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What is DLP? The ins and outs of Data Loss Prevent

According to a survey by Gartner, DLP is one of the top priorities for organizations today.


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 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.


Network based

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 which is on the datacenter 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, CD’s, 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.
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