Data Security Management and Control 101: What Is Data Loss Prevention?

Companies and businesses of all sizes collect and save all types of data. This data can be valuable to others if it were to be leaked outside the business. Data businesses collect can include:

  • Customer Information:

    The names, addresses, and phone numbers of customers.

  • Purchasing/Ordering Information:

    The purchase and order history of customers is often collected to establish buying patterns and habits.

  • Payment Information:

    Many businesses store their customers’ preferred payment methods like their credit card or debit card data.

  • Employee Information:

    Businesses save data on their employees such as their social security numbers, pay rates, banking information for direct deposit, and other personal information.

  • Proprietary Information:

    From patents and trademarked products to new research and development, businesses can have various types of proprietary data stored on servers.

  • Financial Information:

    The financial data about the business such as profit and loss statements, earning reports, banking information, and more.

Data security management and control using the right data loss prevention (DLP) solutions are necessary to protect this and other types of data. 

So, what exactly is DLP? In general, DLP consists of the tools, apps, and other data loss prevention techniques businesses implement to keep their data safe and secure. DLP is also sometimes called data leakage protection since the objective of DLP is to stop data loss.

Threats Against Data That Require DLP Solutions

When you think about threats against data, most businesses will primarily think about external threats. These threats could include but may not be limited to:

  • Malware
  • Ransomware
  • “Spear” Phishing
  • Server Hacking
  • Viruses

Yet, external threats should not be your only concern. There are also internal threats you need to be aware of to develop effective data loss prevention techniques. Some of the more common internal threats include:

1. Employee Theft: Disgruntled employees could be enticed to steal data and sell it to a competitor or release it to the public.

2. Simple Passwords: Not requiring complex passwords can make it easy to access data that is supposedly password protected.

3. Infrequent Password Changes: Another threat is when passwords are not changed that often. This increases the risks that passwords can be decrypted to gain access to data.

4. Not Requiring Passwords: Even worse is when businesses do not require passwords to access sensitive data, network servers, etc.

5. Storing Data Locally: When data is stored locally, there is a risk that the data will not be backed up and could be lost if the workstation crashes. In addition, accessing the data is easier than storing it on a server.

6. Not Securing Workstations: Employees who leave their workstations on and who do not lock the screens make it possible for others to access any data on their computer, as well as any data on the network they have access to.

Why Is Data Loss Prevention Important?

DLP is important because any type of data leakage could result in major impacts to the business and its reputation. For instance, huge businesses like Marriot, Under Armor, Yahoo!, LinkedIn, and Norwegian Cruise Line have all been the victims of data breaches already this year.

When a data breach occurs, sensitive data is stolen from the business. It could be held for ransom or used for other malicious purposes. If the data includes personal information, social security numbers, or payment information, individuals could also be affected and become victims of identity theft.

While hackers and cybercriminals are always upping their methods and making it harder for businesses to protect their data, there are still several effective things businesses can do to stop data loss.

Additionally, according to research conducted by the Ponemon Institute, it was found that data loss and data breaches caused internally have been on the increase.1 As such, businesses not only have to worry about external threats but also internal threats from employees, contractors, and vendors.

Therefore, developing an effective data security management and control policy and processes is an essential part of data loss prevention.  

DLP Solutions to Help Reduce the Risks of Data Loss

There are different techniques that can be implemented to help reduce the risks of data loss from occurring. There are various apps that can be used to help increase awareness of potential data loss, as well as stop it should it occur.

One such data leakage prevention solution is PA File Sight. PA File Sight is an advanced data monitoring solution that helps you keep track of who is accessing your server data and which helps protect your network from ransomware. This application keeps a watch on user activity and how users interact with data on your servers.

It can also detect ransomware behavior in real-time. Enabling additional behavior monitoring can detect suspicious user activity and provide real-time alerts. Furthermore, the application can block users and suspend access to data on the servers, as well as prevent their workstations from communicating with other connected computers and devices.

There is also an option to monitor when employees are copying and moving a large amount of data. Audit files created by PA File Sight show useful information when files are deleted, updated, moved, or copied and about the users who made the changes.

The app can even be configured to prevent the use of USB and external storage device drives so that data cannot be copied or moved from servers or workstations onto external devices. Plus, the app can be configured so that any file folder and file permission changes are tracked.

The ransomware protection detects and sends alerts if it is detected on individual workstations or network servers. Once detected, the application locks down the affected workstation or server so the ransomware cannot affect other workstations and servers.

This is just one type of data loss prevention software. There are others that can help monitor servers, inbound and outbound traffic, email security, and more.

Data Security Controls Checklist

All businesses, regardless of size, should have a data security controls checklist. This checklist should include:

1. DLP Standard Techniques: Standard techniques are basic security measures like requiring passwords, using anti-spam/malware and virus protection, enabling a firewall, and so on.

2. DLP Advanced Techniques: Advanced techniques are using honeypots, monitoring network traffic, enabling two-factor authentication, and other tighter data security controls.

3. DLP Tools and Apps: Tools and apps can help further both standard and advanced techniques since they can be customized and provide valuable data loss information in real-time.

A strong data loss prevention policy and plan helps reduce risks of data loss externally and internally. Part of your policy should include frequent audits to help identify and find potential data losses, along with enabling real-time alerts.

Data loss will continue to be a growing problem for businesses, and it should not be overlooked. Any size operation is at risk. By taking an active approach to data loss with the right prevention techniques, tools, and apps, you can reduce your risks, increase data protection, and protect your business reputation and brand.

For further information about PA File Sight, how it can help with data loss prevention, and our other server monitoring solutions, please feel to visit our website or contact Power Admin at 1-800-401-2339 for further assistance today! We are pleased to offer a FREE 30-day, no-obligation, full-featured trial PA File Sight and all our other server monitoring products. Start your free trial today!