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The idea that knowledge is power is a timeless one. The concept first appeared in the Old Testament, predating our modern age by millennia. And yet, its core teaching couldn’t be more relevant in a digital age that sees thousands of data breaches per year. Cyberattackers are painfully aware of what access to confidential information can earn them, and they exploit this awareness constantly. This is why your company needs DLP security.

But what is DLP security? How can it help your enterprise? And, most importantly, how do you implement such an approach? Keep reading to find out.

DLP Security Definition

Before diving into the topic of DLP security, it is important for me to, first of all, reiterate what the acronym stands for. In a recent Heimdal Security blog article on DLP solutions, my colleague Vladimir pertinently explained that:

DLP, which stands for Data Loss Prevention, is a system or flow or both that detects and prevents potential data leaks and data exfiltration through continuous monitoring and company-defined security policies. A DLP solution can operate at different levels. For instance, even though most DLPs are deployed at the network level – which is considered the most ‘abused’ attack vector – there are DLPesque solutions that cover (un)removable storage devices and, of course, endpoints.

Thus, a data loss prevention solution is meant to protect your enterprise against data breaches. And according to Statista, this is an issue to be reckoned with. A whopping 540 incidents of this type were recorded in the first half of 2020 in the United States alone. Therefore, DLP security is essential to the cyber-health of your organization.

But What is DLP Security?

Simply put, DLP security is a cybersecurity strategy that prevents sensitive data from being moved outside a corporate network. It achieves this by allowing sysadmins to screen what data individual endpoint users within the company access and share amongst themselves. Four main steps are involved in the process:

  1. Monitoring, which provides system and data access visibility.
  2. Filtering, which limits suspicious network activity.
  3. Reporting, which is useful to auditing and incident response.
  4. Analyzing, which identifies gaps in security and irregular behaviors.

DLP Security Benefits

Now that we’ve established what DLP security is, it’s time to get into what it can do for your organization. An information security strategy based on data loss prevention has three main benefits that you should consider, namely data visibility, intangible assets, and enhanced compliance. Let’s have a more detailed look at each one.

Data Visibility

By implementing a DLP security policy, your company’s network administrators will gain insight into how user accounts on various endpoints handle and use sensitive data. To protect confidential information and prevent it from being exploited by malicious third parties, you need to first know where it exists in the system and who accesses it.

Intangible Assets

At an enterprise level, the existence of trade secrets and other confidential files in a company’s data pool is not uncommon. These valuable pieces of information represent highly desirable targets for hackers or malicious insiders. Having a DLP security strategy in place will help you not only identify critical infrastructure data but protect it as well.

Enhanced Compliance

As a business owner, you should ideally know by now that your organization is expected to abide by several mandatory industry standards. The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) or Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) are but a few of the many examples of compliance regulations that might apply to your firm.

Implementing a companywide DLP security policy is the first step towards enhancing the compliance level of your institution. It will aid you to secure the personally identifiable information (PII) stored on servers, as well as other bits of sensitive info that your employees handle. To help you get started with this initiative, I have detailed an efficient five-step system below.

How to Implement DLP Security

#1 Identify and Categorize Company Data

The first step in implementing a successful DLP security approach for your enterprise starts at the D in DLP, aka the data. To protect the confidential information stored within your systems, you must first know where and what said information is. A data audit can help you achieve this.

According to Techopedia, a data audit assess the quality or utility of the information in your system to determine what purpose it serves. Usually, the process depends on having a registry of data assets in the first place. That’s why your company needs asset tracking software such as our very own Heimdal™ Patch & Asset Management.

#2 Assign Essential DLP Security Roles

Besides knowing what data your company holds and where it exists in the system, you should also identify who does what within your DLP security strategy. To clarify, certain employees are more suitable to handle the protection of data assets than others depending on their position and level of involvement. Essential roles must be assigned from the get-go within the relevant teams so that data loss prevention is successful.

#3 Secure the Most Sensitive Data First

At this point in the implementation of DLP security, it is essential to also determine which of your data assets are more susceptible to cyberattacks through an extensive vulnerability risk assessment. Knowing which parts of your network are more likely to be targeted will allow you to prioritize their security. In this way, crucial resources will be focused where it matters most for the time being. After ensuring that the most sensitive files are safe, you can continue implementing the strategy on a larger scale.

#4 Automate the DLP Security Process

Enforcing DLP security on the daily can become a resource-extensive and time-consuming task for your sysadmins that have to do it manually. This is why automating the process as much as possible will help you widen the scope of its deployment and save your employees precious hours in their workday as well.

One way to achieve automation is through our Heimdal™ Patch & Asset Management solution that I mentioned in step #1. Besides keeping a record of the software installed on company endpoints, it also acts as an automatic software updater that patches application vulnerabilities as soon as new versions are released by their respective third-party vendors.

In addition to managing patches and assets, our Heimdal Security suite of cybersecurity tools allows administrators to streamline workflows through Privileged Access Management and standalone Heimdal Application Control. These two solutions allow them to easily curate access rights within the organization, as well as black or whitelist applications on session elevation.

#5 Use Advanced Threat Detection

Another way to prevent data exfiltration is by putting an advanced threat prevention and detection system in place. Advanced solutions utilize machine learning to not only create a database of already existing suspicious behaviors but detect new ones as well.

Heimdal™ Threat Prevention and its DarkLayer Guard™ & VectorN Detection technologies can help you with that. Our proprietary tool comes in two separate Network and Endpoint modules that can be used individually or in tandem. For complete DLP security, I recommend that latter approach.

Wrapping Up…

A multi-layered affair, DLP security protects your enterprise against one of the most prevalent modern threats: data breaches. Fortunately, you can prevent them with the right strategy and state of the art tools that back it up. And when it comes to tools, rest assured that the Heimdal Security suite of solutions is at your disposal. Contact us at sales.inquiries@heimdalsecurity.com and find out which of our products are right for your organization.

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