Data loss prevention (DLP) involves systematically identifying, locating, and assessing data and user activities with content-and-context awareness to apply policies or proactive responses to prevent data loss. Data at rest, in use, and in motion must be under constant surveillance to spot deviations in the way enterprise data is stored, used, or shared. This includes analyzing data streams across endpoints, data shared with business associates, and data in the cloud.
Data loss prevention has grown beyond legacy systems of only physical and software controls for data protection. DLP is an integrated approach to identifying data that is most vulnerable and responding to threats to its security and integrity. The major reasons for deploying DLP are:
3,932 breaches were publicly reported in 2020 according to Risk Based Security. Given the staggering rise in data breaches, it's essential to invest in trustworthy tools to help prevent incidents that would disrupt business.
Data can be exposed by malicious insiders who stand to gain something from doing so, but unsuspecting users can also accidentally leak data due to negligence. Monitoring for signs of leaks is important to quickly spot and confine the impact of data loss.
It's critical to locate and secure all personally Identifiable Information (PII), health records, and card payment information in your data stores. The strategic combination of data discovery, real-time change detection, and rapid incident response provided by DLP tools helps promptly identify an attack and thwart data exfiltration.
PCI DSS, the GDPR, and other data privacy regulations require organizations to deploy data loss prevention software to protect sensitive data from accidental loss, destruction, or damage.
Data loss prevention involves the following processes to effectively secure and prevent data loss:
It's important to identify instances of sensitive data in an organization to ensure it's being handled safely. For example, data in use, in motion, or at rest can contain PII; if this data falls into the wrong hands, the resulting breach or data theft can be fatal to a business. A data classification tool can help not only with locating data but also classifying it according to the level of confidentiality and security required.
Data laws like the GDPR, HIPAA, PCI DSS, and others specify how data should be stored, treated, processed, and handled to prevent data thefts or breaches. Adhering to these laws not only helps secure data and prevent hefty violation fines, but also creates trust among customers.
File access events have to be monitored in real time to detect ransomware attacks, insider threats, and other cyberthreats. File system auditing software can track file creation, deletion, modification, or security permission changes. It can also instantly spot unauthorized changes and unusual file activities indicative of cyberattacks, enabling IT teams to roll out remedial measures as soon as an attack is detected.
Unauthorized data transfers can be caused by privilege escalation or undue access to files. A file analysis tool comes in handy to identify permission inconsistencies and files with open or full access to rectify them. Ensure that the principle of least privileges (POLP) is followed to grant users only the rights needed to fulfill their job roles.
Control what goes out of user devices, removable storage media, and other file sharing channels. Stringent policies regarding data access and transfer are necessary to ensure that data only reaches the right hands. Secure data by enabling multi-factor authentication (MFA), as it lowers the chances of user accounts from being hacked easily.A data loss prevention tool can help monitor files that are actively used and shared in your organization. For monitoring the cloud, cloud protection software can be used to analyze and block unauthorized web access over the internet.
Besides monitoring data movement, strengthen authorized data movements at the periphery using firewalls and antivirus applications. As a last security measure, data encryption can be used to defend against eavesdropping.