For many modern businesses, loss or corruption of data will lead to certain business disruptions or termination. Data loss risks exist whether your data is warehoused in on-premise data centers or sits in the cloud. Hence, your business could be derailed with a single data breach or leak. Data loss can originate from cyber attacks, disasters, or human errors. It is essential for your business to prepare and plan ahead for prevention and mitigation via a process known as Data Loss Prevention (DLP).
What is Data Loss Prevention
Data Loss Prevention is a set of programs and tools that includes elements of technologies, strategies, and techniques for preventing unauthorized access to an organization’s sensitive private data.
DLP is designed to protect organization data from external and internal threats. Data loss prevention procedures are designed to address various aspects of data security including protecting data in transit with encryption, enforcing proper data access control, and storing data securely.
Importance of Data Loss Prevention
1. Avoid Costly Expenses
Data loss doesn’t just end with the leaking of private business and customer information to the public or adversaries. It can also attract heavy fines from regulators.
For small businesses, it could also mean bankruptcy as they usually lack the resources to absorb the fines and penalties associated with a data loss. According to an Actifile survey, about 60% of companies involved in a data breach shut down within 6 months.
2. Safeguard Reputation
Data loss can cause disaffection and erode your customers’ trust in your business.
Small businesses are the most vulnerable in this instance as they have little resources to turn a PR nightmare resulting from data leaks around. Customers are more likely to move their business to your competitors after a data breach incident.
3. Protect Intellectual Property and Personal Information
Intellectual property and trade secrets that your business has developed over time may be exposed to the public in a data breach.
Data loss prevention programs help you safeguard your most important data assets while ensuring you comply with data security regulations.
4. Reduce Insider Threats
Data loss may result from innocent mistakes or malicious intents from insiders. An employee may also fall victim to a social engineering attack. A strong DLP program will have policies to make it less likely for employees to leak the company’s data.
5. Better Data Insights
A side effect of data loss prevention program implementation is well-organized data. This can help your business gain useful insights into important company data and how they are used as well as make better plans for the future.
Best Practices for Data Loss Prevention
Below are some requirements for business Data Loss Prevention:
1. Set an Objective
Objectives are needed to measure progress and help to determine if your data loss prevention strategy is working or needs updating. Your DLP objectives should reflect your company’s priorities regarding data security be it compliance with regulatory requirements, protecting intellectual property, or having better control over data access
2. Inventory and Classify Data
Data inventory will help your organization to identify all the data in various storage media including on-premise and cloud infrastructure. Protection level varies for different kinds of data.
Inventoried data should be classified according to their importance and sensitivity. These processes can also help to identify abandoned or forgotten data so they can be secured.
3. Set up Data Handling and Security Policies
Clear guidelines on data handling will empower employees and users to work with confidence. Data security policies provide a coherent approach to security and help your business better comply with legislation such as CCPA and HIPPA.
4. Control Access to Data
Restricted access to sensitive data even to authenticated personnel, is a necessary part of data loss prevention programs. Only users with direct responsibility for critical business information should have privileged access.
5. Implement Centralized DLP Program
Multiple DLP programs across various departments in your organization can cause confusion and may eventually lead to security loopholes that can be exploited by cyber attackers.
A single centrally administered DLP program will create a unified front for preventing data loss. Also, it will make it easier for employees to learn and retain security policies without grappling with conflicting information from different departments.
6. Regular Training of Employees
Your data loss prevention programs can only be as effective as the employees and users with access to the data. Your employees are a vital part of keeping you beautiful and should be part and their continuous training program should be part of your cybersecurity policies.
7. Install Data Loss Prevention Software and Tools
Using the right set of technologies and tools will go a long way in protecting your data from being stolen or abused by an unauthorized party. You may require multiple DLP tools to handle data safety requirements depending on the type of data you keep and the industry you are in.
8. Set Strong Passwords and Multi-Factor Authentication Policies
Cyber attacks against businesses often take advantage of weak passwords and the absence of multi-factor authentication to gain system-wide access to critical business data.
Multi-Factor Authentication can help stop attackers in their tracks even if they gain access to a user’s password.
Data loss prevention should take a central role in your organization’s overall cyber security strategy. Every data collected by your business should be treated with utmost importance and classified based on importance and sensitivity.
Adopting a strong data loss prevention program will help your company maintain its financial health and prevent confidential data from being mishandled. Please contact SDTEK today to learn about our managed cyber security programs.