Data breaches are common, and billions of records have been lost to adversaries seeking corporate espionage, financial gain, or personal information. These attacks can occur from within the organization or by outsiders. DLP tools protect sensitive data from internal and external threats at rest or in motion. They can take several remedial actions when a policy violation is detected, including alerting and encrypting data.
Identifying sensitive data and preventing it from being transmitted to the wrong parties is a core requirement of a DLP security solution. However, it’s important to remember that the DLP tool is only one piece of a cybersecurity puzzle. The best DLP security software provides robust features that address an organization’s entire data lifecycle. The first step is to conduct a comprehensive inventory and assessment of an enterprise’s data. This will help to discover where sensitive data is stored and how it’s transferred. In addition, it will uncover any endpoints the DLP solution needs to protect from attack. Next, businesses should classify the data so they know what to look for. A DLP solution can help by automatically identifying and categorizing sensitive information. This is essential, as it can be difficult for human eyes to recognize what’s considered sensitive. Once organizations have classified their data, they can create policies for handling it. These policies should be based on both risk and business necessity. For example, a policy may require that all personally identifiable information (PII) be encrypted when it’s being transferred externally. This will ensure that even if the data is intercepted, it will not be usable by hackers.
Sophisticated attackers conduct targeted cyber attacks to steal sensitive information. DLP solutions prevent data exfiltration by detecting suspicious data transfer, blocking it, and alerting security teams. This is particularly important because data loss can lead to costly lawsuits, regulatory non-compliance fines, and exposure to intellectual property. The DLP tool’s central management capabilities also help organizations comply with evolving global regulations. DLP tools can monitor data at rest and in motion, in the cloud, or on local storage devices. They can detect PII (personally identifiable information), financial information, public data, and other sensitive categories of information. They can use a taxonomy to define a set of stringent protection protocols for each category and alert employees of activities that might violate the policies. To choose the best DLP solution, ITDMs should consider what they want to defend against – internal or external threats. External Attack Surface Management can also help assess and mitigate external threats effectively. Do they need the ability to perform content inspection and contextual scanning of unstructured data? Do they need protection for data at rest and in transit? What are their required technology integrations and deployment timeframes?
A DLP solution ensures that sensitive data does not leave the network where it belongs. This ensures compliance with regulations like GDPR, PCI-DSS, and others that require data monitoring at rest and in transit.
This data includes personal information such as names, addresses, emails, and financial information such as bank account numbers and credit card numbers. It also includes other sensitive content such as trade secrets, research and development findings, and intellectual property. This data is often the target of attackers for financial gain, corporate espionage, and other malicious activities. As organizations produce more and more data, protecting that data at all costs is essential. This is especially true when adversaries are active in the form of sophisticated hackers who seek financial gain, corporate espionage, or political influence. Adversaries can attack the business from inside or outside the network, resulting in data breaches affecting millions of users. A DLP system can detect when sensitive data is being shared, intentionally or unintentionally, and take action to prevent the data from leaving the network, such as logging for auditing purposes, displaying a warning to the employee, and blocking access or transmission of the data. This can help mitigate the impact of large-scale data breaches. It can also protect the company from lawsuits from those whose data is lost due to negligence or malicious activity.
In a time when cyber threats are evolving faster than ever, CISOs need DLP solutions that can automate their monitoring and blocking capabilities. This allows security teams to focus on other priorities and prevents the human factor from compromising systems and processes. A robust DLP program monitors data at rest and in transit across multiple digital touchpoints such as laptops, servers, cloud applications, IoT devices, and remote endpoints. It can scan for sensitive information that could be sent in a file or copied to USB, for example, and block it before it leaves the network. It also can detect unauthorized network access and alert security teams to possible breaches. DLP solutions use various methods to find sensitive information, such as file checksum analysis (using hashing algorithms to identify changes), partial data matching, dictionary terms or lexicon matches, and statistical analysis. They can also use machine learning to detect and categorize unstructured data such as documents, templates, and forms. The key to successful DLP is ensuring a business understands its sensitive data. This starts with a complete inventory and assessment of all data assets, then establishing policies to determine how to handle each data type. It’s recommended that businesses prioritize their most valuable assets. It’s also essential to have a centralized DLP program, as implementing different plans across departments and business units will result in inconsistent protections and a lack of visibility.