Why Implement a Data Loss Prevention Strategy?

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Major security breaches that raged havoc and affected millions in 2013 have acted as a wake- up call for corporate legal departments and CTOs around the world. The exponential rise in data volumes has radically increased the risk of accidental leakage of sensitive information and data theft. In addition, factors like data portability, employee mobility and complex data protection regulations demand that organisation take a closer look at their data security measures to protect themselves and their stakeholders.

It is imperative for companies to have a data loss prevention strategy in place because they:

  • Are unsure about where the business critical data is stored and sent, and who has rights to access it
  • Need to distinguish the sensitivity of the data.
  • Lack proper co- ordination between the data owner and the IT security team.
  • Have security measures deployed to protect their data from external intruders, but lack the focus to prevent internal thefts, accidental data losses and disclosure of sensitive data by partners or employees.
  • Are concerned about the liabilities, penalties and negative exposure caused by data breaches.
  • Need to conduct audits and comply with complex regulations.
  • Need to protect the proprietary data from threats imposed by newer ways of communication and greater employee mobility.
  • Are uncertainty about the safety of their data is in the cloud.
  • Need to monitor the employees for inappropriate conduct and record the forensic data as evidence.
  • Need for an automated governance to improve compliance while also saving resources and time.

Since data loss can also cause significant loss of revenues, businesses need a holistic DLP strategy that would protect data in use, at rest and in motion at various storage locations and on portable devices through a management framework designed to prevent and detect unauthorised data use and access.

A data loss prevention strategy, if deployed effectively, can bring value to the company without the need for heavy investments since the very onset. It can help organisations by:

  • Increasing Visibility – Mostly, organisations have adequate security measures to monitor incoming traffic. However, the visibility on outgoing traffic is often overlooked. This can be addressed by adopting a proper DLP strategy which can help keep a tab on the information going out of the organisation and expose inapt business processes.
  • Improving Compliance – Organisations need to adhere to state and industry specific compliance regulations. DLP strategies can help businesses monitor and understand the kind of data leaving the company and locations where the data is sent/ stored, thus reducing the risk of data breach.
  • Creating a Flexible Security Environment – Conventional security solutions were designed to restrict or allow access based on channels, sources and destinations. Today, they can adversely affect a business’s ability to adopt newer means of communication. A well- devised DLP strategy can help companies leverage new communication platforms while also helping them control the content published/ posted on such networks. This ensures that enterprises do not have to jeopardise their security for being flexible.
  • Educating Employees and Increasing Awareness – Most companies do not have internal data protection policies. Even in those that do, employees soon forget the policies after their training is over. A DLP strategy can help detect a breach by any employee and remind him/her of the policy, reducing instances of violation.
  • Detecting Malicious Activities – Usually, businesses focus on incoming traffic to detect malware or hacking attempts. Thus, some internal beaches go undetected for long periods. DLP strategies can help detect large volumes of data leaving the network, unrecognised password files, encryption and more.

A comprehensive data loss prevention strategy can not only transform sensitive information into operational asset, but also help business avoid unwanted legal complications.

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