Data loss prevention (DLP) is a set of tools and processes that help businesses avoid the unauthorised disclosure of confidential information. Data loss can occur through a variety of channels, including email, removable media, and cloud-based applications.
DLP technology uses a combination of data discovery, classification, and monitoring to protect sensitive information. It can also prevent data leaks by blocking or encrypting data that is being sent to unauthorised locations.
The following are the top 5 data loss prevention strategies every business should implement:
- Identify and classify sensitive data
- Implement access controls
- Use data encryption
- Monitor and audit data activity
- Train employees on data security
Identify and Classify Sensitive Data
Identifying and classifying sensitive data helps businesses protect it from unauthorised usage. Data classification helps an organisation identify the most valuable and highest risk data sets. This makes it easier to prioritise DLP efforts and target the most important data sets.
To effectively classify data, organisations should identify relevant data parameters, set up classification rules and processes, and classify data sets from least to most sensitive. It’s also important to keep the classification process up to date, as data sets and their risk level may change over time.
Organisations should also assign a data security label for each classification. These labels can help to define different treatments of data sets with different levels of sensitivity. For instance, data sets that contain sensitive customer information may require additional encryption and authentication than less sensitive data.
Establish Data Handling Procedures
Once organisations have identified and classified their sensitive data, they need to build data handling procedures to ensure effective data loss prevention. This includes access control policies, data segmentation, and data redundancy.
Access control policies will determine who is allowed to access data and with what level of access. Data segmentation ensures sensitive data is spread across different locations, networks and systems. This ensures that even if one database is compromised, other systems and networks remain secure.
Data redundancy is extremely important for protecting sensitive data. Redundancy means having duplicate copies of data that are stored and maintained in different locations. This way, even if one copy of data is lost, there are always backups available.
Implement Technical Controls
After organisations have established data handling procedures, they need to ensure they are properly implemented and followed. This includes the implementation of technical controls that aim to protect an organisations data against malicious attacks and accidental data breaches.
Some common technical controls used by businesses and organisations include firewalls, encryption, encryption keys, and intrusion detection systems. Firewalls are an important form of network security and can be used to block certain types of traffic and protect data from unauthorised access.
Encryption is another useful tool used to protect data as it converts data into an incomprehensible string of characters, making it difficult for attackers to gain access to it. Encryption keys provide an extra layer of protection for data and can be used to obtain access to encrypted files. Finally, intrusion detection systems are a great way to detect and prevent attacks from having a major impact on a business’s systems.
Monitor and Test Regularly
In addition to the above strategies, organisations should also make sure to monitor and test their systems regularly. Although the implementation of prevention measures is important, organisations need to make sure that their systems are correctly configured and working correctly.
Regular monitoring and testing helps organisations detect and react to security threats and breaches. Organisations should monitor their systems for any suspicious activity and run regular tests to ensure their systems are secure. This may include vulnerability scans, penetration tests, and security audits.
Running regular tests also helps organisations identify any potential data loss risks and helps them take corrective action quickly. This not only helps reduce the potential for data loss, but also helps organisations maintain their reputation and trust in the eyes of their customers.
Where to from here
Data security is an important part of any business. Ensuring the safety of a business’s data is essential to a company’s success. Organisations should implement data loss prevention strategies to protect their data from being stolen or leaked.
The strategies mentioned in this article – data encryption, user authentication, access control, employee awareness, and monitoring and testing – are some of the best data loss prevention strategies every business should implement.
With these strategies in place, businesses can prevent unauthorised access to sensitive data and protect their customers’ information.