure of the organization secure. This includes databases, SharePoint’s, and file servers. These solutions discover where the data is residing and let users determine if it is securely stored. When the information is on an insecure platform, it’s usually an indication that the data retention policies are poor or that the business processes are problematic. This is when the management is notified and asked to step up and take appropriate actions.

These solutions focus on looking after PC-based systems like tablets, laptops, etc. It monitors things like social media, USB, webmail, CDs, and so on. They are usually event-driven. They can be configured to monitor passively or even to actively block specific activities.

The choices
There are a number of data loss prevention tools available today which can address the risks involved with the accidental exposure of any sensitive data to all outside authorized channels with the help of blocking, monitoring, and remediation. These tools help enable the enforcement of strict company policies that are based on content classification. Data leak prevention technology is also being leveraged increasingly for the discovery and classification of data.

So if you are planning on purchasing data loss prevention software, here is a checklist to help you make the right choice:
First, develop a clear strategy with concrete requirements.
Understand that data loss prevention has limitations too.
Test the quality of any application before going ahead with it.
Create procedures and policies for mobile devices which interact with sensitive data as well.

Data Loss Prevention Software To Use

With the support of blocking, monitoring, and cleanup, various DLP services are available today that may handle the dangers associated with the unintentional exposure of any sensitive data to any outside allowed channels.

So, if you're thinking about buying data loss protection software, here's a checklist to assist you in deciding:
  • Create a defined plan with specific requirements first.
  • Recognize that data loss prevention has limitations as well.
  • Before moving further with any application, be sure it is of good quality.
  • Develop policies and processes for mobile devices that interact with sensitive data.

Here are our favorite DLP software with their key features -

  1. SolarWinds
  2. Access rights manager
  3. Spots suspicious activity
  4. Automated responses

Fidelis XPS
Investigate how and why your data moves
Prevent data theft or unauthorized sharing
Safeguard IP and business reputation

Endpoint safeguard medium
Appliance, on-premises software, or cloud service
HIPAA, PCI DSS, and GDPR compliant
Enforced encryption

CrowdStrike Falcon
Control on data passing onto memory sticks
Variable security set by policies

ManageEngine Device Control Plus
Safelist for acceptable devices
Variable controls on different data types
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