How Data Loss Prevention Minimized Risk of Breaches

How Data Loss Prevention Minimizes Risk of Breaches

Data in motion is data at risk — which means an awful lot of data is at risk these days. The rise of remote and hybrid work models means an unprecedented amount of important company data is regularly moving back and forth between home offices, cloud platforms and corporate networks.

There’s always a chance that data in transit could wind up in the wrong hands through interception, unauthorized access or accidental delivery to the wrong person. In fact, 74 percent of organizations say they have experienced an increased number of data breaches related to remote work, according to a recent Cite Research report.

Most of these breaches are unintentional, usually stemming from misdirected emails or text messages. However, even simple errors such as mistyping an email address or attaching the wrong file can have potentially disastrous consequences, ranging from financial loss to compliance penalties.

DLP Helps Stop Leaks

With remote operations likely to remain common for the near future, more organizations are investing in data loss prevention (DLP) solutions that identify and interrupt activities that could result in data loss or leakage. A new report from ResearchAndMarkets anticipates the DLP market will experience an annual growth rate of better than 21 percent through 2026.

DLP solutions monitor user devices, email clients, file-sharing services, network gateways and other entry and exit points, taking predefined action when the sharing or transfer of data violates company policies. In addition to helping companies protect their sensitive data, DLP also helps organizations remain compliant with major data privacy standards such as the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), and Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).

DLP can help prevent confidential information such as financial data, trade secrets, credit card numbers, tax documents and medical records from leaving the organization. It can also prevent unauthorized users from downloading or copying data onto USB devices or other unsecured endpoints, and inspect communications to ensure that confidential data is not transmitted via email, instant messaging or collaboration tools.

DLP uses various content-analysis techniques such as rules-based analysis, database fingerprinting and lexicon analysis to discover, monitor and manage sensitive data in transit, at rest or in use. More advanced solutions use artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to predict the likelihood of data loss.

AI-powered DLP solutions monitor user actions to detect activities that fall outside of normal patterns. These systems become more effective as they collect more data and get better at spotting unusual behaviors. This creates greater efficiency by automating much of the evaluation and response functions.

Locating Sensitive Data

Data discovery is another crucial capability of DLP solutions. Few organizations are aware of all the sensitive data that resides on the network, a lack of visibility that contributes to many data loss incidents. Comprehensive DLP solutions include discovery components that identify sensitive data in file servers, databases and e-mail repositories, as well as endpoints such as desktops, laptops and removable storage. They also serve as a central platform for defining, managing and enforcing policies that govern the protection of that data.

There are two main ways to implement DLP protection — either as a standalone software tool, or as part of a comprehensive package of integrated solutions such as next-generation firewalls, intrusion prevention systems or unified threat management platforms. Standalone solutions tend to be more full-featured products geared for enterprise organizations. Integrated solutions allow smaller organizations to gain DLP protections without the overhead and complexity of a dedicated solution.

No matter the approach, DLP is an increasingly important element of a layered security strategy for organizations of all sizes. Contact us to learn more about using DLP to minimize your risk of a breach that could expose your sensitive data.