Data Loss Prevention (DLP) protects companies against the loss of sensitive data. In the world of data, everything has increased. IT and cloud based software and apps, cyberattacks and increased mobile usage of employees are just some of the ways that confidential data can escape from a company. A relevant and working DLP strategy is key to preventing this from happening, or managing it in the most effective way possible, so we’ve put together five steps to better protect data.
Protect data in all locations
We mentioned mobility because it is one of the areas that even a great DLP strategy can completely fall over on. While a company might have fantastic Data Loss Prevention within its corporate LAN, this no longer serves as a contained endpoint for data loss. With mobile and cloud-based software usage at its current rates, data needs to be protected wherever it is. Additionally, look at finding an offsite server to backup your company’s data in case of an emergency breach through a natural disaster, crash or cyberattack. Having your data held in more than one physical location serves as an additional protection mechanism.
Prioritize the important stuff
DLP’s main role is the protection of sensitive data. There has to be a balance in companies between allowing file sharing to go relatively unhindered in order to boost productivity, and creating systems that prevent those files from being lost. This is generally done by choosing which of those files would be most detrimental to lose, for instance, intellectual property or financial records. This gives you somewhere to start and means that a DLP system won’t lower productivity for files whose public release would not be at all catastrophic.
Get to know your data
Monitor and track the regular movement of your data. This is particularly useful for picking up when there are internal threats in general, but mainly it makes it clearly visible where your sensitive data is going, and what threats it might face along the way. Doing this ensures that you are across what is happening with your data, and therefore will be able to ensure that the DLP strategy you apply will work for your company.
Realize that a plan to prevent data loss is not a one-off investment of money, time and resource. Data loss involves, people, IT, and the web, all of which are constantly changing. Your DLP plan needs to constantly change and mature also. Engage with security solutions specialists to amend and rework all parts of the strategy, and then look internally to ensure that staff are receiving the guidance that they need – and that the strategy actually works for them and the way the work.
Much like the strategy itself, which constantly needs to rework and change, so too will your employees as they will be integral to ensuring the strategy’s success. Running a pilot that protects only the most sensitive data is a way to safeguard yourself against purchasing an incredibly comprehensive DLP strategy that doesn’t operate quite in the way it should. It’s only by testing it out in an incremental way, monitoring the data movement, as well as how employees are using the policies, systems and plans, that you’ll be able to ascertain whether that system is right for the business.
IT security no longer lies just with anti-malware or virus software. The significant advances in IT have brought with them substantial amounts of information and knowledge sharing through data. While this has seen a momentous boost in productivity, knowledge, and ideas for many companies, it has also increased the risk of important information getting into the wrong hands. Data Loss Prevention is an essential part of any company’s security policy and, with these five steps, you will be able to achieve a strategy and a plan that works for your company.