Data loss prevention software (DLP) is far from the latest craze. Nevertheless, DLP continues to play an important role in protecting business-critical data. The term Data Loss Prevention (DLP) refers to a set of techniques that identify, control and protect information through in-depth content analysis, whether the information is stored, moving or processed. Nevertheless, the technology has remained only within the corporate environment to this day. This is also because more and more companies are building their business models around the collection and analysis of data. It is essential to implement appropriate countermeasures to protect this added value at all levels. In this article, you will read, among other things, what data loss prevention is, how it works, where it is used and for what purpose.
Data Loss Prevention
The terms data loss and data leakage are closely linked are often used interchangeably, although they have a different meaning. Data loss becomes a data leak if the medium containing the sensitive information has been lost and then obtained by initially unauthorized persons. However, data leakage is possible without the data being lost.
DLP techniques can be both very simple and commonly used, such as antivirus and firewalls, and go as far as installing complex DLP suites. The “standard security measures” category includes all the usual security measures such as firewalls, antivirus software, or intrusion detection systems (IDS). These mechanisms are designed to protect computers from possible external attacks. DLP solutions are not only capable of detecting abnormal access to data, but also preventing and avoiding it. Indeed, a DLP solution can identify sensitive data, identify where it is stored, control who should have access to that data and finally protect it, i.e. prevent any person not authorized to have access to it. The DLP is a tool that allows the company to protect its data according to its internal policy. It is based on a centralized management server that processes all types of data, controls and protects it.
How DLP Works
Analysis of the content of the information
The first step in the data loss prevention process is data analysis. This step is established in collaboration with the company’s management and follows the company’s internal policy. Once executives determine what types of data are sensitive, the DLP analyzes the company’s data to determine where the sensitive data is:
- Sending company documents to the DLP that searches for information that matches a particular model, such as a credit card number.
- Two types of data match one with the documents on the server, where we look at whether these types of information have not been copied in emails or on instant messaging, and another match of the same type but with the database.
- Statistics of where data identified as sensitive are most frequently lost. As a result, the DLP searches these locations, but within the company to detect any data loss.
- Conceptual research where the DLP searches by themes identified as sensitive.
As a result of this research, the DLP creates categories for each type of sensitive data. It is often advisable to use several of these techniques within the same company to ensure maximum efficiency.
Centralized Management Server
The DLP has a centralized management server, where the company’s internal policy is defined, and which deals with three different types of information:
- The information in motion that brings together information disseminated by e-mail, instant messaging or activity on the web.
- The stored information that aggregates static data on a server.
- The processed information that aggregates the data transmitted. This may be from computer to USB stick or by printing.
The centralized management server is de made to facilitate the use of DLP to businesses. The tool is made to adapt to the company’s business.
DLP Software : Use Cases
DLP providers highlight three main areas of application for data loss prevention:
- Protection of personal information and compliance with compliance requirements: Many companies sit on massive databases with potentially sensitive content. The outflow of customer data or financial information could cause immense damage. Last but not least, there are also legal obligations to protect this data comprehensively – from HIPAA to GDPR to CCPA.
- Protecting Intellectual Property: Just about every company has intellectual property or trade secrets that must not fall into the wrong hands. Data Loss Prevention aims to protect this data from industrial espionage or accidental “online publication”.
- New insights into data stocks: If you want to lock away your data, you first have to know where which data is in the IT infrastructure and how it is related. In the age of public and hybrid cloud models, this can become a complex task. DLP tools can help with their solution, as they enable a higher-level insight into the data infrastructure.