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

Symantec DLP: Features, Pros, Cons & Alternatives

Data security is a critical concern for organizations in the current digital environment. As data breaches and cyber threats continue to rise, companies require effective solutions to protect their sensitive information. 

Enter Symantec Data Loss Prevention (DLP), a data protection platform designed to help businesses identify, track, and secure their important data across multiple channels, such as endpoints, networks, storage systems, and cloud applications. This article will delve into Symantec DLP’s key features, pros, cons, and alternatives, providing valuable insights for organizations considering implementing a data loss prevention solution.

What is Symantec DLP?

Symantec DLP is a data protection solution that enables organizations to identify, monitor, and secure their sensitive data throughout its lifecycle. The platform leverages advanced technologies such as machine learning, image recognition, and content-aware detection to accurately identify and classify sensitive data. 

It allows organizations to define and enforce granular data protection policies, monitor data usage, provide endpoint security, and respond to potential data loss incidents in real-time. Symantec DLP also integrates with a wide range of enterprise systems and applications, enabling seamless data protection across the entire IT ecosystem.

Broadcom, a global technology leader, acquired Symantec’s entire enterprise security business in 2019. As a result, Symantec DLP is now part of Broadcom’s extensive portfolio of security solutions. Broadcom continues to invest in and enhance the capabilities of Symantec DLP, ensuring that it remains at the forefront of data loss prevention technology.

Features

  1. Data Loss Prevention: Symantec DLP offers complete discovery, monitoring, and protection capabilities for data in use across multiple channels, including email, cloud applications, network protocols, external storage devices, and virtual desktops and servers.
  2. Cloud Data Protection: The platform offers robust cloud data protection features, integrating with popular cloud applications to secure sensitive data in the cloud.
  3. Real-time Alerts: Symantec DLP generates real-time alerts and notifications when potential data loss incidents are detected, enabling quick response and remediation.
  4. Protect Data in Motion: The solution can monitor and protect data in motion, including email, web traffic, and network communications.
  5. OCR & Document Matching: Symantec DLP utilizes optical character recognition (OCR) and document matching techniques to detect sensitive data within images and scanned documents.

Pros

Symantec DLP offers several advantages that make it a compelling choice for organizations seeking a comprehensive data protection solution. Let’s explore some of the key pros:

Robust Endpoint Protection

The platform offers comprehensive monitoring and control over data on endpoints, detecting and preventing unauthorized access, copying, or transmission, even when offline or outside the corporate network. Symantec DLP’s lightweight endpoint agent can be easily deployed across numerous endpoints, providing granular policy controls that allow organizations to define specific rules and actions based on data sensitivity, user roles, and other criteria.

Multiple Deployment Options

Symantec DLP offers flexibility in deployment options to cater to the diverse needs of organizations. It can be deployed on-premises, in the cloud, or a hybrid model. The on-premises deployment allows organizations to have full control over their data and infrastructure, while the cloud deployment offers scalability and ease of management.

Support for Predefined and Custom Content

Symantec DLP has an extensive library of predefined data identifiers and policy templates covering various sensitive data types and compliance regulations. These predefined content sets include data patterns for personally identifiable information (PII), financial data, healthcare records, intellectual property, and more.

Real-time Blocking

Symantec DLP provides real-time blocking capabilities to prevent unauthorized data exfiltration and accidental exposure by inexperienced cloud users. When a potential data loss incident is detected, the platform can automatically block the transmission of sensitive data, whether it’s through email, web uploads, file transfers, or other channels.

Accurate Data Protection

Symantec DLP provides accurate data protection by scanning endpoints, network file shares, databases, and other data repositories to give complete data visibility and control over sensitive information. The platform leverages advanced content-aware detection technologies like Exact Data Matching, Indexed Document Matching, Described Content Matching, File-type Detection, and Sensitive Image Recognition to effectively identify confidential data while minimizing false positives and false negatives. 

Cons

While Symantec DLP is a well-known solution for data loss prevention, it has some significant limitations that may not make it the best fit for every organization. Some of its drawbacks include:

Requires Too Many Add-ons

One of the main issues with Symantec DLP is that its basic features are quite limited. To unlock the full potential of the platform and access all the necessary DLP capabilities, organizations often need to invest in numerous add-ons from the Symantec/Broadcom ecosystem. This can quickly become expensive, as each additional feature comes at a cost. Also, managing multiple add-ons can be complex and time-consuming, requiring dedicated resources and expertise.

Doesn’t Integrate Well with Broadcom Products

Since Symantec’s acquisition by Broadcom, many users have reported difficulties in integrating Symantec’s products with Broadcom’s offerings. Despite being under the same umbrella, the integration process often requires significant manual work and may necessitate implementation support from the vendor. This lack of seamless integration can lead to increased costs, delayed deployments, and a suboptimal user experience.

Limited Monitoring Capabilities

Symantec DLP falls short when it comes to comprehensive monitoring capabilities. While it can monitor basic channels like email and web traffic, it lacks the ability to monitor other critical channels such as social media. This limited monitoring scope can create blind spots in your data protection strategy, leaving your organization vulnerable to data leaks through unmonitored channels.

Basic Insider Threat Prevention

Symantec DLP provides only basic insider threat prevention features. It lacks advanced capabilities such as user & entity behavior analytics (UEBA), which can help detect anomalous or suspicious user activities that may indicate insider threats.

Limited App Coverage

Another drawback of Symantec DLP is its limited coverage of applications. It primarily focuses on monitoring traditional applications and may not provide comprehensive protection for specialized software or industry-specific tools. 

No Remote Desktop Control

Symantec DLP lacks remote desktop control functionality, which can slow incident response times when investigating potential data breaches or suspicious activities detected on user desktops.

No UEBA Support

User and Entity Behavior Analytics (UEBA) is critical to modern data protection strategies. However, Symantec DLP does not provide native UEBA support. This absence of UEBA capabilities limits the solution’s ability to detect and respond to subtle, long-term insider threats that may manifest through gradual changes in user behavior. 

Captures Screenshots but Doesn’t Record Screens

While Symantec DLP can capture screenshots of user activity, it does not provide full screen recording capabilities. Screenshots alone may not provide the necessary context and detail required for thorough investigations and forensic analysis. The lack of screen recording functionality can hinder the ability to reconstruct events, understand user actions, and gather evidence during a data breach or insider threat incident.

8 Alternatives to Symantec DLP

Symantec DLP is a popular solution for protecting sensitive content, but it may not always be the best fit for every organization. Here are 8 alternatives to Symantec that offer robust data protection capabilities:

  1. Teramind
  2. Proofpoint DLP
  3. DTEX inTERCEPT
  4. Code42 Incydr
  5. Trellix DLP
  6. Nightfall DLP
  7. Digital Guardian
  8. Endpoint Protector DLP

1. Teramind

Our solution, Teramind, is an all-in-one platform that combines insider threat prevention, behavioral data loss prevention, employee monitoring, and productivity optimization capabilities. By providing granular visibility into user activities and leveraging advanced behavior analytics, Teramind enables organizations to proactively detect and respond to potential security risks, ensure compliance with data protection regulations, and improve overall operational efficiency.

Our platform offers comprehensive core features, including real-time monitoring, rule-based alerting, automated response actions, and detailed reporting. These empower security teams to effectively manage insider threats and prevent data breaches. Teramind’s user-centric approach and customizable policies allow organizations to balance security and productivity, fostering a secure and efficient work environment.

Features

  • Data Loss Prevention: Teramind’s DLP module monitors and controls data exfiltration attempts across various channels, such as email, removable media, and cloud storage.
  • Employee Monitoring: Teramind provides a comprehensive view of employee activities by monitoring and recording actions across applications, websites, emails, and file transfers, enabling organizations to detect and address unproductive or risky behavior.
  • User & Entity Behavior Analytics (UEBA): By analyzing user behavior patterns and identifying deviations from established baselines, Teramind’s UEBA capabilities help detect insider threats, compromised accounts, and other suspicious activities.
  • Remote Desktop Control: Teramind allows administrators to remotely access and control user desktops, facilitating troubleshooting, providing real-time assistance, and enabling immediate intervention in case of security incidents.
  • Real-time Alerts & Prevention: The platform generates instant alerts based on predefined rules and thresholds, notifying security teams of potential threats or policy violations and automatically triggering preventive actions to mitigate risks.
  • Screen Recording & Playback: Teramind captures video recordings of user sessions, allowing administrators to review and analyze employee activity, investigate incidents, and gather evidence for regulatory compliance or legal purposes.
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2. Proofpoint DLP

Proofpoint DLP is a modern, people-centric solution designed to address the full spectrum of data loss scenarios arising from negligent, compromised, or malicious users. By integrating DLP capabilities across email, cloud applications, and endpoints, Proofpoint delivers a unified feature-rich platform that combines content inspection, behavioral analysis, and threat intelligence to identify and prevent data breaches effectively.

Features

  • Cross-Channel Policy Enforcement: Proofpoint DLP enables the consistent application of data protection policies across multiple channels, simplifying management and reducing administrative overhead.
  • Advanced Content Matching: The solution employs advanced content matching techniques, such as data matching, indexed document matching, and OCR, to accurately detect sensitive data in various formats, including images.
  • Accelerated Time-to-Value: Proofpoint DLP’s cloud-native architecture, unified administration, and expert-led services enable rapid deployment and faster return on investment, ensuring organizations can swiftly enhance their data protection posture.

Read more: Proofpoint vs. Teramind.

3. DTEX inTERCEPT

DTEX inTERCEPT represents a paradigm shift in workforce cyber security, focusing on understanding human behavior and intent to identify and mitigate insider risks proactively. The platform unifies various security capabilities, including insider threat management, user activity monitoring, and behavioral analytics, into a lightweight, cloud-based solution that can be easily deployed across an organization’s endpoints and servers. 

By collecting and analyzing metadata rather than intrusive data sources, DTEX inTERCEPT maintains employee privacy while providing security teams with the necessary context to detect, investigate, and respond to potential internal and external threats. 

Features

  • Continuous Endpoint Monitoring: DTEX inTERCEPT provides real-time visibility into user activities across all endpoints, both on and off the corporate network, enabling early detection of suspicious behavior and potential security risks.
  • Behavioral Anomaly Detection: By establishing baseline user behavior profiles and leveraging machine learning algorithms, DTEX inTERCEPT can accurately identify deviations and anomalies that may indicate insider threats or compromised accounts.
  • Scalable and Privacy-Compliant: The platform’s lightweight architecture allows organizations to monitor their entire workforce without impacting endpoint performance, while its metadata-based approach ensures compliance with data privacy regulations.

Read more: The 7 Best DTEX Alternatives.

4. Code42 Incydr

Code42 Incydr is an insider risk management solution that combines endpoint monitoring, cloud app security, and email protection to create a holistic defense against insider threats. By leveraging a lightweight agent and cloud-native architecture, Incydr can be deployed rapidly without the need for extensive configuration or policy fine-tuning. Its user-centric approach prioritizes employee productivity while ensuring that sensitive data remains secure across all channels.

Features

  • Forensic Search: Incydr enables security analysts to investigate data exposure incidents using a comprehensive, cloud-based metadata index without impacting device performance.
  • Watchlists: The software allows organizations to apply enhanced monitoring and automated workflows to high-risk users, such as departing employees or contractors, to mitigate data theft.
  • Incydr Ecosystem Integrations: Code42 Incydr offers pre-built integrations with popular security tools, including SOAR, SIEM, IAM, and endpoint detection and response (EDR)/ extended detection and response (XDR) platforms, to streamline incident response and enable coordinated data protection.

Read more: The 10 Best Code42 Incydr Alternatives.

5. Trellix DLP

Trellix DLP combines content analysis, user behavior monitoring, and policy-based enforcement to detect and prevent data breaches in real-time. With support for a wide range of data types and file formats, Trellix DLP helps organizations maintain compliance with regulatory frameworks and industry standards.

Features

  • Centralized Management: Trellix DLP integrates with the ePolicy Orchestrator (ePO) platform, enabling unified policy management, incident response, and reporting across the entire DLP deployment.
  • Compliance Enforcement: With pre-built policy templates and extensive reporting capabilities, Trellix DLP helps organizations demonstrate compliance with regulations such as GDPR, HIPAA, and PCI-DSS.
  • Advanced Classification: Trellix DLP leverages fingerprinting, machine learning, and custom classifications to accurately identify and protect sensitive data, including intellectual property and unstructured content.

6. Nightfall DLP

Nightfall DLP is an AI-powered data loss prevention platform designed to address the unique security challenges of the cloud era. By combining advanced machine learning, an intuitive user interface, and extensive integration capabilities, Nightfall streamlines the process of discovering, classifying, and securing sensitive data across a wide range of cloud services and applications.

Features

  • API-based Integration: Nightfall’s API-first architecture enables smooth integration with a vast ecosystem of cloud services, allowing organizations to extend DLP protection to their existing SaaS applications and workflows.
  • Customizable Policies: Nightfall provides a flexible policy engine that allows security teams to define and customize DLP rules based on their organization’s specific data protection requirements and compliance obligations.
  • Actionable Insights: Nightfall generates detailed insights and analytics on data usage, risk exposure, and policy effectiveness, empowering security teams to make data-driven decisions and continuously optimize their DLP strategy.

7. Digital Guardian

Digital Guardian offers a holistic data protection solution that empowers organizations to discover, monitor, and secure sensitive data across endpoints, networks, and cloud platforms. By leveraging advanced classification techniques, behavioral analytics, and real-time controls, Digital Guardian helps mid-sized and large businesses mitigate the risk of data breaches and maintain compliance with industry regulations.

Features

  • Data Classification: Automatically locates and identifies sensitive data, applying labels to classify and determine how the data is handled, enabling more efficient and targeted data protection efforts.
  • Managed Security Programs: Offers data protection as a service through a team of security experts who act as a remote extension of the organization, providing 24/7 threat hunting, incident response, and compliance support.
  • Cloud Data Protection: Extends enterprise data protection policies to leading cloud storage providers, enabling encryption, removal, or other automated remediation actions to secure sensitive data in the cloud.

8. Endpoint Protector DLP

Endpoint Protector is an enterprise-grade DLP solution that offers robust protection against insider threats and data breaches. With its cross-platform compatibility and flexible deployment options, the software is well-suited for organizations operating in multi-OS environments, including thin clients and desktop-as-a-service (DaaS) solutions.

Features

  • Device Control: Enables administrators to monitor, control, and restrict access to USB drives, printers, Bluetooth devices, and other peripheral ports to prevent data theft and loss.
  • Content-Aware Protection: Monitors and controls data in motion, allowing organizations to define policies based on file types, applications, predefined content, custom content, and regular expressions.
  • eDiscovery: Scans data at rest on network endpoints and applies remediation actions, such as encryption or deletion, when confidential data is detected on unauthorized computers.

Conclusion

While Symantec DLP is a recognized name in data loss prevention, it has certain drawbacks that may not make it the optimal choice for every organization. Fortunately, superior alternatives, such as Teramind (yes, we’re biased), stand out as the best option. 

Other notable alternatives include DTEX InTERCEPT, Code42 Incydr, and Proofpoint, each offering more comprehensive DLP capabilities tailored to meet the specific needs of businesses looking to effectively safeguard their sensitive data.

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