Every company, regardless of size or industry, needs a data loss prevention (DLP) strategy to prevent unauthorized access to or deletion of data.
The primary focus of the strategy should be ensuring the protection of crucial, sensitive, or regulated data, including financial information, personal health information, and intellectual property. DLP often blends technology with rules.
Examples of common techniques include configuring user workstations to forbid the use of USB devices and establishing written policies governing the transmission of sensitive information through email. For more extensive protection, many firms deploy a data loss prevention system, which can:
- Managing information asset access rights
- Monitor activity on workstations, servers, and networks, both successful and failed;
- Including information on who is copying, viewing, and screenshotting which files.
- Incorporate those traveling from far-off locations using laptops and other mobile devices, and audit information flow within and outside the business.
- Use flash drives and instant messaging apps, restrict the number of data transfer channels, and intercept and block outgoing data streams.
Here are a few of the best techniques for data loss prevention that we have gathered:
Determine the sensitive data’s classification.
Percy Grunwald, founder of Compare Banks shares the following: “To properly protect the many types of data you possess, you must be completely aware of them.
Data discovery technology will search your data repositories and present the findings so you can identify what information needs to be secured.
Data discovery engines often use regular expressions for their searches, which are tremendously flexible but challenging to construct and fine-tune.
By employing data discovery and data categorization technologies, you may restrict user data access and stop retaining sensitive data in locations that aren’t secure, which reduces the likelihood of data leaks and data loss.
Every essential or sensitive data should be clearly marked with a digital signature that specifies its classification in order to allow you to preserve it in accordance with the value of the data to the enterprise.
Third-party solutions like Netwrix Data Classification may help to ease and enhance data discovery and classification.
When data is created, edited, preserved, or shared, the classification may change.
However, measures must be taken to prevent users from artificially increasing category levels. For example, only privileged users should be permitted to reduce a data’s category.”
Use Data encryption For Data Loss Prevention
Isla Sibanda, an expert in cyber security and owner of Privacy Australia shares: “It is recommended that all crucial company data be encrypted both in transit and at rest. Portable devices should use encrypted disc solutions if they are going to store any critical data.
Encrypting the hard drives can help stop the loss of crucial data even if attackers get access to the computer or laptop.
The most basic way to encrypt data on Windows PCs is the Encrypting File System (EFS) technology. When an authorized user accesses a file that is encrypted, EFS sends an unencrypted copy of the file to the application.
Authorized users have access to read or modify the file, while EFS transparently saves changes as encrypted data.
Unauthorized users are prevented from seeing a file’s content even if they have full access to the device since they will get an “Access refused” notice, which prevents a data breach.
Another encryption technique provided by Microsoft is called BitLocker. BitLocker completes EFS by providing an additional level of protection for data stored on Windows-based devices.
BitLocker protects against data theft or exposure on lost or stolen endpoint devices and enables safe data deletion when a device is retired.
An alternative to software-based encryption is hardware-based encryption. Under the advanced settings choices on several BIOS setup menus, you may decide whether to enable or deactivate a trusted platform module (TPM), a chip that can store cryptographic keys, passwords, or certificates.
A TPM may help create hash keys and protect devices outside PCs, such as smartphones. It may provide values to be used with whole-disk encryption, like BitLocker. However, TPM chip can also be placed on the motherboard which can help a lot.”
Run, Walk, and Crawl
I can still remember working on my very first Vontu/Symantec DLP install. Do not boil the ocean straight out of the gate, one of our sales engineers said.
He was telling us to focus on little victories rather than activating every single policy tick.
By doing so, the system would become overburdened and inundated with many instances, negating the goal of the investment. A decade later, the same idea still holds true.
Build the system progressively as your knowledge of the product deepens, beginning with a limited subset of policies to gain leadership’s trust.
Identify The DLP Support Team and Stakeholders
According to Kevin Holmes, founder of Hairbro: “It is not unexpected to see that many businesses have Data Loss revention in the environment but seldom use the features or have support teams to handle problems.
Establish a DLP Committee inside the organization with representation from senior leaders, business unit managers, legal, and infosec management.
Consider collaborating with a managed service provider that specializes in DLP if internal resources are insufficient to support DLP Operations.”
Inform Stakeholders Frequently About The DLP Program’s Status
Ensure that everyone who needs to know is informed about the program’s status.
Consider creating a Data Loss Prevention committee including key business unit leaders and members of the Executive Leadership.
Monthly or quarterly meetings will help to drive the program regularly and ensure that the investment’s quality is operating at its peak.
Set up a stringent patch management strategy
Ensuring that all operating systems and programs in your IT environment are up to date is essential for data protection and cybersecurity.
Despite the fact that certain operations, such as upgrading antivirus tool signatures, may be automated, significant infrastructure updates need comprehensive testing to ensure that no functionality is lost and no vulnerabilities are introduced to the system.
As much as you can, automate.
Jack Sobel, co-founder of Rabbi Meir Baal Haness Charities believes in automation. He states: “DLP procedures may be implemented more widely throughout the company the more automated they are.
The demands of all but the smallest IT environments cannot be met by manual DLP operations because of their inherent scope limitations and inability to scale. As a result, manually doing so leads to mistakes and data loss. The solution for this is automating the process as much as possible.”