What is copy protection?
Copy protection in data security is the process of protecting files and folders from being copied without proper authorization to any device in the same network. Unauthorized copying of data can lead to data leak, exposure, or even a breach. File copy protection ensures the safety of data at rest and in use.
Copy protection of intellectual property or assets is another component of data security that must not be confused with copy protection of business-critical data in general.
File copy protection strategies
Monitor all Ctrl + C and Ctrl + V actions
Block all Ctrl + C actions.
How does copy protection work?
Files can be protected from unwarranted copy actions in many ways. The following are the most commonly used methods:
- Place physical controls on storage and removable media. This includes the use of a security code or key to restrict entry inside the data center or other safety zones.
- Encrypt business-critical data to ensure that even if it's stolen, it's unreadable, rendering it useless to intruders and data thieves.
- Enforce password protection, and secure authentication for all important files and folders. Mandate multi-factor authentication (MFA) to access or operate on these files.
- Prevent unwarranted copying of files by blocking high-risk file copy actions at the source, i.e., the endpoints. This function is built into most data leak prevention (DLP) solutions to stop highly classified files from being copied to the network or portable storage devices, or exfiltrated via email as an attachment.
All of these measures or a combination of them can be used to control data theft. A good copy protection strategy should involve physical controls as well as digital counterparts.
The most effective strategy would be to deploy software that selectively protects classified files and gives you full control over their movements.
The key functions of ideal copy protection software
Anti-file copy software addresses the risk at its source, i.e., endpoints. With the right solution, IT admins will be able to:
- Monitor file copy initiated by users on endpoints and across the network.
- Audit all copy attempts, and track critical file movements across the organization.
- Block critical files from being copied across endpoints.
- Prevent unauthorized transfer of sensitive data to removable storage devices like USBs.
- Selectively monitor suspicious users for unwarranted file movements, and prevent data theft.