All About Data Loss and Data Loss Prevention Best Practices 

The work and business industry is a much different place today than it was ten years back. Trends like remote working or work-at-home models and hybrid working have gained traction and other times have rapidly accelerated. However, whereas most enterprises have adapted to the post-COVID world, many plans and practices aren’t yet at the expected speed. For instance, Data Protection Acts were majorly formulated around conventional working practices. Generally, ordinary Data Loss Protection (DLP) techniques/procedures have been centered on apparatus and barriers crafted to keep critical data inside and threats outsides. This approach is centered on information in use, in transit, and at storage, with little context beyond this. 

Nevertheless, with many businesses now running beyond ordinary office settings, behaviors, mindsets, and working routines have changed. Correspondingly, the way people interact and access data has changed as well. The new working practices require new approaches to safeguarding critical information both inside and outside – solutions that greatly emphasize people instead of solely tools. 

While strategies and plans may be hanging back in the contemporary working environment, this does not correspond to the dark work. Cybercriminals have wasted no time, they’ve capitalized on the vulnerabilities and disruptions caused by the global pandemic and are now sharpening their tactics to target more users in the new potentially insecure environments. In 2021, the old foe of phishing attacks escalated significantly, with close to 95% of businesses encountering an attack. More than half of these enterprises experienced at least one compromised account, where the end-users suffered severely. Although ordinary DLP solutions can identify and mitigate initial phishing threats, they are not sufficiently robust to gather information regarding the threat scene. This leaves businesses sightless in the movement of data involving endangered user accounts and specifications. 

Contemporary Data Loss Protection solutions help organizations and IT experts swiftly identify and stop suspicious files while blocking familiar bad actors and malevolent IP addresses. They block threat actors by adapting their identification, prevention, and response to the risk level of the user as well as to the sensitivity of the information on the target. This customized approach is specifically significant for insider threats. besides, modern DLP solutions account for human attitudes and behaviors, whether in their workplace or at home. Most will instantly red flag any anomalous behavior to prevent data loss across endpoints. These adaptable DLP solutions are part of a people-centered approach that extends into training programs. 

How to develop a DLP Policy?

When you suffer a compromised account, hardware failure, or data loss from your database, you realize it immediately. Notwithstanding, when data is leaked, often, the business may not realize that it suffered a data leak, who took it, or where the data is. And not interestingly, the organization had no robust data protection solutions in place during the loss. These fundamental steps prevent data loss possibly caused by a system failure, malware invasion, or leakages. 

  • Define and prioritize critical information and locations: users/enterprises ought to identify and prioritize the specific information to safeguard, because if a business simply deploys DLP procedure across the entire organization, then it will be a waste of considerable, limited resources on information that is not critical. Also, the organization runs the risk of encountering false positives since huge volumes of data are covered.
  • Identify the data owner(s): this simplifies the process/task of searching for the owner of data in the event of potential compromise.
  • Define DLP policies: after identifying the critical data, appropriate policies should be built to safeguard data. Data protection processes like encryption and restricted access should be implemented. Users should define precise control objectives and execute the policy in test mode to assess the effect of these controls on data.
  • Define workflow and scene handling: businesses should assess their workflows to ensure the DLP policies do not disrupt legitimate processes within the organization.
  • Have an explicit backup plan: the organization should formulate a clear plan of conducting constant backups, and define what data gets backed up, and when. Also, the business should set out what gets backed up hourly, daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, yearly, and so on.
  • Match software/programs to DLP policies: the business should take time to compare the variety of DLP software providers in the market, and determine the one(s) that appropriately aligns with their policies.
  • Hire experts: whereas an organization’s IT team may be competent and talented, DLP is so deep and may require hiring external data experts, consulting companies, and cloud service providers. 

DLP Best Practices 

  • Monitor data movement: data movement in and out of an organization’s network must be constantly monitored to identify anomalous behaviors. For instance, unusual data movement may imply potential data theft or hardware failure.
  • Deploy firm patch policies: Users/businesses must keep their hardware firmware, OSs, and application updated to roll out automatic fixes to address system faults and vulnerabilities.
  • Automate where possible: manual deployment of DLP is feasible only for SMEs, where computing is housed in a small environment. However, automating DLP processes in a large business enables broad deployment across the whole enterprise. This involves patching and application of policies including various security measures.
  • Engage leadership: deployment of DLP solutions requires the support of top leadership in terms of finances and strategies. This is because the management understands the importance of protecting data.
  • Educate staff: often, employees are the weakest link that results in data loss. Don’t overlook employees are mind readers, educate them on DLP best practices like how to identify malicious actors, and when to report anomalies in the organization network:
  • Use metrics constantly: DLP success is measured using a repeated test to formulate trends and identify patterns. Metrics such as the percentage of false positives and incident count show the efficiency of policies.
  • Constantly inspect and refine plans: DLP policies aren’t fire and forget, they ought to be monitored, refined, and updated regularly. Any change of policy must be communicated in time.

Conclusion 

Data is a valuable asset to an organization, it’s what the enterprise is built on. It ought to be protected as though it were a treasure. This is achievable through the deployment of robust DLP solutions.  

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