Data loss prevention (DLP) is crucial for any company that holds digital files these days, regardless of the size of the company. While much of the data loss that is reported on in the media often involves large companies, there are a number of small companies that fall victim to data breaches because they do not have the right framework to protect themselves.
A DLP solution helps to address insider threat and requires some readiness for its successful implementation. Here are some tips that will help evaluate if your organization is ready for DLP implementation.
- What’s the purpose?
This is a big step that a lot of people miss because it seems so obvious. The purpose is to stop data loss, correct? Narrowly speaking, yes. However, it just isn’t realistic to think that a DLP solution is going to completely prevent both internal and external data loss.
Firstly, think about why you’re implementing a DLP solution and the ramifications for your company. Does your company possess a lot of personal information or trade secrets. What would the effect on your company be if data were to leak. Far from being a pessimistic way of looking at a DLP solution, figuring out what the real risk to your company is will help you to think about the below tips.
- Find and define
The first step to getting ready for any DLP solution is to actually figure out what data needs to be protected. It’s not at all realistic to have an incredibly sophisticated system apply to every file your company holds. In addition, it is also important to think about how any kind of policy will impact employee output. If employees have new procedures and policies to implement with a DLP solution, you want to make sure any slowdown in implementing these is an effective use of their time.
Generally, the most sensitive data will include people’s personal details, especially social security numbers and financial information, or include trade secrets and intellectual property. Figure out what is the most sensitive information in your company, define it meticulously, and ensure that it carries a lot of weight in your DLP solution.
- Data movement
Next, it’s a really good idea to understand better how your data moves around your company. We tend to only think about how we use company files yet we’re one of many who do this. Preventing data loss because of an internal threat, an employee either maliciously or accidentally leaking data, is essential to your solution.
Watch where your most sensitive data moves and consider all the networks it sits on as well as end points and then think about who is using that data and what processes and protocols they go through.
- Following the policy
This one follows on from our last point of thinking about who is using the data and what processes they go through. All your employees will have to follow the DLP strategy that is implemented so it is essential to ensure that it is workable enough to be adhered to.
Part of this is getting buy-in from your employees. You can achieve this by making them part of the journey. Explain the purpose of what you’re doing and the risks involved, ask for suggestions or if they have noticed gaps and holes in how data moves around the organization. Communication is essential as a DLP plan is really effective only when it is implemented by everyone.
- Effective role management
Ensuring that everyone knows what role they play as part of the processes and procedures of a DLP plan is again about communication. Define each role clearly and give people ownership and responsibility so that they take it seriously. Assign privileges for accessing more sensitive information carefully.
Readying your company for a DLP solution is a simple step-by-step process of awareness, understanding and communication. Become aware of the type of data your company possesses, the risks it holds and understand how it moves around your company and what role your employees play in this. Then look to define the data and the roles and processes around it and communicate these clearly to your employees. Following these tips will ensure that your company implements any DLP solution effectively.