How Data Loss Prevention Software Keeps Data Secure
Data is an abundant and vital resource in today’s digital-first business environment, providing unparalleled insights into customer trends, inventory management, employee performance, and more.
While the amount of data collected, stored, aggregated, and analyzed varies drastically by company, it’s estimated that the average enterprise stores 2,000 terabytes of information, an astounding total that’s nearly doubled in the past two years.
Unsurprisingly, this prized resource is also under attack. Cybercriminals, malicious employees, and accidental insiders contribute to thousands of data breaches annually, impacting millions of people and exposing them to financial crimes, identity fraud, and other threats while putting organizational outcomes at risk.
Cybersecurity is an expansive topic, but data breaches and information misuse have a common cause: people. Verizon’s most recent Data Breach Investigations Report found that 82 percent of data breaches or data loss events are caused by the human element, including social attacks, errors, and misuse.
Data Loss Prevention (DLP) solutions can help, bringing powerful technology and analytical insights to keep companies and their customers secure. Continue reading to learn more about DLP and the tools and strategies that can keep your data secure in an increasingly-vulnerable online environment.
What is DLP?
DLP means data loss prevention and it is a process and strategy for ensuring your employees and vendors do not accidentally or intentionally share sensitive information or confidential data outside your organization.
A data leakage protection policy is an effective defense against data breaches, data leaks, IP theft, while providing unique insights into a company’s online environment. The strategy is specifically designed to identify misuse, helping companies,
- Guard against insider threats
- Protect personally identifiable information (PII)
- Safeguard intellectual property
- Achieve data visibility
- Protect a remote or hybrid workforce
- Secure information stored in the cloud.
Simply put, data loss prevention technologies behavior analytics to provide comprehensive security for on-site and cloud-based data storage systems, allowing companies of all sizes to actively guard their information without inundating cybersecurity teams with excessive alerts or incurring high costs.
Why Is DLP Important?
Data breaches come with devastating consequences for companies and their customers. At the same time, consumers and regulators are less forgiving of companies that can’t or won’t protect company and customer information.
Collectively, there are many reasons that DLP solutions are important, including:
Guarding Against Financial loss
IBM’s most recent Cost of a Data Breach study found that data breaches are more expensive than ever before, exceeding $4 million for the first time.
The cost has risen substantially over the past decade, and business leaders shouldn’t expect this expense to decrease anytime soon. As a result, a Gartner survey of Boards of Directors found that 88 percent of respondents consider cybersecurity a business risk, viewing cybersecurity investment as a necessary business expense in a precarious online environment.
Of course, the immediate financial impact is just the beginning. For starters, one survey found that nearly 50 percent of data breach victims said the incident caused significant reputational damage. At the same time, 87 percent of customers say they will consider leaving a company after a data breach, eroding their long-term financial outlook and growth potential while requiring additional investment to revitalize their brand image.
When coupled with potential productivity costs and reputational damage, companies have millions of reasons to prioritize data security and boost their data leakage prevention.
Preventing Intellectual Property Theft
Intellectual Property (IP) is frequently targeted by threat actors and exploited by malicious insiders.
Some company insiders steal IP to resell the valuable commodity to competitors, while others may leverage the information to land a new job. Some employees will accidentally expose or share this information. Their actions are not malicious, but the consequences are the same.
In total, it’s estimated that 37 percent of companies will lose IP when an employee leaves an organization. With employee turnover recently reaching record levels and a tight labor market incentivizing companies to poach top talent from competitors, it’s especially important that companies have systems and processes in place to protect this information.
Controlling User Privileges That Put Sensitive Data at Risk
Company insiders, including employees and contractors, have access to copious amounts of company and customer data accessible using their company-issued credentials.
Companies without clear visibility into their digital environment can lose track of employee access privileges, allowing them to accidentally or intentionally expose sensitive information.
In other words, privacy is at stake when data access is just a click away. DLB solutions help companies understand access privileges while providing the tools to proactive prevent unnecessary data access.
Adhering to Shifting Regulatory Standards
When Europe’s expansive General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) went into effect in 2018, the groundbreaking law set a new standard for data privacy. Today, a McKinsey & Company report found that 75 percent of all countries have some type of data privacy law on the books, making regulatory compliance a critical priority for global companies.
What’s more, these standards are still being developed, and they are likely to become more onerous. In 2021, state legislatures produced 27 online privacy bills, addressing everything from data collection to AI implementation.
DLP helps companies adhere to shifting regulatory standards by preventing data breaches before they occur and providing the visibility needed to demonstrate and document compliance.
Responding to Data Breach Trends
For many reasons, data breaches or data loss events are occurring more frequently and with greater impact. With 98 percent of companies reporting at least one cybersecurity event in the past year, it’s clear that it’s a nonnegotiable part of any risk management strategy.
Cybercrime continues to be a lucrative, low-risk business, and threat actors are continually evolving to capitalize on new vulnerabilities.
In short, the causes, impacts, and frequency of data leaks prove businesses need data loss prevention, and DLP is an essential part of those efforts.
How Does DLP Work?
DLP solutions, like a DLP agent, classify data and apply automated protection policies to keep information secure.
The technology provides cybersecurity teams with unique visibility into data access and movement while leveraging automation technologies to enforce security policies and best practices, addressing various data-related threats by using monitoring, alerting, warning, blocking, and other response features.
Data Loss Protection (DLP) software solutions are proactive rather than reactive. Advanced DLP tools provide flexible control over highly-sensitive data, monitoring and identifying potential weak points and providing a robust defense against even the most damaging forms of data loss.
How Does DLP Detect Sensitive Data?
A DLP solution utilizes content discovery, digital inspection techniques, and contextual analysis to identify and categorize sensitive data and IP. Company executives, managers, or IT administrators craft policies and rules for data usage scenarios, and DLP solutions analyze digital activity to detect potential data breaches or inappropriate access.
Data leak prevention solutions work to detect sensitive data by identifying and classifying data and then automating the response actions to stop the loss.
Teramind’s DLP solution goes further, adding intelligent behavioral analysis to identify human factors like malicious intent, errors, or accidents, which allows you to implement effective protection against data breaches and other exfiltration attempts. Teramind DLP provides the best return on investment for organizations of any size. It’s designed to assist enterprises, government, and SMBs to address data loss, insider threats and cybersecurity. Additionally, Teramind’s compliance management features help you conform to regulatory standards, including GDPR, HIPAA, PCI DSS, and ISO 27001.
The system monitors user actions, validates them against the DLP rules, and takes appropriate action if and when a rule condition is triggered. Potential response actions can include:
- Stopping the action
- Blocking the user
- Alerting an administrator
- Requesting management override
- Customized response actions.
Taken together, DLP solutions are an effective defense against data breaches, data leaks, and IP theft.
DLP Use Cases
DLP software solutions help companies protect their data while supporting other business objectives. Primary DLP uses cases include:
- Insider threat detection. DLP solutions identify potentially malicious behavior being performed by insiders, preventing accidental or malicious behavior from causing a data breach.
- Fraud detection. Protect IP and ensure operational integrity with unparalleled insight into your digital environment.
- Employee work pattern analysis. DLP solutions help leaders understand their employees’ professional contributions, bringing data to bear on performance metrics and evolving best practices.
- Remote employee monitoring. Especially in today’s remote work environment, understanding employee productivity standards is increasingly top-of-mind. DLP solutions let you protect company data and ensure productivity when employees work off-site.
DLP solutions are agile, allowing businesses to respond to shifting threats while bringing clarity to their digital infrastructure.
After years of unprecedented data breaches, everyone – from customers to c-suite executives – understands the risks. As companies become even more data-centric and decentralized, DLP solutions can help identify data loss events before they occur. Since prevention is the best defensive strategy, DLP solutions are a valuable tool for protecting privacy, intellectual property, and overall financial outlook.