What You Need to Know About Data Security Solutions

By February 21, 2018Data 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.