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Steps to Data Loss Prevention / Your Cyber Security Threats Guide

Each year more companies work on shared servers, which means increased interactions with data and greater risk of threats. With files and data in many different places online and offline and types of data such as data at rest, data in use, and data in motion to contend with, it can be hard to track and protect it all. If your customers and employees are curious about what is happening to their sensitive data in your organization, you may not have a clear answer for them.

You can maintain a greater understanding and control of your most critical data and have the assurance knowing your customer and internal data is better protected by adopting a Data Loss Prevention Strategy (DLP Strategy.) Fulfilling it can be complicated, so to help you understand the process better, this article will function as the practical executive’s guide to data loss prevention the average Joe can understand.

As a managed service provider, we regularly enact these solutions for businesses so you can get back to what is most important: business success.

How Can Data Loss Be Prevented?

Left uncontrolled, data loss can be rampant. The first step is to adopt a data loss prevention strategy within your organization to significantly reduce the risk of internal data loss while making stakeholders and users aware of the risks.

Risk, as it turns out, is calculable, and it shows how susceptible your company is. The risk formula for data loss is  I x P = R. In other words, the financial impact (I) of a breach x the probability (P) that the breach will happen = the risk (R).

Reasons for Implementing a Data Loss Prevention Policy

360 Degree Understanding of Data

A good DLP provides a clear view of data location, where it is being shared and used, and who is accessing it. It’s important to maintain full control of your most critical data. You need to know every place it resides, and everywhere it goes, to secure and control access fully.

Comply with Security Regulations

Yes, rules on data exposure and interaction do exist outside your organization. Dozens of countries have well-defined laws you must follow. If you don’t, you could face fines, and those fines can be big. By understanding these regulations, you can store and put automatic controls in place that comply with surrounding rules. As a managed service provider, we often do this for our clients.

Data Breaches are Expensive in Time and Money

In business, every penny counts. Paying fines is an unwelcome surprise, but it doesn’t stop there. You also can face legal fees that can put business profits at risk. You will also have to do damage control with customers to maintain client trust.  A well-formulated DLP helps avoid these issues.

Preventing Data Leaks

External threats are only part of the problem. Internal threats also exist, and they don’t always happen on purpose. The right policies prevent theft and accidental exposure of data by your employees and by the people they communicate with.

Reduce Mobile Threats

Data in many different places can cause havoc in your organization, particularly in today’s world. The sheer number of mobile devices used for business is staggering. With businesses permitting user access to important data in remote locations and on portable devices, the risk of internal data being stolen compounds. A sound data loss prevention policy is integral.

What are DLP Rules?

Here is a list of rules to include in your policy. When forming your policy, be sure to cover all three types of data:

  • Data at rest: This type of data doesn’t move between devices or networks. It is typically stored on disks, tapes, hard drives, and flash drives.
  • Data in motion: This type of data is transferred between computer systems or entire location
  • Data in use: This type of data is actively updated and erased by users and read by a system.

Rules for formulating your DLP:

  • Define the type of data that should be protected.
  • Gain a full understanding of where the data lives.
  • Set parameters to data
  • Set guidelines to follow when suspicious actions are detected. Find out who it is, and use automatic blocking to restrict access once an issue is discovered.
  • Set guidelines for archiving data.
  • Think inside and outside the box to discover ways data could be accessed and guard against it.

What are DLP Tools?

DLP tools consist mainly of software. There are a wealth of software companies to choose from. SolarWinds, Symantic, Clearswift, SecureTrust, Check Point, and Code 42 are just a few. Some of the software comes with DLP strategy templates to help you formulate your DLP.

You will need more than one company to do everything, but managers like us can provide you with a better-defined list of options and solutions. That said, here are general capabilities that should be included.

Data Access Control

The first step is data access control. You get clear reports on all permissions and can create more controls as needed. It also provides ongoing monitoring and alerts you when and data is transferred or copied.

Content Protection:

This helps you protect confidential company information and intellectual property, as well as block access to payment card data and guard financial data, employee health information, and personal information like social security numbers.

Device Control:

Monitor, block, and control user devices to prevent access to your data.

Enforced Encryption:

Transfer confidential data using encryption – either through the cloud, your internal server, or USB devices.

Network Discovery:

See all devices that use your internal networks on an easy-to-read map.

Both In-house and Mobile System Management

Monitor data on servers, cloud storage, desktops, and mobile devices such as phones and laptops.

User Activity Tracking and Access

Know who can see what, and know when and where data is used by that user via intelligent “fingerprints” of who accessed it.

Sensitive Data Scanning

Search your systems to define areas of sensitivity and shift that data to a more secure area.

Full Deletion

If a document is deleted, this feature ensures it truly is, leaving no traces behind.

Compliance

This is important to avoid lawsuits. Look for HIPAA, PCI DDS, ISO 27001, and GDPR compliance.

Protect Against a Full Range of Devices

It’s important to secure not only your systems, but also connected devices such as cameras and USB sticks.

Conclusion

This guide to DLP strategies provides a good, general snapshot of what a DLP is and what to look for. When beginning your DLP, Haber Group is here to help. We specialize in data protection and nearly all aspects of managed IT service.

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