5 Practices That Will Improve Your Team’s Data Loss Prevention Strategy
You’ve probably heard this phrase from the IT department or maybe the company’s CISO: data loss prevention is the responsibility of everyone in an organization. The reason it’s repeated so often? It’s true. While data loss prevention strategy and decisions are often handled by executives and IT managers, it’s up to everyone using enterprise data to ensure it’s handled safely.
For heads of departments and team leaders, answering the data loss prevention call doesn’t have to be without benefits to your workflows. In fact, when a team actively participates in creating a data loss prevention strategy, the team as a whole improves its focus and works more productively and efficiently. Team leaders looking to improve their employees’ focus on work can do so through implementing data loss prevention practices.
Monitor Productivity with Endpoint DLP Software
An endpoint-based data loss prevention software protects data that’s in-use on a user’s machine. Endpoint solutions differ from storage-based or network-based DLP solutions because they are installed on the end user’s system (the employee) and monitor the user’s behavior. For team leaders, this data loss prevention solution is particularly helpful because it not only tracks the way company data is being used, in some cases it can also monitor other employee activities like idle time and productivity. Employee monitoring software, for example, doubles as data loss prevention software and an employee surveillance tool.
Endpoint data loss prevention software can give managers and team leaders a head’s up on suspicious employee behavior while also collecting valuable data on employee productivity. Monitored employees are less likely to mishandle company data and spend more time on assignments. If they do take a misstep in their data handling or productivity, many endpoint DLP providers can immediately notify system administrators or the users themselves. Say an employee has been emailing with a suspicious email address then one day attaches a file to send them. Endpoint data loss software catches this in real-time and instantly sends an alert out. Tools like this keep employees steer clear of risky or vulnerable data handling behaviors while keeping them conscious of their time spent away from work.
Moderating Risky Websites Decreases Internet Distractions
Basic web applications are the second leading cause for data breaches and data incidents in general. Malicious web apps are like a gateway for hackers, who use the websites to steal credentials or get access to a system in order to do further damage, like steal data and personal identifying information. Since almost everyone reuses passwords, stolen credentials could spell big trouble for a company system. Almost a quarter of the organizations surveyed by Verizon for their report 2021 Data Breach Insights suffered security breaches related to web applications. Limiting the use of nonwork-related websites is the easiest way to protect against this type of threat.
Not having access to every website isn’t a bad thing for employees’ focus either. To say the least, the internet is as much of a distraction as a tool. Moderating access to intrusive websites provides another layer of security to company data while helping employees stay on track. A total blackout of the internet though can be too much of a good thing and create a sense of distrust among employees. Fortunately, website restriction can be done in a protective but empathetic way. For instance, blocking websites on company machines but allowing access on personal devices helps protect the company network but still gives employees a sense of freedom. This way, with less opportunity for interruptions, employees are able to better focus on work and are less likely to fall victim to a malicious web app attack.
DLP Education & Training Saves On Downtime
Even though malicious cyberattacks by outsiders have been on the rise, data loss caused by human error or employee negligence still makes up a sizable portion of data loss incidents. Data security education and training is crucial for a data loss prevention strategy or plan to be successful. With proper data handling training, employees become another line of defense against data loss. Growing data regulations also make it important for employees to be educated on data best-practices. Knowing how to compliantly handle data not only protects the data itself, it protects the organization as a whole from costly fines and penalties.
Most of the time, employees don’t even realize the data they’re working with is sensitive but training fixes that. Data loss education covers the types of data being used, how to properly handle it, what data compliance means and prepares employees for a data loss event. Proper training in those areas decreases the vulnerability of the data and chances of it being misused. Team leaders also benefit from investing time in data loss prevention education for their team. Data educated employees spend less time responding to data audits and data loss incidents and are able to focus more time on the actual tasks at hand. Say for instance a data loss incident does occur. A team educated and trained in how to respond will experience less downtime and be able to rebound from the event more efficiently.
Reduce Employee Stress with Secure Data Practices
Employee education is great for preparing your team, but it can only go so far without adequate systems in place. Putting a system into place that protects data sharing between team members decreases the data’s vulnerability and safeguards the data your department handles. Human errors account for almost 25% of data loss events. Creating a secure, in-team data transfer data process lowers the risk of human error related data incidents.
For instance, throwing a file on a flash drive and passing it to a coworker might be quick but puts the file at greater risk. A flash drive containing enterprise data can easily be misplaced or left unattended. Establishing a safe standard for file transfers within the department erases this threat and boosts the confidence and focus of your team. Although data loss prevention is important, it can easily create added stress for your team. Secure data processes help curb the added stress of data handling and allows employees to concentrate on tasks in a safe data environment.
Data Accountability Partners Promotes Team Success
The buddy system as a safety practice works in tons of different situations and data loss prevention is no different. Assigning accountability partners keeps employees honest when it comes to their data practices and protects against a different type of malicious data loss—insider threats. Insider threats account for just 7% of all data breaches, but they have the potential to be far more damaging. Internal access gives hostile employees a power-up when it comes to data threats. Accountability partners protect against this. Acting as eyes on the ground and bringing attention to any suspicious behavioral changes, the buddy system here helps identify threats before the damage can be done. Even when an insider threat isn’t present, these partnerships remind employees to treat and handle data responsibility.
Look at departing employees as an example. Maybe they weren’t hostile during their time with the company, but now that they’re leaving they’d like to take some privileged company data to help them out at their next job. An accountability partner would be the fist to get wind of this and save the data from being exfiltrated. Other than data security, though, accountability partners have proven to be a tool for success. Working closely with a team member keeps employees on track and helps them stay focused on their goals and refrain from making impulsive decisions.
While a data loss prevention strategy concentrates on protecting enterprise data, individual teams can benefit in ways beyond securing their data. Each step taken to securely handle data by a team comes with its own advantages. Through data loss prevention, team leaders benefit from a better focused and more efficient team while employees enjoy a collaborative, distraction free environment that promotes their own success. When team leaders make an effort to focus on data protection and security within their own department, the combined effect is an improvement across all processes.
Harness Data & Analytics With Teramind
Empowering your team to be more focused, decisive and productive is no easy task. Managers and team leads need clear metrics to manage their teams efficiently, but all of the data can be overwhelming. Teramind fills the missing gap in existing employee monitoring solutions by translating raw tracking data into meaningful metrics that can help you make data-driven decisions.
But don’t just take our word for it…