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7 Reasons Why You Need Data Loss Prevention For Your Business

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Last updated February 13th, 2024 by Simon Rodgers in Security, Explainer

Shield protecting data

Protecting sensitive data in an increasingly digital world is becoming more and more challenging.

With organizations moving towards cloud-based infrastructure and the sheer amount of data collected continuing to increase, the need for robust data protection procedures is at an all-time high.

IT Governance reported that in 2023, over 8 billion records were breached globally. And those are just those that were reported.

Data loss prevention is now a necessity for your business. This article will teach you exactly what data loss prevention is, how it works, and why you need it for your business.

What is Data Loss Prevention?

Data loss prevention (DLP) describes the sets of tools and procedures that a business uses to prevent and detect the loss or misuse of its data. DLP ensures that sensitive information isn't accessed by unauthorized users and leaked, stolen, or misused.

Using DLP tools, data can be detected and classified. Specific policies are used for logging, marking, encrypting, or blocking certain data types or sensitive information. These tools can also provide reporting to meet compliance requirements, which is particularly helpful for companies in healthcare or finance.

Put simply, DLP solutions prevent data breaches, detect abnormal activity, and report on such activity as part of a more comprehensive cybersecurity strategy.

How does Data Loss Prevention Work?

Using enterprise architecture tools, an organization may align its goals and long-term strategy with its IT infrastructure and operations. As part of this process, DLP solutions should be used to support an organization's security strategy in the following ways:

  • Prevention: scanning networks and data streams to deny unauthorized users and restrict suspicious activity.
  • Detection: identifying suspicious activity through rigorous vulnerability monitoring.
  • Response: dealing with incidents and creating reports on data breaches.
  • Analysis: analyzing incidents to inform remediation and security procedures going forward.

DLP provides full visibility

An eye watching different data

A comprehensive data loss prevention solution provides complete visibility into all data on your organization's network, which is hugely beneficial. This includes:

  • Data in use: Secures endpoint data or data in an application through authentication and access control.
  • Data in motion: Ensures the safe and secure movement of sensitive data through the network using encryption.
  • Data at rest: Uses access restrictions and user authentication to protect data that is being stored in any number of network locations.

Types of Data Loss Prevention

There are three types of DLP, all of which encompass slightly different things.

Network DLP

This monitors activity such as email, messaging, and file transfers to detect data breaches across the organization's network. It can detect when business-critical or sensitive information is being sent, violating security policies.

Endpoint DLP

This monitors all network endpoints to assist in the classification of data, which streamlines reporting and compliance requirements. Endpoints may include devices such as computers, laptops, servers, and cloud storage. Basically, this type of DLP monitors data anywhere it is stored.

Cloud DLP

As you might expect, cloud DLP solutions are designed to protect data stored in the cloud. It can involve scanning and encrypting sensitive data before storing it and maintaining policies to ensure that only authorized users or devices are allowed access to it.

7 Reasons Why You Need Data Loss Prevention For Your Business

An umbrella protecting a lock in a shield

We've already discussed how DLP can help minimize data breaches, but why is it so important? Let's take a look at seven reasons why you need data loss prevention for your business.

1. There's more data than ever

In today's digital marketplace, there are more opportunities than ever to collect, store - and steal - data.

Most (if not all) organizations collect and store data. This may include:

  • Customers' personal information (email addresses, phone numbers, etc.)
  • Employee information (payroll details, home address, etc.)
  • Intellectual property (design ideas, prototypes, etc.)
  • Business secrets (budgets, future plans, etc.)

Clearly, this information needs to be protected. It's not just hackers to be aware of, either. Everything from resentful ex-employees taking secrets with them to work laptops getting lost in the subway can be a risk. DLP solutions are now necessary for any organization that collects or stores data.

2. There are more places that need protection

Similarly, technological advances and a massive increase in cloud storage have made protecting your data quite complex! Data storage solutions are becoming more advanced, too, with solutions such as Apache Parquet becoming more popular.

Any organization is likely to have data being stored or sent to multiple different places. Cloud storage, servers, and complex supply chain networks mean that your data can be found in many places and formats. It is essential to ensure you monitor all of these locations to prevent data loss or misuse.

3. Laws and regulations are stricter

Laws and regulations around data are constantly evolving. Our fast-paced world has led to increased data-related regulations, which are getting stricter, too.

Your business must comply with all relevant laws and regulations about data protection and cybersecurity in general. Laws such as GDPR and HIPAA ensure that organizations protect data and prevent sensitive data from being stolen, leaked, or lost.

DLP solutions help organizations meet these ever-changing compliance standards by ensuring data is classified and stored confidentially and flexibly.

4. Data breaches are large and more common

These days, data breaches are frequent and significant. Cybercriminals target individuals and businesses regularly for a variety of motives. They could be hoping to obtain personal financial information to commit fraud, or they may target particular organizations for political gain.

Plus, as we mentioned, it's not always targeted attacks. Sometimes, it can simply be opportunity-based - perhaps an employee loses their phone, which has access to unsecured data, or someone attaches to the wrong email address.

Whatever the reason behind the breach, the fact is that they are happening more and more. Even small businesses are vulnerable to cyberattacks. Data breaches can be disastrous for your organization in terms of downtime and cost, and DLP can help protect against them.

5. More robust protection is needed

A data shield over the world

As we have established, there has been an increase in the amount of data organizations consume, store, and analyze. Traditional security solutions such as firewalls and encryption provide some protection. Still, they are not enough to protect against data leakage and are not sophisticated enough to classify, control, and analyze sensitive data.

Data loss prevention requires robust vulnerability monitoring procedures to prevent, detect, respond to, and analyze data breaches and security incidents

6. Reduce risk to your reputation

A data breach or data loss can be fatal for your business. Picture this: your database of customer details has been leaked, and it's all over the news and social media. It is reported that customer data was not adequately protected, and therefore, you have put all your customers' information at risk of being stolen. This doesn't paint a picture of an organization that can be trusted, does it?

Any business, especially those that have undergone business capability modeling, will want to maintain and uphold its reputation. Data loss prevention solutions can reduce the risk of damaging your reputation by adequately protecting your and your customers' data. By quickly identifying security incidents and following adequate procedures, your business can maintain its reputation and your customers' trust.

7. Reduce financial risk

Shield over coins and money

Not only can DLP solutions reduce the risk of a ruined reputation, but they can also reduce financial risks associated with data loss or breaches. The global average cost of a data breach in 2023 was $4.45 million - an increase of 15% over the previous 3-year period. Can you really afford to risk it?

By actively monitoring threats, you can stop them before they escalate, reducing the impact substantially. Plus, you can analyze prior attempts that have been made, helping spot future ones before they start to cost you money.

Final Thoughts

Data loss prevention is not something that you can ignore for your business. With vast amounts of data being collected, processed, and stored across your network, you must take steps to protect it from data breaches, data loss, and misuse.

Failure to do so can be catastrophic for your organization. Data breaches can lead to substantial financial losses and damage your business's reputation. Not to mention that the data laws and regulations are becoming stricter and more robust, so failure to comply can be a costly and damaging mistake.

If you are serious about keeping your data secure, make data loss prevention for your business a top priority.

Simon Rodgers

Simon Rodgers is a tech-savvy digital marketing expert with more than 20 years of experience in the field. He is engaged in many projects, including the remote monitoring service WebSitePulse. He loves swimming and skiing and enjoys an occasional cold beer in his spare time.

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