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Data Security

The Ultimate Guide to Data Leakage Prevention- What it is and What You Can Do About it!

By | Data Security

The Ultimate Guide to Data Leakage Prevention

Do you know what data leakage prevention is and how it could benefit your business?

Do you know everything you need to about data leakage prevention?

Data leaks can cause huge problems for your company. Data leakage prevention is one of the best things you can do for your business – you just need to know the right steps to take.

We’ve compiled this guide to walk you through what you need to know about data leakage and how to stop it before it starts. Keep reading to learn how to keep your valuable business information safe.

What is Data Leakage Prevention?

Data leakage prevention is slightly different than data loss, although they’re often discussed in the same breath. What is it that separates these two things?

Both a data loss and a data leak can result in data breaches for your company. However, both of these things need to be handled and prevented in different ways.

With data loss prevention, the focus is on preventing data from becoming lost or stolen, and detecting it if it happens. This covers everything from malware and ransomware attacks to a lost company smartphone with important information on it.

Data leak prevention, however, is a more complicated game. Data leaks refer to when valuable information is moving between the critical systems in an organization. Safeguards need to be put in place to prevent that data from “leaking” out where it doesn’t belong.

Why Data Leakage Prevention Matters

A leak may not sound like that big of a deal. After all, how could enough information to matter leak out in these processes?

However, data leaks can be just as serious as the more well-known types of data loss. When sensitive information moves through channels at your business, it needs to be protected just like sensitive information moving through channels outside of your business.

The internet has made the barrier between your business and the rest of the world much slimmer than it once was, which is why even data that’s “within” the business must still be protected. If it leaks, it can get stolen and used against you.

Now, let’s take a look at how to prevent leaks from happening.

1. Know Your Critical Data

The first step is identifying which data is critical for your company to protect. You have to categorize data based on how much protection it really needs, so you can focus your data leak prevention where it’s most needed.

The most sensitive data will depend on the kind of business you do. It might include financial statements, customer information, or other types of information. Proper classification of the information is important for an effective anti-leak strategy.

Start by targeting the most sensitive information for protection. You can’t protect all of your data the same way at the same time, so you’ll need a tiered approach that begins with the most critical stuff.

Make sure to train your employees throughout the process, so they can also recognize what’s most critical. Implement review periods, too, to measure the results of your strategies.

2. Monitor Activity and Access

Next, you’ll need to start monitoring all of the access and activity on your networks. You need to be able to map out the flow of information throughout your business, and track where important data is at any given time.

Many hackers will watch your network for as long as six months before they actually try to steal anything. That’s why you need to know how to look for leaks before they happen. If you wait too long, a hacker could already have access to your compromised information.

Use monitoring tools to watch your activity and access. Make sure there’s a system of red flags in place for when employees delete, copy, or download sensitive information.

Not all employees should have the same level of access. Carefully control the information that people can view. If it’s sensitive information, make sure access is only given to those who really need to have it.

You can also add a Data Activity Monitoring or DAM solution to help protect your information. DAM helps you detect any unauthorized activity on the network, giving you another layer of protection.

You can never be too safe, so make sure you have the right layers of monitoring, alerts, and blocking users remotely when needed.

3. Add Encryption

Encryption is your friend, as you probably already know from sending information outside of the business.

You should also be encrypting sensitive, confidential, or private information when it travels on channels in-house, too. Although encryption isn’t a perfect technology, it’s still a great way to help secure your data.

With encryption, even if a data leak does occur, the information contained won’t be useful to anyone who can find it.

Make sure to encrypt both resting data and moving data for maximum security. This will help protect you even from the most advanced hackers. Encryption adds another layer of protection that you can’t afford to miss.

4. Have a Lockdown System

You need to be able to lock down the network in the case of a data leak. Data leaks are only becoming more common, as more and more businesses use mobile technology. Employees might not even realize which of their mobile practices are unsafe, so you need to be able to lock things down if a leak does happen.

This is another aspect you’ll want to train your employees on, too. Teach best practices for accessing data via mobile without allowing leaks.

5. Add Security to Endpoints

Even within your company’s infrastructure, data is leaving the network at specific endpoints. Make sure to monitor those points to see what kind of information is passing through them, and what device or channel is involved.

If you don’t protect your endpoints, you’re less likely to notice a leak until it’s too late.

Do You Need Data Leakage Prevention?

To protect your company, you need to cover both traditional data loss and other types of data leaks.

However, protecting your business isn’t something you need to do on your own. Stay safer with the help of experienced professionals. Find out more about what we can do to help here.

What You Need to Know About Data Security Solutions

By | Data Security

What You Need to Know About Data Security Solutions

Data security solutions are essential to keep your business’s and your customers’ data protected. Here’s what you need to know when exploring options.

What’s your company’s data worth? How valuable are your customer records, production process, and secret formulas?

Data might only comprise only part of what your company is worth. But it’s critical and unique to your business.

Look at it this way. If you lost your offices or all your inventory, you’d have a financial setback. But if you lost your data, especially to a competitor, it could be catastrophic to the health of your business.

No business can risk having data leak from their organization. That’s why there’s data loss prevention (DPL). And, why we’re going to share what you need to know to make it part of your operation.

What Is Data Loss Prevention?

Data loss prevention (DLP) is software that identifies, monitors, and protects confidential data. The data can be in use or in motion on the network. It can be in permanent or temporary storage on servers, desktops, laptops and mobile devices used anywhere within the company.

DLP is designed to keep sensitive data inside your organization where it belongs. It’s a quiet workhorse.

Software designed to protect against cyber attacks and other external threats get a lot of attention. But data loss protection technology isn’t on everyone’s radar.

On one hand, this is good. Record-breaking security breaches from external sources compel every business to stop malware and viruses.

But did you know that internal leaks are also on the rise? Most are inadvertent but are no less serious.

Strategies

Software is at the core of data loss prevention. But it’s not plug-and-play.

Every organization must develop a strategy for how they’ll use the software.

To develop a strong, responsive strategy, IT leadership and team must:

  1. Prioritize data based on business risk
  2. Classify and categorize the data
  3. Understand at what points data is at risk
  4. Develop controls and communicate how they work and who they affect
  5. Monitor all data movement and document common paths
  6. Train support staff and end-users, providing continuous guidance and support
  7. Establish a rollout plan for initial implementation and subsequent updates

Implementing data loss prevention solutions without a strategy is a high-risk choice. There’s a good chance that some sensitive data will be missed or emphasis will be placed on low-value data.

Policies

In this context, think of policies as rules. Policies dictate, at a digital level, how data can be stored, moved, and shared. They are a critical part of developing controls.

Data loss prevention policies use data classification and categories. Based on that information, they define acceptable paths for moving data. They also establish the points at which data must stop.

For example, let’s consider data classified as sensitive or categorized as customer records. A policy for those kinds of data should make it impossible for any data-point to be posted to Twitter.

Policies help prevent inadvertent as well as intentional sharing of sensitive data.

Scope of Protection

It’s important to know that protection doesn’t happen at the network level. Instead, protection is applied to the data itself. This means it works on any part of the network, all devices, and any user account.

With protection attached to the data itself, the scope of protection is wider than the network.

For example, with the right policies and configuration, any data that does leave the network, say, by email, can be automatically encrypted. That encrypted data can then only be read by the devices you specify even if they are outside the network.

Speed of Protection

Despite protection being at the data level, data loss prevention doesn’t involve screening each packet of data. Doing so would slow network performance, making it impractical.

Instead, the software uses those classifications determined by strategy and governed by policies to add tags to data. Tags are added whenever data is added or modified.

From that point, the tags are read and policies enforced. This makes the process quick yet fully visible and easy to control.

Stakeholders

It’s worth noting that stakeholders go beyond the folks in IT.

Companies that involve relevant business areas in the early stages of data loss prevention implementation encounter fewer issues down the road. Such areas could include marketing, customer service, sales, and finance.

The point is to give key people from each business area an opportunity share how they do or might move sensitive data.

For example, marketing analysts might want to pull customer records to determine trends when planning a campaign. There’s nothing malicious in that. Using that data could mean the difference between a successful campaign and a dud.

If the folks developing the strategy for preventing data loss know about this need, they can write appropriate policies that don’t impede business drivers. At the same time, the market analysts can be informed about limits on using the data.

Solutions

There are several popular providers of data loss prevention solutions. These include Cisco, RSA, Forcepoint, and Symantec.

Each has its own way of adding protection, integrating with systems, and providing reports and other insights.

Determining which solution is right for your business can take time and a fair amount of research.

At Earthwave, our team is well-versed in the strengths of each solution and in which environments they work best.

We work with companies of all sizes in the Washington, D.C. area to help them find and implement data loss prevention and other services. Efficiency and effectiveness are always top goals.

We share our insights to help our clients make the most of their resources. At every step, from planning through to rollout and project warranty periods, we’re there to help ensure success.

Don’t let data leak from your business. Contact us today to be better protected tomorrow.