Protecting Your Sensitive Data: The Role of Data Loss Prevention and the Importance of Sensitive Data Guardians

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Protecting Your Sensitive Data: The Role of Data Loss Prevention and the Importance of Sensitive Data Guardians
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What is Data Loss Prevention (DLP)

Remember the days when you stored all your photographs on your external hard drive and then found that it went corrupt. We’ve known professionals to have back-ups of their backups for the very same reason! And this was only due to technical issues. Today, cyber vandals are continuously trying to hack into your systems to be able to steal data or use it for unscrupulous gains!

The way your leaked sensitive data can be used today, is beyond the imagination of the common man. Safeguarding your data is therefore a priority for your personal and your business lives. Cyber threats and data breaches are on the rise; the need for robust security measures is pre-eminent.

This is where data loss prevention (DLP) comes into play. DLP refers to the set of policies and technologies that aim to prevent the unauthorised disclosure of sensitive data. Let us explore the importance of sensitive data guardians and go through the details of Data Loss Prevention, discussing its functionality and benefits.

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Understanding the importance of sensitive data guardians

When we say ‘Sensitive Data Guardians’ we mean those individuals or teams that plan and devise DLP strategies within your organisation, and also implement and manage these responsibilities to ensure that your valuable information is protected from all threats.

These guardians act as the first line of defense against potential data breaches and are entrusted with the task of safeguarding sensitive data from unauthorized access, loss, or theft. The guardians are in charge of creating and enforcing data protection policies, educating employees on best practices, and continuously monitoring potential risks and vulnerabilities.

This job responsibility is most vital for maintaining the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of sensitive information, and one of the essential departments of your IT structure.

What is data loss prevention and how does it work?

Data loss prevention (DLP) is a comprehensive approach to protecting sensitive data from unauthorised disclosure. This includes intentional as well as unintentional leakage, i.e. loss arising out of technical issues as well as frauds and cyber-attacks. This will involve all actions, right from the planning to the implementation of policies, procedures, and technologies to identify, monitor, and control the flow of sensitive data within an organisation.

DLP solutions employ a combination of content inspection, contextual analysis, and user activity monitoring to detect and prevent data breaches. This breach can happen at any stage, by any employee at any level, and by someone who is completely unaware of how and where it occurs.

By analyzing data in motion, at rest, and in use, DLP solutions can identify sensitive information and enforce policies to prevent its unauthorised transmission or storage.

The role of real-time monitoring in data loss prevention

Real-time monitoring is a critical component of an effective DLP strategy. Organisations would be able to proactively identify and respond to potential data breaches as they occur, minimizing the impact and mitigating risks via ‘Real-time Monitoring’. When you continuously monitor network traffic, communication channels, and data transfers, real-time monitoring will allow you to detect suspicious activities or policy violations in real-time.

This prompt detection and response capability empowers sensitive data guardians to take immediate action, such as blocking unauthorised access, quarantining data, or alerting relevant stakeholders to prevent further damage.

Benefits of automated Data Loss Prevention systems

An automated data loss prevention (DLP) system will offer numerous benefits over manual monitoring and control. By leveraging advanced technologies such as machine learning and artificial intelligence, automated DLP solutions will be able to analyze vast amounts of data in real-time, accurately identify sensitive information, and enforce policies consistently.

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This will eliminate the potential for human error, ensure faster response times, and reduce the overall responsibilities of the sensitive data guardians. An automated DLP will therefore enable your organisation to scale your data protection efforts efficiently, regardless of the size or complexity of your infrastructure.

Ensuring compliance confidence with Data Loss Prevention

Organisations across various sectors have to comply with industry regulations and here data protection laws are a top priority. Data Loss Prevention (DLP) plays a crucial role in ensuring compliance confidence by helping organizations adhere to legal requirements and industry-specific standards. Organisations can identify and prevent the unauthorised disclosure of sensitive data, reducing the risk of compliance violations and potential legal repercussions by implementing DLP solutions provided by experts.

Our clients have thus been able to demonstrate their commitment to data privacy and security to regulators, employees, clients, and customers by following the strategies and systems that we have implemented at their office premises in and around London. We at Portman Tech are proud to be a part of their growth and we are happy to see their reputation and trustworthiness enhance.

Exploring different Data Loss Prevention tools and solutions

The market for Data Loss Prevention (DLP) tools and solutions is vast. It offers a wide range of options for organization’s to choose from and these tools vary in terms of features, capabilities, and integration possibilities. Companies can select the most suitable DLP tools based on their specific requirements and infrastructure, from on-premises to cloud-based solutions.

Some popular DLP solutions that we have successfully included in our projects are Symantec DLP, McAfee DLP, and Forcepoint DLP. These tools offer comprehensive functionalities, such as data discovery, classification, encryption, and policy enforcement. The success rate of these programs in effectively protecting companies’ sensitive data is quite high.

Best practices for implementing data loss prevention

Our IT experts at Portman Tech believe in careful planning and adherence to best practices in order to successfully implement Data Loss Prevention (DLP) programs. Here are some key considerations for organizations looking to implement DLP:

  1. Identify and classify sensitive data: We will first conduct a thorough assessment to identify the types of sensitive data handled by your organization and classify them based on their level of sensitivity and regulatory requirements.
  2. Establish clear policies and procedures: We shall discuss and develop a set of comprehensive data protection policies and procedures that align with industry regulations and best practices.
  3. Train & Educate employees: One important aspect of DLP is to make every employee aware of the consequences of their actions while handling company data. We will conduct regular workshops and training sessions for your employees on data protection best practices, including secure handling and transmission of sensitive information.
  4. Implement a layered approach:  Over the years, we have realized that the best way to ward off cyber terrorists is to combine multiple DLP technologies and strategies. The idea will be to create a comprehensive defense system that covers various aspects of data protection, including network, endpoint, and cloud security.
  5. Regularly monitor and update: We guarantee continuous monitoring of the thus installed DLP policies and technologies. This is to ensure they remain effective and up-to-date with evolving threats and regulatory changes.

Endpoint data loss prevention: safeguarding data at the source

Our daily use gadgets i.e. laptops, desktops, and mobile devices are also known as data endpoints, and these are often the starting point for data breaches. Endpoint data loss prevention (DLP) systems will ensure that the sensitive data at such sources are protected, with the aim to prevent their unauthorized transmission or storage.

When we implement endpoint DLP solutions, our clients can enforce policies to control the movement of data on endpoints, monitor user activities, and block/ encrypt sensitive information as necessary. This additional layer of protection will ensure that your data remains secure even when accessed and used outside the your network.

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Implementing data loss prevention controls in the cloud

Today majority of the companies in London increasingly rely on cloud services for data storage and collaboration. We have also moved our focus beyond the traditional network perimeter and towards implementing data loss prevention (DLP) controls in the cloud. Such procedures will allow loss you to extend your data protection efforts and secure sensitive information stored in cloud environments as well.

When you integrate DLP solutions with cloud service providers, you can be rest assured that unauthorised access, sharing, or storage of sensitive data in your organization will be prevented to a large extent. This is a step towards consistent data protection across both on-premises and cloud-based infrastructure and is the need-of-the-hour.

The role of data loss prevention in Office 365

In the world driven by generative AI, one of the most popular office applications for organization’s seeking productivity and collaboration tools is Office 365. However, to ensure the security of sensitive data within Office 365 will require additional measures from your end.

By combining Data Loss Prevention (DLP) in Office 365, your management will be capable of defining policies that detect and prevent the unauthorized sharing of sensitive information through email, SharePoint, OneDrive, and other Office 365 services. By leveraging the built-in DLP abilities of Office 365, organisation’s can enhance their data protection efforts and maintain control over their sensitive data while benefiting from the collaborative features of the platform.

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Conclusion: The significance of protecting sensitive data

We are always worried what a hacker can do with our sensitive data. The layman would not even realize how easy it is for cyber-criminals to access his personal information and use it to breach official systems or networks. Individuals and organisation’s both have to be vigilant and take preventive measures to ensure there is no data leakage.

An IT expert will be a comprehensive guide to set up Data Loss Prevention (DLP) strategies and thus safeguard your valuable information from unauthorized disclosure, loss, or theft. This is a legal as well as regulatory obligation and should be considered as an investment in the trust and reputation of an organization.

For comprehensive data loss prevention solutions tailored to your organisation’s needs, contact Portman Tech Solutions today.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Picture of Vikas Shah
Vikas Shah

Vikas Shah joined Portman Tech as Chief Technology Officer in 2018. IT has always been his passion and he has built his career around technology. Vikas closely follows developments in technology, providing clients with solutions that fit their requirements.

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