Blog
May 30, 2024

What is DLP? Why a Modern DLP Solution Could Be Just What Your Organisation Needs

In this guide, we’ll dig deeper into what DLP involves, its benefits, and what the best practices are when it comes to implementing a DLP tool.

Download
Download

Key Points

  • DLP is crucial for securing sensitive data across an organisation's ecosystem, preventing data leaks and breaches, and ensuring compliance with industry regulations.
  • Modern DLP solutions have evolved to support cloud-based, network-based, and endpoint-based approaches, allowing continuous monitoring and protection of sensitive data across various environments.
  • Implementing an effective DLP strategy involves detecting and classifying sensitive data, defining security policies, choosing appropriate DLP tools, educating employees, deploying continuous monitoring, and regularly reviewing the DLP setup.
  • Metomic is a comprehensive modern DLP tool that can help organisations protect their sensitive data across their SaaS and GenAI ecosystems.

Data Loss Prevention (DLP) is a key feature in a security team’s arsenal. It’s essential for securing sensitive data across an organisation’s ecosystem, and minimising the impact of data leaks and breaches.

With over eight billion records breached in 2023, and the cost of a data breach rising to a record high of $4.45m, it’s imperative that security teams are doing everything they can to ensure the protection of sensitive data within their company.

What is DLP?

In the cybersecurity world, DLP stands for Data Loss Prevention. A DLP strategy utilises tools and procedures to ensure data isn’t lost, leaked, corrupted or breached by individuals who shouldn’t have access to it.

DLP has traditionally been a productivity blocker for employees who are restricted by slow legacy tools that throw up plenty of false positives. However, modern DLP solutions allow your workforce to continue using the applications and programs that help them to be efficient while keeping your data protected. With automated capabilities, modern DLP tools allow continuous monitoring across SaaS, cloud, and GenAI environments, alerting security teams to the risks that matter to their business.

This visibility and control over the organisation’s ecosystem gives security teams the ability to protect sensitive data wherever it lives, and act on any anomalous behaviours quickly to minimise the impact of a data leak or breach.

How does DLP work? Why is it important?

Despite the bad reputation DLP has earned over the years, security teams still opt to use DLP tools. Why? Because DLP is an essential part of any security strategy. Understanding where sensitive data lives, how long it has been stored, and who has access to it, is crucial for organisations to manage their assets, and ensure compliance with industry regulations.

Companies not only have a legal responsibility to protect customer and employee data they hold, they also have an ethical obligation to safeguard the data they have on record. With 80% of UK consumers concerned about how their data is used online, and 95% stating that it’s important their data is protected, individuals are realising how valuable their data can be for companies, and how imperative it is that their information isn’t put at risk

It’s not just customer data that businesses need to consider; any sensitive company information such as intellectual property, secrets, and business plans must also be protected to ensure the organisation maintains a competitive advantage.

DLP tools work by continuously monitoring data, and classifying it, to understand what types of data are being stored, where it is being shared, and by whom. They can detect data at rest and in transit, using machine learning algorithms to understand patterns that can indicate unauthorised access or transmission of sensitive data.

How has DLP evolved?

James Moos, Vice President IT & Security at PayFit España, says,

"These days, security teams have a variety of DLP options which they may choose to leverage depending on their environment. Many businesses have moved from on premise, self hosted technologies to a hybrid or even 100% cloud (vendor hosted) environment. This, combined with a significant increase in remote working has forced us to rethink the most effective strategy for DLP. Clearly, applying DLP at the network level is no longer relevant unless you either have all staff 100% on site, or have a VPN enforced to route all network traffic via the office network. Network level DLP can still work but by using a Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) that removes the drawbacks associated with VPNs. Security teams can also look to implement DLP at the cloud layer, with a platform designed to manage your policies and data security across your cloud/SaaS tech stack.’"

What are the types of DLP?

There are three main types of DLP solutions, and organisations will need to choose the tool that works for their setup:

1. Cloud-based DLP

With more companies working remotely, cloud DLP has become a must for organisations storing data in cloud or SaaS applications, like Slack or Google Drive. As this guide "DLP for SaaS applications" explains further, Cloud DLP allows security teams to understand where sensitive data is shared among colleagues around the world, and gives them the ability to revoke access where necessary.

2. Network-based DLP

A more traditional approach, network-based DLP monitors data moving through the network, specifically around email and web traffic. When all users are on the same network, this approach can help security teams flag any unauthorised access attempts to sensitive documents.

3. Endpoint-based DLP

Finally, endpoint DLP solutions are installed on individual devices such as mobile phones or laptops. This can ensure the devices themselves are monitored for data flow, and controlled by security teams to reduce the risks of data leaking accidentally, or by insiders with malicious intent.

What are the data threats that businesses are competing with?

There are plenty of data threats that businesses require DLP tools for, including:

  • Insider threats: Nearly 70% of all breaches include a human element with no ill intent, as employees strive for efficiency in their roles, potentially storing sensitive data in the wrong place or with the wrong people.
  • Malware: Inevitably, there will always be malware to contend with as hackers attempt to access, steal, and potentially corrupt sensitive data.
  • Social engineering: With malicious entities manipulating employees into sharing sensitive data, social engineering and phishing attacks can be fatal for businesses as they can expose an organisation’s trade secrets by giving them access to internal tools.
  • Ransomware: Businesses need to be prepared for ransomware attacks, with Thales reporting that the number of enterprises experiencing ransomware attacks surged by over 27% in the past year.
  • Theft or loss of physical devices: Data stored on company devices such as laptops or smartphones can be accessed by thieves, leading to data loss and corruption.

What is a DLP strategy and how can one be implemented?

A DLP strategy involves detecting and protecting sensitive data across your entire ecosystem, in order to prevent data leaks and breaches. There are multiple components to a robust DLP strategy, including experienced security experts, and the use of automated DLP tools.

A DLP strategy can be implemented using the following steps:

  1. Detect sensitive data: Potentially the most important aspect of a solid DLP strategy is identifying the types of data that are considered sensitive to your organisation, whether it’s PII, PHI, PCI, or something else. When you have decided on the risks that matter to your business, you can start to take steps to detect where sensitive data is with an automated tool to save time and resources.
  2. Classify sensitive data: Once you have an idea of where sensitive data is stored throughout your organisation, you can begin to classify it based on how critical it is to the business. Categorising your data into different levels can help everyone get on the same page when it comes to understanding the risk associated with the data you have on record.
  3. Define security policies: Your organisation’s policies should outline data governance, acceptable use policies, access controls and encryption requirements. They should be available to all employees so that everyone is aware of the implications of data leakage and breaches.
  4. Choose a DLP tool: The right DLP tool for your organisation will be one that suits your team with an interface they can easily navigate, has low false positive results, and won’t cause alert fatigue amongst your employees. A modern DLP tool can help save time and resources by automating processes, and alerting your team to the risks that matter to them.
  5. Educate your employees: Your workforce will need to understand your DLP policies in order to make data security the responsibility of everyone in the business, and create a security-conscious Human Firewall. If this isn’t put in place, your employees can fall foul of your security policies by sharing sensitive information in the wrong place or with the wrong people.
  6. Deploy continuous monitoring: Your DLP tool will likely have continuous monitoring capabilities, making it easier to understand where sensitive data is stored, detect anomalies, and react swiftly to any incidents that may occur. This is necessary to maintain control of sensitive data and minimise the impact of any data leak or breach.
  7. Regularly review your DLP set-up: Regular risk assessments can enable you to identify any vulnerabilities within your current system, and remediate them, implementing a cycle of continuous improvement.

A holistic approach to DLP, incorporating all of these steps, can help your organisation minimise the risks associated with data loss, and ensure compliance with regulatory requirements such as GDPR, HIPAA, and PCI DSS.

What are the benefits of a DLP solution?

The primary benefit to having a DLP solution in place is that it enables organisations to detect and protect sensitive data in real time, securing it so that unauthorised users are unable to access it via stringent controls, encryption, and automated remediation. This therefore reduces the risk to the business when it comes to sensitive data sharing among employees, contractors, and third parties, keeping customer, employees, and company data safe.

Legally, many organisations handling data will need to demonstrate that they can protect it to satisfy industry regulatory requirements such as PCI DSS; in this case, a DLP tool can help to show their commitment to keeping sensitive data safe. From a reputational perspective, having a DLP tool in place can also reassure customers and partners that the organisation is doing everything possible to protect sensitive data within the company, minimising the impact of data leaks and breaches, and improving trust and credibility.

Finally, an automated DLP solution can bring cost savings and operational efficiencies, allowing teams to focus their time and budgets on other pressing issues.

What are the best practices for implementing DLP?

Best practices for implementing DLP within your organisation include:

  1. Defining comprehensive policies that outline the sensitive data you will monitor, who is responsible for it, and how it should be handled by all employees. These policies should be reviewed and updated regularly, with input from key stakeholders around the business, including the senior leadership team.
  2. Understanding the risks that matter to your business is essential. Not all sensitive data will be weighted equally in your organisation, making it crucial that the security team is able to classify each sensitive data type and understand the levels of protection they need to put in place.
  3. Get leadership buy-in to ensure everyone is on the same page when it comes to data security, and that senior management understands how important the role of DLP is within the organisation.
  4. Build a human firewall of security-conscious employees who understand where sensitive data should be stored, and how they should be sharing it. Not having this in place risks your data being accessed by unauthorised users, and stored in insecure locations.
  5. Establish key goals for your DLP plan, and measure the organisation regularly against these to ensure the data security strategy is working effectively. Metrics might include employee awareness and incident response capabilities as well as attack surface measurements.

How can Metomic help?

Metomic’s DLP solution was designed to help organisations keep their teams productive while securing their sensitive data. It works in real time to ensure your data security policies are being enforced without getting in the way of employees doing their jobs.

Our intuitive platform can assist with the following security components:

  1. Sensitive Data Discovery: Detect sensitive data across your SaaS, cloud and GenAI ecosystem and gain full visibility into your data security landscape.
  2. Access Controls : Metomic helps you to implement granular access controls to limit unauthorised access to sensitive data, minimising the impact of a data leak or breach.
  3. Regulatory Compliance: Metomic helps organisations comply with data protection regulations such as GDPR, CCPA, and HIPAA by enforcing data protection policies and generating audit reports.

Take a free virtual tour of our platform today to see how it works, and how it could help your organisation to protect sensitive data.

Key Points

  • DLP is crucial for securing sensitive data across an organisation's ecosystem, preventing data leaks and breaches, and ensuring compliance with industry regulations.
  • Modern DLP solutions have evolved to support cloud-based, network-based, and endpoint-based approaches, allowing continuous monitoring and protection of sensitive data across various environments.
  • Implementing an effective DLP strategy involves detecting and classifying sensitive data, defining security policies, choosing appropriate DLP tools, educating employees, deploying continuous monitoring, and regularly reviewing the DLP setup.
  • Metomic is a comprehensive modern DLP tool that can help organisations protect their sensitive data across their SaaS and GenAI ecosystems.

Data Loss Prevention (DLP) is a key feature in a security team’s arsenal. It’s essential for securing sensitive data across an organisation’s ecosystem, and minimising the impact of data leaks and breaches.

With over eight billion records breached in 2023, and the cost of a data breach rising to a record high of $4.45m, it’s imperative that security teams are doing everything they can to ensure the protection of sensitive data within their company.

What is DLP?

In the cybersecurity world, DLP stands for Data Loss Prevention. A DLP strategy utilises tools and procedures to ensure data isn’t lost, leaked, corrupted or breached by individuals who shouldn’t have access to it.

DLP has traditionally been a productivity blocker for employees who are restricted by slow legacy tools that throw up plenty of false positives. However, modern DLP solutions allow your workforce to continue using the applications and programs that help them to be efficient while keeping your data protected. With automated capabilities, modern DLP tools allow continuous monitoring across SaaS, cloud, and GenAI environments, alerting security teams to the risks that matter to their business.

This visibility and control over the organisation’s ecosystem gives security teams the ability to protect sensitive data wherever it lives, and act on any anomalous behaviours quickly to minimise the impact of a data leak or breach.

How does DLP work? Why is it important?

Despite the bad reputation DLP has earned over the years, security teams still opt to use DLP tools. Why? Because DLP is an essential part of any security strategy. Understanding where sensitive data lives, how long it has been stored, and who has access to it, is crucial for organisations to manage their assets, and ensure compliance with industry regulations.

Companies not only have a legal responsibility to protect customer and employee data they hold, they also have an ethical obligation to safeguard the data they have on record. With 80% of UK consumers concerned about how their data is used online, and 95% stating that it’s important their data is protected, individuals are realising how valuable their data can be for companies, and how imperative it is that their information isn’t put at risk

It’s not just customer data that businesses need to consider; any sensitive company information such as intellectual property, secrets, and business plans must also be protected to ensure the organisation maintains a competitive advantage.

DLP tools work by continuously monitoring data, and classifying it, to understand what types of data are being stored, where it is being shared, and by whom. They can detect data at rest and in transit, using machine learning algorithms to understand patterns that can indicate unauthorised access or transmission of sensitive data.

How has DLP evolved?

James Moos, Vice President IT & Security at PayFit España, says,

"These days, security teams have a variety of DLP options which they may choose to leverage depending on their environment. Many businesses have moved from on premise, self hosted technologies to a hybrid or even 100% cloud (vendor hosted) environment. This, combined with a significant increase in remote working has forced us to rethink the most effective strategy for DLP. Clearly, applying DLP at the network level is no longer relevant unless you either have all staff 100% on site, or have a VPN enforced to route all network traffic via the office network. Network level DLP can still work but by using a Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) that removes the drawbacks associated with VPNs. Security teams can also look to implement DLP at the cloud layer, with a platform designed to manage your policies and data security across your cloud/SaaS tech stack.’"

What are the types of DLP?

There are three main types of DLP solutions, and organisations will need to choose the tool that works for their setup:

1. Cloud-based DLP

With more companies working remotely, cloud DLP has become a must for organisations storing data in cloud or SaaS applications, like Slack or Google Drive. As this guide "DLP for SaaS applications" explains further, Cloud DLP allows security teams to understand where sensitive data is shared among colleagues around the world, and gives them the ability to revoke access where necessary.

2. Network-based DLP

A more traditional approach, network-based DLP monitors data moving through the network, specifically around email and web traffic. When all users are on the same network, this approach can help security teams flag any unauthorised access attempts to sensitive documents.

3. Endpoint-based DLP

Finally, endpoint DLP solutions are installed on individual devices such as mobile phones or laptops. This can ensure the devices themselves are monitored for data flow, and controlled by security teams to reduce the risks of data leaking accidentally, or by insiders with malicious intent.

What are the data threats that businesses are competing with?

There are plenty of data threats that businesses require DLP tools for, including:

  • Insider threats: Nearly 70% of all breaches include a human element with no ill intent, as employees strive for efficiency in their roles, potentially storing sensitive data in the wrong place or with the wrong people.
  • Malware: Inevitably, there will always be malware to contend with as hackers attempt to access, steal, and potentially corrupt sensitive data.
  • Social engineering: With malicious entities manipulating employees into sharing sensitive data, social engineering and phishing attacks can be fatal for businesses as they can expose an organisation’s trade secrets by giving them access to internal tools.
  • Ransomware: Businesses need to be prepared for ransomware attacks, with Thales reporting that the number of enterprises experiencing ransomware attacks surged by over 27% in the past year.
  • Theft or loss of physical devices: Data stored on company devices such as laptops or smartphones can be accessed by thieves, leading to data loss and corruption.

What is a DLP strategy and how can one be implemented?

A DLP strategy involves detecting and protecting sensitive data across your entire ecosystem, in order to prevent data leaks and breaches. There are multiple components to a robust DLP strategy, including experienced security experts, and the use of automated DLP tools.

A DLP strategy can be implemented using the following steps:

  1. Detect sensitive data: Potentially the most important aspect of a solid DLP strategy is identifying the types of data that are considered sensitive to your organisation, whether it’s PII, PHI, PCI, or something else. When you have decided on the risks that matter to your business, you can start to take steps to detect where sensitive data is with an automated tool to save time and resources.
  2. Classify sensitive data: Once you have an idea of where sensitive data is stored throughout your organisation, you can begin to classify it based on how critical it is to the business. Categorising your data into different levels can help everyone get on the same page when it comes to understanding the risk associated with the data you have on record.
  3. Define security policies: Your organisation’s policies should outline data governance, acceptable use policies, access controls and encryption requirements. They should be available to all employees so that everyone is aware of the implications of data leakage and breaches.
  4. Choose a DLP tool: The right DLP tool for your organisation will be one that suits your team with an interface they can easily navigate, has low false positive results, and won’t cause alert fatigue amongst your employees. A modern DLP tool can help save time and resources by automating processes, and alerting your team to the risks that matter to them.
  5. Educate your employees: Your workforce will need to understand your DLP policies in order to make data security the responsibility of everyone in the business, and create a security-conscious Human Firewall. If this isn’t put in place, your employees can fall foul of your security policies by sharing sensitive information in the wrong place or with the wrong people.
  6. Deploy continuous monitoring: Your DLP tool will likely have continuous monitoring capabilities, making it easier to understand where sensitive data is stored, detect anomalies, and react swiftly to any incidents that may occur. This is necessary to maintain control of sensitive data and minimise the impact of any data leak or breach.
  7. Regularly review your DLP set-up: Regular risk assessments can enable you to identify any vulnerabilities within your current system, and remediate them, implementing a cycle of continuous improvement.

A holistic approach to DLP, incorporating all of these steps, can help your organisation minimise the risks associated with data loss, and ensure compliance with regulatory requirements such as GDPR, HIPAA, and PCI DSS.

What are the benefits of a DLP solution?

The primary benefit to having a DLP solution in place is that it enables organisations to detect and protect sensitive data in real time, securing it so that unauthorised users are unable to access it via stringent controls, encryption, and automated remediation. This therefore reduces the risk to the business when it comes to sensitive data sharing among employees, contractors, and third parties, keeping customer, employees, and company data safe.

Legally, many organisations handling data will need to demonstrate that they can protect it to satisfy industry regulatory requirements such as PCI DSS; in this case, a DLP tool can help to show their commitment to keeping sensitive data safe. From a reputational perspective, having a DLP tool in place can also reassure customers and partners that the organisation is doing everything possible to protect sensitive data within the company, minimising the impact of data leaks and breaches, and improving trust and credibility.

Finally, an automated DLP solution can bring cost savings and operational efficiencies, allowing teams to focus their time and budgets on other pressing issues.

What are the best practices for implementing DLP?

Best practices for implementing DLP within your organisation include:

  1. Defining comprehensive policies that outline the sensitive data you will monitor, who is responsible for it, and how it should be handled by all employees. These policies should be reviewed and updated regularly, with input from key stakeholders around the business, including the senior leadership team.
  2. Understanding the risks that matter to your business is essential. Not all sensitive data will be weighted equally in your organisation, making it crucial that the security team is able to classify each sensitive data type and understand the levels of protection they need to put in place.
  3. Get leadership buy-in to ensure everyone is on the same page when it comes to data security, and that senior management understands how important the role of DLP is within the organisation.
  4. Build a human firewall of security-conscious employees who understand where sensitive data should be stored, and how they should be sharing it. Not having this in place risks your data being accessed by unauthorised users, and stored in insecure locations.
  5. Establish key goals for your DLP plan, and measure the organisation regularly against these to ensure the data security strategy is working effectively. Metrics might include employee awareness and incident response capabilities as well as attack surface measurements.

How can Metomic help?

Metomic’s DLP solution was designed to help organisations keep their teams productive while securing their sensitive data. It works in real time to ensure your data security policies are being enforced without getting in the way of employees doing their jobs.

Our intuitive platform can assist with the following security components:

  1. Sensitive Data Discovery: Detect sensitive data across your SaaS, cloud and GenAI ecosystem and gain full visibility into your data security landscape.
  2. Access Controls : Metomic helps you to implement granular access controls to limit unauthorised access to sensitive data, minimising the impact of a data leak or breach.
  3. Regulatory Compliance: Metomic helps organisations comply with data protection regulations such as GDPR, CCPA, and HIPAA by enforcing data protection policies and generating audit reports.

Take a free virtual tour of our platform today to see how it works, and how it could help your organisation to protect sensitive data.

Key Points

  • DLP is crucial for securing sensitive data across an organisation's ecosystem, preventing data leaks and breaches, and ensuring compliance with industry regulations.
  • Modern DLP solutions have evolved to support cloud-based, network-based, and endpoint-based approaches, allowing continuous monitoring and protection of sensitive data across various environments.
  • Implementing an effective DLP strategy involves detecting and classifying sensitive data, defining security policies, choosing appropriate DLP tools, educating employees, deploying continuous monitoring, and regularly reviewing the DLP setup.
  • Metomic is a comprehensive modern DLP tool that can help organisations protect their sensitive data across their SaaS and GenAI ecosystems.

Data Loss Prevention (DLP) is a key feature in a security team’s arsenal. It’s essential for securing sensitive data across an organisation’s ecosystem, and minimising the impact of data leaks and breaches.

With over eight billion records breached in 2023, and the cost of a data breach rising to a record high of $4.45m, it’s imperative that security teams are doing everything they can to ensure the protection of sensitive data within their company.

What is DLP?

In the cybersecurity world, DLP stands for Data Loss Prevention. A DLP strategy utilises tools and procedures to ensure data isn’t lost, leaked, corrupted or breached by individuals who shouldn’t have access to it.

DLP has traditionally been a productivity blocker for employees who are restricted by slow legacy tools that throw up plenty of false positives. However, modern DLP solutions allow your workforce to continue using the applications and programs that help them to be efficient while keeping your data protected. With automated capabilities, modern DLP tools allow continuous monitoring across SaaS, cloud, and GenAI environments, alerting security teams to the risks that matter to their business.

This visibility and control over the organisation’s ecosystem gives security teams the ability to protect sensitive data wherever it lives, and act on any anomalous behaviours quickly to minimise the impact of a data leak or breach.

How does DLP work? Why is it important?

Despite the bad reputation DLP has earned over the years, security teams still opt to use DLP tools. Why? Because DLP is an essential part of any security strategy. Understanding where sensitive data lives, how long it has been stored, and who has access to it, is crucial for organisations to manage their assets, and ensure compliance with industry regulations.

Companies not only have a legal responsibility to protect customer and employee data they hold, they also have an ethical obligation to safeguard the data they have on record. With 80% of UK consumers concerned about how their data is used online, and 95% stating that it’s important their data is protected, individuals are realising how valuable their data can be for companies, and how imperative it is that their information isn’t put at risk

It’s not just customer data that businesses need to consider; any sensitive company information such as intellectual property, secrets, and business plans must also be protected to ensure the organisation maintains a competitive advantage.

DLP tools work by continuously monitoring data, and classifying it, to understand what types of data are being stored, where it is being shared, and by whom. They can detect data at rest and in transit, using machine learning algorithms to understand patterns that can indicate unauthorised access or transmission of sensitive data.

How has DLP evolved?

James Moos, Vice President IT & Security at PayFit España, says,

"These days, security teams have a variety of DLP options which they may choose to leverage depending on their environment. Many businesses have moved from on premise, self hosted technologies to a hybrid or even 100% cloud (vendor hosted) environment. This, combined with a significant increase in remote working has forced us to rethink the most effective strategy for DLP. Clearly, applying DLP at the network level is no longer relevant unless you either have all staff 100% on site, or have a VPN enforced to route all network traffic via the office network. Network level DLP can still work but by using a Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) that removes the drawbacks associated with VPNs. Security teams can also look to implement DLP at the cloud layer, with a platform designed to manage your policies and data security across your cloud/SaaS tech stack.’"

What are the types of DLP?

There are three main types of DLP solutions, and organisations will need to choose the tool that works for their setup:

1. Cloud-based DLP

With more companies working remotely, cloud DLP has become a must for organisations storing data in cloud or SaaS applications, like Slack or Google Drive. As this guide "DLP for SaaS applications" explains further, Cloud DLP allows security teams to understand where sensitive data is shared among colleagues around the world, and gives them the ability to revoke access where necessary.

2. Network-based DLP

A more traditional approach, network-based DLP monitors data moving through the network, specifically around email and web traffic. When all users are on the same network, this approach can help security teams flag any unauthorised access attempts to sensitive documents.

3. Endpoint-based DLP

Finally, endpoint DLP solutions are installed on individual devices such as mobile phones or laptops. This can ensure the devices themselves are monitored for data flow, and controlled by security teams to reduce the risks of data leaking accidentally, or by insiders with malicious intent.

What are the data threats that businesses are competing with?

There are plenty of data threats that businesses require DLP tools for, including:

  • Insider threats: Nearly 70% of all breaches include a human element with no ill intent, as employees strive for efficiency in their roles, potentially storing sensitive data in the wrong place or with the wrong people.
  • Malware: Inevitably, there will always be malware to contend with as hackers attempt to access, steal, and potentially corrupt sensitive data.
  • Social engineering: With malicious entities manipulating employees into sharing sensitive data, social engineering and phishing attacks can be fatal for businesses as they can expose an organisation’s trade secrets by giving them access to internal tools.
  • Ransomware: Businesses need to be prepared for ransomware attacks, with Thales reporting that the number of enterprises experiencing ransomware attacks surged by over 27% in the past year.
  • Theft or loss of physical devices: Data stored on company devices such as laptops or smartphones can be accessed by thieves, leading to data loss and corruption.

What is a DLP strategy and how can one be implemented?

A DLP strategy involves detecting and protecting sensitive data across your entire ecosystem, in order to prevent data leaks and breaches. There are multiple components to a robust DLP strategy, including experienced security experts, and the use of automated DLP tools.

A DLP strategy can be implemented using the following steps:

  1. Detect sensitive data: Potentially the most important aspect of a solid DLP strategy is identifying the types of data that are considered sensitive to your organisation, whether it’s PII, PHI, PCI, or something else. When you have decided on the risks that matter to your business, you can start to take steps to detect where sensitive data is with an automated tool to save time and resources.
  2. Classify sensitive data: Once you have an idea of where sensitive data is stored throughout your organisation, you can begin to classify it based on how critical it is to the business. Categorising your data into different levels can help everyone get on the same page when it comes to understanding the risk associated with the data you have on record.
  3. Define security policies: Your organisation’s policies should outline data governance, acceptable use policies, access controls and encryption requirements. They should be available to all employees so that everyone is aware of the implications of data leakage and breaches.
  4. Choose a DLP tool: The right DLP tool for your organisation will be one that suits your team with an interface they can easily navigate, has low false positive results, and won’t cause alert fatigue amongst your employees. A modern DLP tool can help save time and resources by automating processes, and alerting your team to the risks that matter to them.
  5. Educate your employees: Your workforce will need to understand your DLP policies in order to make data security the responsibility of everyone in the business, and create a security-conscious Human Firewall. If this isn’t put in place, your employees can fall foul of your security policies by sharing sensitive information in the wrong place or with the wrong people.
  6. Deploy continuous monitoring: Your DLP tool will likely have continuous monitoring capabilities, making it easier to understand where sensitive data is stored, detect anomalies, and react swiftly to any incidents that may occur. This is necessary to maintain control of sensitive data and minimise the impact of any data leak or breach.
  7. Regularly review your DLP set-up: Regular risk assessments can enable you to identify any vulnerabilities within your current system, and remediate them, implementing a cycle of continuous improvement.

A holistic approach to DLP, incorporating all of these steps, can help your organisation minimise the risks associated with data loss, and ensure compliance with regulatory requirements such as GDPR, HIPAA, and PCI DSS.

What are the benefits of a DLP solution?

The primary benefit to having a DLP solution in place is that it enables organisations to detect and protect sensitive data in real time, securing it so that unauthorised users are unable to access it via stringent controls, encryption, and automated remediation. This therefore reduces the risk to the business when it comes to sensitive data sharing among employees, contractors, and third parties, keeping customer, employees, and company data safe.

Legally, many organisations handling data will need to demonstrate that they can protect it to satisfy industry regulatory requirements such as PCI DSS; in this case, a DLP tool can help to show their commitment to keeping sensitive data safe. From a reputational perspective, having a DLP tool in place can also reassure customers and partners that the organisation is doing everything possible to protect sensitive data within the company, minimising the impact of data leaks and breaches, and improving trust and credibility.

Finally, an automated DLP solution can bring cost savings and operational efficiencies, allowing teams to focus their time and budgets on other pressing issues.

What are the best practices for implementing DLP?

Best practices for implementing DLP within your organisation include:

  1. Defining comprehensive policies that outline the sensitive data you will monitor, who is responsible for it, and how it should be handled by all employees. These policies should be reviewed and updated regularly, with input from key stakeholders around the business, including the senior leadership team.
  2. Understanding the risks that matter to your business is essential. Not all sensitive data will be weighted equally in your organisation, making it crucial that the security team is able to classify each sensitive data type and understand the levels of protection they need to put in place.
  3. Get leadership buy-in to ensure everyone is on the same page when it comes to data security, and that senior management understands how important the role of DLP is within the organisation.
  4. Build a human firewall of security-conscious employees who understand where sensitive data should be stored, and how they should be sharing it. Not having this in place risks your data being accessed by unauthorised users, and stored in insecure locations.
  5. Establish key goals for your DLP plan, and measure the organisation regularly against these to ensure the data security strategy is working effectively. Metrics might include employee awareness and incident response capabilities as well as attack surface measurements.

How can Metomic help?

Metomic’s DLP solution was designed to help organisations keep their teams productive while securing their sensitive data. It works in real time to ensure your data security policies are being enforced without getting in the way of employees doing their jobs.

Our intuitive platform can assist with the following security components:

  1. Sensitive Data Discovery: Detect sensitive data across your SaaS, cloud and GenAI ecosystem and gain full visibility into your data security landscape.
  2. Access Controls : Metomic helps you to implement granular access controls to limit unauthorised access to sensitive data, minimising the impact of a data leak or breach.
  3. Regulatory Compliance: Metomic helps organisations comply with data protection regulations such as GDPR, CCPA, and HIPAA by enforcing data protection policies and generating audit reports.

Take a free virtual tour of our platform today to see how it works, and how it could help your organisation to protect sensitive data.