It’s been a challenging year for businesses, so adding the unnecessary stress of data loss as a result of a poorly constructed data protection plan, isn’t something that any organisation needs the added pressure of dealing with. As we take on the new year, it’s time to assess where investments be made and how to put a strategy in place to nurture them. Top of the list in a business of any size needs to be data protection. Hybrid-Working and remote access to important data is the norm, which is why prioritising Data Loss Prevention (DLP) is a necessity. With this in mind, it’s time to fight against leaks and non-compliant practices and activate survival mode for your organisation’s data.
What is Data Loss Prevention?
Data loss prevention (DLP) is a set of products, strategies, technologies, and techniques that ensure end users do not transmit critical or sensitive data outside an organisation. DLP also refers to data loss prevention software and other data loss prevention tools that assist network administrators in managing the transfer of data by end users.
Benefits to Data Loss Prevention Tools
Knowing where your data is, where it goes and who can access it is the first step in developing a plan to protect it. DLP technology, such as Mimecast, provides an overall view of your data for your IT department, including the location, flow and data usage across the organisation. DLP can also check network actions against your organisation’s security policies and allows you to protect and control sensitive data. This includes customer information, financial data and intellectual property. Providing this level of understanding with regard to your data can help establish an efficient structure that will help your team to make risk prioritised decisions about what data needs protection.
2.Pinpointing Where Data Leaks May Occur
According to a 2018 study by the Ponemon Institute, 77% of data breaches occur as a result of accidental or intentional exposure by employees. With our workforce operating from home, there are many factors that may result in a data leak, which usually include email, web and removable media like USB’s. DLP tools can help to assess when sensitive information may be at risk of leaving the organisation via these mediums and block it before it reaches it’s intended destination. DLP can also assess when data activity is not in line with the end user’s job function. With a data protection technology, organisations have the security in knowing that sensitive client and company data will never go where it shouldn’t be.
For many industries, especially within the legal and financial sector where sensitive personal and financial information is exchanged, being compliant when it comes to data protection is non-negotiable. For example, under Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) regulation, companies must mask the first 12 digits of customer cards to keep them secure and DLP software takes care of this. What if an employee scans a private document at work to email to themselves? Because this has happened on company hardware, the company now has a responsibility under GDPR to manage and protect this data. DLP software has the power to trace and then block these transmissions from occurring and this, in turn, helps to train people to think about all forms of data moving through the business.
4.Preventing the use of Shadow IT
With Hybrid- working here to stay, data protection policies are proving more difficult to monitor. Staff are working off-site and have learned to adapt to a new way of managing their tasks and storing data securely. An increased use of external cloud-based storage systems like Dropbox or Google Drive, that are not protected by the organisations IT provider, has opened up businesses to a host of new risks for their data protection. A lack of password protected or encrypted access to files leaves sensitive information vulnerable to cyber threats that can result in data loss. DLP software creates a secure environment where your team can use the file sharing and collaboration platforms used within your organisation in knowing the data is protected from getting into the hands of someone it shouldn’t be.
5.Client Confidence and Brand Reputation
With continuously increasing compliance regulations, GDPR concerns and data breaches on the rise, no organisation wants to be on the receiving end of an attack. Companies that fail to maintain a level of confidence with clients or who knowingly put their data security on the line, instantly lose credibility and show a lack of resilience to adapt to workplace change. DLP facilitates the protection of critical data and helps to prevent the negative publicity and loss of revenue that inevitably follows data breaches.
The evolution of a hybrid-working environment means that it’s more important now than ever to invest in data protection. Being a trusted bearer of highly sensitive data is earned through client confidence and having a water-tight security system in place where the data is exchanged. Mistakes can easily happen, and a lack of understanding can cause costly data breaches as a result. However, by using DLP software you can bolster your defense against data loss.
What’s next? Email firstname.lastname@example.org to develop your organisation’s DLP strategy.