Proofpoint DLP: Features, Pros, Cons & Alternatives
Information Technology

Proofpoint DLP: Features, Pros, Cons & Alternatives

Data breaches are a major risk for businesses today. To prevent sensitive data from falling into the wrong hands, many organizations rely on data loss prevention (DLP) tools like Proofpoint DLP.  

Proofpoint is an extensive DLP solution to safeguard against different types of insider threats and external attacks that could expose confidential information. This guide provides an in-depth look at Proofpoint DLP’s key features, pros and cons, and alternative options. By the end, you’ll understand if Proofpoint DLP is the proper data protection fit for your business needs or if another solution may be better suited.

About Proofpoint

Proofpoint, Inc., is a leading cybersecurity company known for its people-centric approach. It’s renowned for its efforts in safeguarding organizations against targeted threats, data loss, and building user resilience to withstand cyber attacks. 

One of its core offerings, Proofpoint Enterprise Data Loss Prevention solution, provides a centralized platform for managing data loss prevention across an organization’s entire infrastructure. This enables organizations to implement consistent policies and enforce data protection rules across multiple vectors. 

Other DLP solutions offered by Proofpoint include:

  • Email DLP: Proofpoint’s Email Data Loss Prevention software is designed to mitigate the risk of data breaches via email. It can identify and analyze regulated data, detect data exfiltration attempts, and automate compliance with data protection regulations. It’s integrated with Proofpoint Enterprise DLP, which brings together Proofpoint’s market-leading DLP solutions for email, cloud, and endpoint.
  • Cloud App Security Broker (CASB): Proofpoint’s CASB solution helps safeguard cloud apps that house sensitive data and protects users from cloud threats. It can discover and protect regulated data in the cloud with out-of-the-box policies, identify high-risk users, and address data risks from negligent, compromised, or malicious insiders.
  • Insider Threat Management (ITM) & Endpoint DLP: This solution focuses on managing insider threats and reducing data loss risk at the endpoint level. It can identify risky user behavior and data interactions, prevent insider-led security incidents, and enable faster response to user-caused incidents involving data exfiltration.
  • Web Security: Proofpoint Web Security combines web threat protection with data loss prevention capabilities for employees browsing the web. It guards against malware, ransomware, and phishing attacks while providing real-time DLP monitoring for personal webmail, unapproved SaaS apps, and other web channels.

What is Proofpoint DLP?

Proofpoint DLP is a comprehensive data loss prevention solution that combines advanced data classification, content inspection, and user activity monitoring to identify, monitor, and protect sensitive data across various channels, including email, cloud applications, and endpoints. 

This product leverages an adaptive human-centric approach to combat sophisticated malicious user activities, such as spear phishing attacks, exfiltration attempts, and the mishandling of sensitive content. Proofpoint DLP also provides real-time monitoring, incident response capabilities, and flexible policy management, allowing organizations to mitigate data leakage risks, comply with regulations, and enhance overall data security posture.

Key Proofpoint DLP Features

Proofpoint offers several helpful features, which include:

  • User Monitoring: Proofpoint collects telemetry on user interactions with data on the endpoint, such as manipulating file types, renaming files with sensitive data, or attempting to move sensitive data.
  • File Monitoring: Monitors file activity like uploads, copies, prints, downloads, and email attachments, providing visibility into data interactions and exfiltration.
  • Screen Capture: Proofpoint can capture screenshots of the user’s activity, providing irrefutable evidence of malicious or careless behavior.
  • Incident Investigation: The unified console streamlines investigations, allowing security teams to correlate alerts, manage incidents, and hunt for threats across multiple channels.
  • Flexible Rules Engine: Users can create tailored rules and triggers or adapt pre-built threat scenarios based on user groups, apps, data sensitivity, and more.
  • Pre-built Alert Library: Proofpoint includes out-of-the-box libraries of alerts for risky data movement, interactions, and insider threat behavior, enabling faster time to value.
  • Content Scanning & Data Classification: The solution can identify sensitive data in motion by scanning content and reading data classification labels, leveraging existing investments in data classification.

Proofpoint DLP Pros

Because Proofpoint offers comprehensive protection against insider threats and data exfiltration, it offers several advantages:

  • Get visibility into risky behavior: You can identify users whose behavior could put your company at risk, whether it’s via misdirected emails, unauthorized emails, or spear phishing attacks. This helps with incident response, especially when your security and compliance teams have limited resources.
  • Accelerate investigations with irrefutable evidence: Proofpoint streamlines investigations by providing a unified console with intuitive visualizations, timeline-based views, and exportable PDF records with screenshot evidence and related context. This helps non-technical teams easily interpret the data for forensic investigations.
  • Easy deployment and a lightweight endpoint agent: The solution offers a lightweight endpoint agent that can be rapidly deployed, achieving quick time to value. The agent provides flexibility to monitor every day and risky users, adjusting the amount and types of data collected based on risk levels.

Where Proofpoint DLP Falls Short

Proofpoint’s DLP solution is popular for organizations seeking to mitigate insider threats and prevent data breaches. However, like any software, it has its limitations, and organizations should be aware of these shortcomings to make informed decisions about their data security strategies.

Limited Monitoring Channels

Proofpoint’s DLP primarily focuses on email, endpoint, and web traffic monitoring. However, it lacks comprehensive coverage for other critical data channels such as cloud services and instant messaging platforms. This limited scope leaves blind spots that insiders or external threats can exploit.

No Geolocation Tracking

Proofpoint DLP does not provide geolocation tracking capabilities, which can be critical for identifying and mitigating risks associated with remote workers or suspicious activities from high-risk locations. Organizations may struggle to enforce location-based data access policies without this feature and respond effectively to potential threats.

No Real-Time Alerts

While Proofpoint DLP can generate reports and notifications, it does not offer real-time alerting capabilities. This delay in incident detection can be problematic, as it increases the risk of data loss or unauthorized access going unnoticed for extended periods, potentially amplifying the impact of a breach.

Lacking Audit & Forensics Features

Proofpoint’s DLP solution lacks robust audit and forensics features, essential for effectively investigating and responding to data loss incidents. Without comprehensive audit trails and forensic analysis tools, organizations may find it challenging to identify the root cause of incidents, assess the extent of data exposure, and take appropriate remediation measures.

No Remote Desktop Control 

Proofpoint DLP does not provide remote desktop control capabilities, which can be critical for responding to and containing potential data breaches or insider threats. Without the ability to remotely access and control endpoints, organizations may face delays and difficulties in mitigating ongoing incidents or preventing further data loss.

Lacking OCR Features

Optical Character Recognition (OCR) is an important feature of DLP solutions, as it enables the scanning and analysis of text within images and documents. However, Proofpoint’s DLP lacks robust OCR capabilities, limiting its ability to detect and prevent data loss through visual content.

6 Alternatives to Proofpoint DLP

While Proofpoint’s DLP solution is widely adopted, it may not meet the specific requirements of all organizations. Fortunately, several Proofpoint alternatives exist that offer similar or enhanced data loss prevention capabilities, addressing the limitations of Proofpoint.

Teramind

Teramind is a comprehensive employee monitoring and insider threat detection software that enables organizations to monitor end-users’ computer activity, track digital behaviors, and identify potential risks, threats, or policy violations through behavior analytics.

Teramind combines user activity monitoring, data loss prevention, and user and entity behavior analytics (UEBA) to provide a holistic approach to data security. It offers real-time monitoring, sensitive data classification, productivity optimization tools, and detailed audit and forensics capabilities.

Key Features

  • Employee Monitoring: Comprehensive monitoring of user activities, including email, web browsing, application usage, and more.
  • UEBA: Advanced user and entity behavior analytics to detect anomalies and potential insider threats.
  • Remote Desktop Control: Ability for IT administrators to take control of compromised endpoints for real-time remediation.
  • Real-time Alerts & Prevention: Automated alerts and preventive actions based on customizable rules and policies.
  • Screen Recording & Playback: High video-quality session recordings for forensic investigations and productivity analysis.

Read the full Proofpoint vs. Teramind comparison.

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Code42 Incydr

Code42 Incydr is an insider risk management solution that provides visibility, context, and controls to detect and respond to data exposure and exfiltration across endpoints, cloud services, and email. It uses a lightweight agent supporting Windows, Mac, and Linux and API monitoring for cloud apps to detect file movement via browsers, USB, email, link sharing, and more. 

Incydr prioritizes risks based on over 60 contextual risk indicators related to files, data movement vectors, and user behaviors. It allows tailoring the response spectrum from educating employees on mistakes to investigating anomalies to blocking unacceptable activities. It also offers risk dashboards for visibility into data exposure, training gaps, and policy compliance. 

DTEX Systems

DTEX InTERCEPT is a zero-trust, people-centric endpoint DLP solution designed for distributed digital enterprises. It addresses shortcomings of traditional data-centric DLP by providing better contextual awareness, behavioral analytics, regulatory reporting, IP protection, and risk-adaptive automated enforcement.

DTEX employs AI/ML to baseline acceptable user behavior by role/department and detect deviations preceding data loss events. It provides lightweight, continuous monitoring across Windows, Mac, and Linux endpoints on/off the network, collecting over 500 data elements for real-time behavioral forensics. It also profiles data sensitivity based on file lineage, location, and user role rather than error-prone content patterns, reducing false positives. 

Forcepoint DLP

Forcepoint DLP provides comprehensive data protection across all channels – endpoints, cloud apps, web, email, networks, and even custom/private applications. It accelerates compliance through over 1700 pre-built policies, templates, and classifiers covering 83 countries. 

Forcepoint leverages advanced detection capabilities like OCR, PII identification, encryption detection, cumulative drip analysis, and generative AI models. It also identifies and prioritizes high-risk data incidents through analytics that detect risky user behavior changes related to data.

Symantec DLP

Symantec Data Loss Prevention provides comprehensive discovery, monitoring, and protection capabilities to prevent data breaches and safeguard an organization’s sensitive data. It can discover where data lives across cloud, email, web, endpoints, and storage repositories, and monitors how it’s being used on and off the corporate network. 

It also protects data in real-time from being exposed or stolen across these channels. Symantec DLP provides unified management through a single console and robust detection capabilities, such as content matching, fingerprinting, and machine learning.

Digital Guardian

Digital Guardian provides a robust platform to protect critical data and intellectual property across an organization. It offers fast deployment with out-of-the-box policies and dashboards for immediate visibility into DLP actions and data risks. It also covers hybrid environments including Windows, macOS, Linux, browsers, and applications to eliminate protection gaps. 

The Digital Guardian platform also consists of endpoint DLP for deep visibility into system, user, and data events, a cloud analytics and reporting component (ARC), and network DLP to monitor and control sensitive data flows. This integrates with existing security tools and cloud applications. 

Trellix

Trellix offers several DLP products to protect different data loss vectors. Its endpoint product safeguards workstations and servers from data exfiltration through discovery, classification, coaching, monitoring, and blocking. Its network products detect and prevent leaks over networks, email, and web using data matching and information capture. 

Its discovery product finds and classifies sensitive data across networks and repositories using data matching and classification. These products can be packaged into suites tailored for addressing insider threats, compliance, ransomware, and other risks.

Conclusion

Protecting sensitive data is paramount for organizations, and choosing the right data loss prevention solution is crucial. While Proofpoint DLP offers robust capabilities, solutions like Teramind, Code42 Incydr, and DTEX Systems provide expanded monitoring coverage, advanced user behavior analytics, robust forensics and audit trails, and enhanced incident response features. 

FAQs

What is DLP Proofpoint?

Proofpoint DLP is a comprehensive solution offered by Proofpoint that helps organizations protect sensitive data from being exposed or stolen. It provides advanced capabilities like content matching, fingerprinting, and machine learning to detect and prevent data loss across channels such as email, web, and cloud applications.

What is the difference between DLP and ITM Proofpoint?

Proofpoint DLP is a data loss prevention solution that protects sensitive data from exposure or theft. Proofpoint ITM refers to its advanced threat intelligence and response platform, which helps organizations detect, analyze, and respond to insider threats.

What is DLP in email security?

DLP in email security refers to Data Loss Prevention, a technology that helps organizations identify and prevent sensitive information from being leaked or misused through email communications. It involves monitoring and detecting potential data breaches, enforcing policies, and safeguarding sensitive data from unauthorized access or disclosure.

What is the difference between DLP and endpoint DLP?

Endpoint DLP is a specific type of DLP solution that focuses on protecting data on endpoint devices like laptops, desktops, and mobile devices. It helps organizations prevent data loss and leakage through comprehensive endpoint monitoring, policy enforcement, and encryption.

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