Data loss prevention (DLP), also known as data leak prevention, is an organizational strategy that is geared towards the practice of detecting and preventing data breaches, unauthorized transfer of information from a system, or unwanted destruction of sensitive data.
Breaking this down even further, the term DLP refers to defending an organization against both data leakage (e.g., illicit transfer of data outside organizational limits) and data loss (e.g., a ransomware attack).
Organizations use DLP strategies to secure and protect their data, and a DLP strategy is also often required by local regulators, including here in Bermuda.
A good Data Loss Prevention (DLP) strategy should at minimum include the following components:
1. Data classification: DLP is only useful if an organization can accurately distinguish between sensitive and non-sensitive information, or in simpler terms, whether the information needs to be protected or not. This can be done manually by applying rules, or automatically via techniques like machine learning. There is a variety of software tools available to assist with reliable and accurate identification of information, also helping to mitigate the risk of human error.
2. Protecting data in motion: This refers to instances where a large amount of data is moved around internally within the organization. This can leave your business vulnerable to external breaches by attackers who rely on this internal movement to reroute the data. The right DLP software can analyse your company’s data traffic to ensure sensitive data is not sent in violation of security policies.
3. Protecting data at rest: This aims to protect sensitive data when it is not moving, such as data that resides in databases, computers, applications, cloud repositories, mobile devices and other means of storage.
4. Securing endpoints: This aspect of your DLP strategy aims to protect data at endpoint device level, extending beyond desktop computers to include laptops, tablets and mobile phones too. It can often block data from being copied or encrypt data as it is being transferred.
5. Data leak detection: There are various software solutions that identify suspicious data transfers and alerts security staff of a possible data leak. This technique involves identifying a standard for normal activity, and then actively searching for unusual behaviour.
Data Loss Protection is a major initiative for most organizations, and without the right IT expertise it can be daunting. At Gnosis, our aim is to help businesses successfully navigate the ever-changing cybersecurity landscape, employing our in-depth expertise and best practices at every step of the process.