How to Guide – Data Loss Prevention

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Data flows to stakeholders, clients, remote staff, other authorized users, and even unauthorized individuals inside and outside organizations. Many companies that lack effective practices for avoiding data loss find that it is a struggle to keep track of all their data.

Employees use several authorized and unauthorized communication channels to send data. Also, employees save their files in their desktop, laptop, notebook, smartphone, file server, cloud, and several different devices.

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This indicates a lack of transparency on what data leaves the company, which complicates data loss prevention. A program that enforces best practices for data loss protection will help avoid sensitive data from getting into the wrong hands. Read on to learn more about data loss prevention.

How to Guide - Data Loss Prevention

Implement a Single Centralized DLP Program

Most companies adopt inconsistent, ad hoc DLP procedures, and innovations implemented by different departments and business units. 

This inconsistency results in a lack of control in data assets and poor data protection. Furthermore, workers appear to neglect DLP department initiatives that are not supported by the rest of the company.

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Evaluate Internal Resources

Organizations need staff with DLP experience to develop and implement a DLP strategy, involving DLP risk analysis, data breach response and reporting, data security laws, and DLP training and awareness. 

Some government regulations mandate companies to either hire internal employees or acquire data security expertise from external consultants.

For example, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) contains provisions affecting organizations selling products or services or tracking their conduct to customers in the European Union (EU). 

The GDPR mandates a Data Protection Officer (DPO) or personnel who may perform DPO duties, including administering compliance audits, tracking DLP results, training employees on compliance requirements.

Conduct an Inventory and Assessment

A significant early phase in implementing a DLP program is assessing the types of data and their importance to the organization. 

This requires knowing relevant information, where the data is stored, and whether it is sensitive data, intellectual property, confidential information, or data addressed by regulations.

Like McAfee DLP, some DLP products can easily recognize information assets by scanning file metadata and cataloging the results, or by opening files for content analysis if needed. 

If the data is leaked, the next step is to determine the risk associated with each data form. Various factors involve data exit points and the possible cost to the company if the data is lost.

Always Back Up Your Data

The greatest defense is prevention. Build a systematic backup plan, and back up your files routinely. Your backup plan should include the various data levels you have in your organization and the timetable for their backups. 

Some information is so vital that you may need to back it up every week. Make sure you test your backups regularly to ensure your data is being backed up.

Create a Classification System

How to Guide - Data Loss Prevention

It includes a data classification system or taxonomy for both unstructured and structured data before an entity can develop and implement DLP policies. 

Data security categories could include sensitive, internal, public, personally identifiable information (PII), financial data, controlled data, intellectual property, etc.

To better distinguish the main categories of data, DLP products can search for data using a pre-configured taxonomy, which the company can later modify. 

Although DLP software automates and accelerates classification, the categories are selected and customized by humans. Besides, content owners may visually assess those types of content that are not recognizable using simple keywords or phrases.

Conclusion

No one likes to assume the worst, but, in any case, you can always prepare for it. Data regarding your company is no exception to this rule. For all industries, data has become extremely valuable. 

Data loss can be catastrophic for organizations, whether from a security breach or a careless error. You can avoid data loss in your company through these five ways.

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