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Decoding Data Loss Prevention (DLP): Understanding its Features, Types, and Importance

What is Data Loss Prevention (DLP)?

Data Loss Prevention (DLP) software is crucial to ensure that data is not lost, misused or accessed by unapproved individuals. Data loss prevention software monitors, detects and potentially blocks sensitive data exfiltration while the data is in use, in motion or at rest. It is largely driven by regulatory compliance as enterprises today must be able to demonstrate adequate care has been taken to avert the loss or theft of confidential and sensitive information on their networks.

How does DLP Security Work?

Data Loss Prevention (DLP) is a proactive approach used to protect sensitive information within an enterprise, irrespective of its location. The core steps involved in the working of DLP security solutions include:

  • Discovery & Categorization: DLP security identifies and categorizes your sensitive data. This can involve keywords, file types, or fingerprinting specific data patterns. Imagine it like a librarian meticulously sorting documents based on their confidentiality.
  • Detection: Once classified, DLP monitors data movement. This includes activities like copying files, emailing documents, or uploading data to cloud storage. This allows it to proactively watch out for data seekers.
  • Action through Monitoring and Response: DLP solutions continuously monitor data movement and user activities to detect policy violations in real time. When DLP detects a potential violation of your organization’s security policies, it takes pre-defined actions such as notifying security teams, blocking access, or encrypting data.

Why Data Loss Prevention (DLP) is Important?

The ability to detect and ultimately provide data leakage protection or theft aversion is core to cybersecurity defense – after all, that’s what most attackers are ultimately after. DLP solutions are deployed to combat the threat of data theft or leakage from these personas:

External Malicious Actor

This adversary is typically well-funded and very sophisticated. Security teams must have visibility into all activity, highlighted by data loss prevention solutions, anomalous and suspicious behavior detection, cyber threat hunting tools, and rapid and automated response capabilities.

Malicious Insider

This adversary is also well-funded and smart, but they have already been granted access to the network. For the malicious insider/external actor, it’s critical to have data loss detection and prevention policies that are enforced to prevent sensitive data from being stolen.

Uninformed Employee

This person inadvertently provides information to the malicious actor. Security tools must detect and respond to not only attacks that target employees, but risky also actions that employees perform to circumvent security policies and controls.

What are the Different Types of Data Loss Prevention Solutions?

Network DLP

Network data loss prevention solutions detect and block sensitive data in motion – preventing it from leaving via network communications. This can include email or web applications.

Endpoint DLP

Endpoint data loss prevention solutions detect and block sensitive data while in use.

Storage DLP

Storage data loss prevention solution is designed to detect and block the loss of data at rest.

Types of Threats DLP Solutions can Defend.

By proactively identifying and controlling data flow, DLP helps safeguard against the following key threats:

  • External Attacks: DLP protects against external threats from cybercriminals seeking to infiltrate organizational networks and steal sensitive data. This includes a range of threats like ransomware, phishing and more.
  • Intellectual Property Theft: Data Loss Prevention solutions help safeguard intellectual property (IP) and proprietary information from theft or unauthorized disclosure. These assets are often valuable to competitors and adversaries.
  • Compliance Violations: Regulations such as GDPR, HIPAA, PCI DSS, and others mandate the protection of crucial personal information. DLP security solutions are required to maintain compliance and regulatory standards.

By implementing robust Data Loss Prevention solutions and policies, organizations can strengthen their security posture and safeguard their most valuable assets from unauthorized access or disclosure.

What are the Key Aspects of a Network Data Loss Prevention (DLP) Solution?

There are three critical components of an overall network data loss prevention solution:

  • Detect and block sensitive data in motion from leaving through network traffic.
  • Monitor data in use on endpoints and block unauthorized attempts to steal data.
  • Monitor all data at rest within a storage location where if accessed or manipulated to exfiltrate data, a blocking action should occur.

Fidelis Network Data Loss Prevention Solution

Fidelis Security’s Patented Deep Session Inspection® technology gives you the ability to investigate threats and stop sessions that violate policies with details about who is sending and receiving data and what type of data is being sent. DLP security with Fidelis prevents data loss for your enterprise by:

  • Extracting metadata and monitoring 300+ different attributes
  • Providing increased data visibility
  • Investigating how and why your data moves
  • Preventing data theft or unauthorized sharing
  • Safeguarding IP and business reputation
  • Ensuring compliance
Picture of Maria Glendinning
Maria Glendinning

Maria has worked at Fidelis Security for over 6 years, where she has evolved from an ISR to a strategic role as the Business Development and Channel Marketing Manager for the EMEA region. Her journey reflects a passion for cutting-edge technologies, particularly in the cyberspace, driving her relentless pursuit of new skills and knowledge to excel in her role. With a multicultural background, and fluency in three languages, Maria possesses a profound appreciation for diverse cultures and traditions, enriching her professional interactions with a global perspective. Beyond her professional pursuits, In her free time, Maria enjoys hiking, travelling, theatre and cinema, and socializing with friends and family.

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