According to a survey by the Ponemon Institute, 70% of organizations believe DLP solutions are effective in preventing data loss, and 43% said that DLP prevented a data loss incident. The study also estimated that the average cost of a data breach in 2019 was $3.92 million, which further highlights the necessity of investing in quality DLP tools and practices to reduce the impact and cost of data breaches.
DLP, or Data Loss Prevention, is a type of security technology used to detect, prevent, and monitor the unauthorized use, transmission, or access of sensitive or confidential data. Examples of DLP in action include
Network-based DLP solutions monitor traffic on the network and identify data being sent outside the organization's boundaries without permission. They can detect data that is being sent out in an insecure manner, such as unencrypted emails or files, and block it from leaving the network.
Host-based DLP solutions monitor individual computer or device data. They can detect when data is copied or saved to unauthorized locations or when unauthorized users are accessing sensitive data. Host-based DLP solutions are typically deployed on endpoints, including desktops, laptops, and mobile devices.
Content-aware DLP solutions analyze the data content to detect sensitive information and enforce policies. These solutions inspect various data, such as emails, documents, and files, and detect sensitive information, such as credit card numbers, Social Security numbers, and other regulated data.
Storage-based DLP solutions monitor data stored in databases and other repositories. These solutions can detect when data is being accessed or modified without authorization and block the access. They can also detect when data is being moved to an unauthorized location and prevent it from being transferred.
But the question is how would one know which solution to implement and what are some must-haves for a DLP solution? To answer this, let's dive deep into how DLP is implemented in an organization.
Alignment is more important than decisions. So aligning security with business is necessary. Business requirements are the specific needs of a business that must be met for the business to succeed. These requirements include functional, non-functional, performance, operational, and other requirements. Business requirements are typically documented in a Business Requirement Document (BRD).
Many countries have passed laws that require organizations to comply with specific regulations to have specific policies and procedures in place to protect customer data, implement specific technical controls, and regularly audit and report on their compliance with the regulations.
Organizations should be aware of industry-specific regulations affecting their data protection practices, such as PCI DSS, HIPAA, etc. They should also review and comply with their own internal policies and any third-party contracts they may have in place.
Every business has data, and "data is the new oil" in this digital world. So it should be clearly identified, classified, and categorized according to the data's sensitivity, value, and purpose. This will help ensure that the appropriate security measures are taken to protect the data.
DLP implementation requires the identification of the following:
Once you know your DLP requirements like which data needs to be protected, who can access it, and what regulatory requirements you need to comply with, the next step is to find the right tools and vendors.
Start by researching potential vendors and their offerings to determine which DLP tool best suits your needs. Look at the various vendors' features, pricing, and reviews to narrow your selection.
Ask vendors to demonstrate their products and services to you to understand better how their DLP tool will work for you.
Carefully analyze the features of each DLP tool. Make sure that it meets your requirements and can address your security issues.
Compare the pricing of the various vendors and select the one that offers the most value for money.
Ask the vendors for customer references to get an idea of their DLP tool's performance in the real world.
After carefully evaluating the vendors, select the one that best meets your requirements and budget.
After selecting the DLP tool, sign the contract with the vendor and make sure that you read the terms and conditions carefully.
DLP tools should be leveraged with appropriate security controls based on identifying data types assessed in the first step to prevent threat actors from exploiting the vulnerabilities in the procedures, data management workflow, systems, etc.
DLP is integral to any organization's security and compliance program but goes beyond implementing the technology. It requires ongoing monitoring and regular review to ensure that the policies and procedures are up-to-date, that the technology is properly configured, and that your organization complies with applicable laws and regulations. Additionally, organizations should be proactive in monitoring new threats or vulnerabilities and taking the necessary steps to remediate them.
Must-have network devices for monitoring include IDS/IPS and firewall; having a DMZ, Proxy server, and a honeypot improves the network's security.
More often than not, the employees are the weakest links of any organization; raise cybersecurity awareness and ensure that all employees know the data security policy and their individual responsibilities in protecting the data.
DLP, in practice, is not just a tool or a one-step solution; instead, it's a complete process. Creating a response plan ensures to address of any data security breaches or incidents while it doesn't prevent that from happening again, for that root cause analysis is required. Remediation is the process of addressing the root cause of a security incident and mitigating its negative effects.
A comprehensive DLP strategy is essential for preventing data loss and protecting sensitive information. It should include policies, procedures, technologies, user awareness training, regular audits, and a process for responding to data loss incidents and their remediation.
It must also include risk assessment and good DLP software having controls like encryption, access control, and a monitoring system to ensure that data is protected adequately.
With the proper implementation of these measures, organizations can minimize the possibility of data leakage and enhance a company's security