Data Loss Prevention: 5 Best Practices & Strategies
With the growth of the internet, the magnitude and likelihood of data theft have been increasing consistently in the last few years. Therefore, Data Loss Prevention (DLP) has become a massive concern for businesses worldwide. Today, every organization, regardless of its size and niche, needs an effective data loss prevention strategy to restrict data from being hacked or stolen.
Is your organization also in need of data loss prevention strategies? If yes, you might be looking for various methods to implement them.
Here are the best five practices and strategies you can consider for your organization to restrict any data losses in the future.
1. Identify the Sensitive Data
You can’t effectively protect data unless you know exactly what type of data you have and what needs to be protected. The best way to know your organization’s data is by conducting an assessment of your whole organization’s data. Depending on your organization’s size, this process can be a bit exhaustive.
Once you analyze the data, you need to segment it into sensitive and non-sensitive data. The sensitive data is the data that needs to be prioritized. Sensitive data may include consumer information, financial data, intellectual property, etc., depending upon the nature of your organization.
After segmenting the data, you need to identify its location. It might be a cloud database or a physical server. Then you also need to figure out all the methods to access that data. Once this process is completed, the sensitive data should be clearly labeled with a digital signature denoting its classification. For this purpose, you can use data discovery technology. It scans your data and reports on the findings. These findings give you visibility into what data you need to protect. If you find difficulty in segmenting and accessing your organization’s data, you can consider DLP(Data Loss Prevention) Assessment
The classification can be updated accordingly as the data is regularly created, modified, stored, or transmitted. To streamline this process, you can also prevent users from falsifying classification by creating an access control list. It is a list that defines who can access resources and at what level.
2. Research Security Solution and Encrypt Data
You must first evaluate your internal resources to identify data loss prevention solutions. Begin with your IT security team and determine if an existing solution can accommodate your data loss prevention needs. After that, look for other solutions based on your organization’s data needs.
There are solutions for specific components of data loss prevention like endpoint security, and there are all in one system for Network DLP, Storage DLP, Cloud DLP, etc. Irrespective of your solution, ensure everything is covered, including all file servers, databases, cloud apps, email, etc.
Besides this solution, all critical business data should be encrypted. You can use software and hardware-based encryption to protect your data at rest or in transit. For example, to protect your cloud data, you can use cloud encryption services, and to encrypt data on your windows, use Encrypting File Systems (EFS) technology.
3. Establish Policy for Data Handling
After identifying the sensitive data and data loss prevention solution, it’s time to create a policy for data handling. Engage your IT and business staff in policy development. While developing the policy, identify the following
- Data Categories
- Steps needed to combat malpractices
- Future growth of data loss prevention strategy
- Steps that need to be taken to restrict any unusual activity.
- Response to each unique situation
4. Roll Out the Solutions in Stages
Implementing all data loss prevention solutions is a time-consuming and long-term process. That’s why it is best to roll out solutions in stages instead of trying to implement all solutions simultaneously.
To do so, prioritize your most sensitive data based on the identification you have done in the first step. Then focus on just one system or database, or communication channel one at a time. For example, you can first implement security for your cloud database and, subsequently, roll out a security strategy on endpoint devices. The rollout of the data loss prevention solutions will be based on the type of data, its location, and risk factor.
5. Educate Your Team and Stakeholders
Developing and implementing the data loss prevention policy is not enough. Your entire team and all stakeholders should understand the policy and its importance. Therefore, you must invest in making your entire organization aware of the policy, its significance, and what they need to do to secure the data.
You can consider personal training, seminars, online training, and other methods for educating your team. You can also send frequent emails revealing the importance of data security.
The success of the Data loss Prevention strategy depends on your planning and deployment technique. In this article, we have discussed all the various methods for data loss prevention. Understanding the above-mentioned basic practices will help you establish a successful program that will provide excellent security for your organization now and for years to come.