Best Practices for Data Loss Prevention in Your Business

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Best Practices for Data Loss Prevention in Your Business

Data is an incredible and valuable resource for businesses. You can gain incredible company, market, and customer insight through data analysis. While it is important to gather, study, and maximize the use of your data, keeping them safe and secure is just as essential. 

Best Practices for Data Loss Prevention in Your Business
Best Practices for Data Loss Prevention in Your Business

Why is Data Loss Prevention Important? 

Companies hold a lot of important data. These could be sensitive data like their confidential contracts, intellectual property, financial records, and even employee and customer personal data.  If not handled properly, a company can not only lose their data but quite possibly a whole lot of money as well, trying to manage those data breaches. Threats to data include system failures, outright loss or deletion of data, and theft. 

Data loss prevention or DLP consists of technologies and tools that monitor and protect data from being mishandled. A DLP plan protects data during the three different points of its lifespan: when it is being used, when it is being transferred on the internet (usually through workplace communication apps), and when it is being stored in a file server or database. 

DLP software, at its core, is content inspection. It seems to it that only those granted access can open the data, evaluate if data is where it is supposed to be, detect accidental data exposure, as well as block any nefarious activities that could jeopardize the company.

Having a solid DLP system for your company keeps your data safe from hackers and cyber thieves. Employing the best practices for DLP also earns you the trust of your customers, your employees, and your investors since they know their data is safe in your keep. 

Best Practices for Data Loss Prevention

Know the Three Kinds of Data Loss Prevention Software

There are three types of DLP software: network, endpoint, and cloud DLP. All three protect data but employ different methods to do so.

Network DLP focuses on tracking and monitoring data as it moves on the network. This is especially handy for those who have employees in remote work setups. Anyone attempting to move sensitive data without the proper authority access is going to tip off the software’s pre-programmed actions as well as notify the administrator of the security breach in its network. The drawback of network DLP, however, is it doesn’t extend to laptops and other mobile devices that are away from the network. 

Endpoint DLP is installed on every individual device assigned for company use, or the endpoints of the network, just like its name suggests. Regardless of whether or not they are connected to the network or the internet, endpoint DLP software monitors data as it moves and rests in these endpoints. While it offers more blanket protection than network DLP, it does require more management. It can be a logistical challenge as well, especially for businesses with remote employees. 

Cloud DLP enforces DLP rules and policies on select cloud accounts, integrating with the cloud tools used in the company, like Office 365 and Google’s G Suite to name a few. Your staff can enjoy the convenience of cloud apps and cloud storage, with the assurance that the data is secure and is not at risk of data breaches or loss. 

Assign and Define User Roles 

Once you have figured out what DLP solution best fits your company, it is important to outline the roles and responsibilities of everyone in the company that has a part in data loss prevention. By doing so, you identify key people who create the policy, who can create revisions to it, those who implement it, and those who simply comply with it. 

The DLP system hierarchy establishes how extensive their access is to the different types of data. This also makes risk management easier because you can assess how much data is at risk depending on which user’s account gets compromised.

Classify Your Data

As more companies shift to the digitalization of their business and become more data-driven, you will find that some types of data are more sensitive and inevitably more valuable than others. All data that touches any area of your organization should be classified according to its relative importance. Organizing them effectively can make it easier to prioritize which data is treated with more security than others.

Only Keep the Necessary Data

Once you’ve classified your data, eliminate the unnecessary ones. Excess data not only takes up space that could be effectively utilized for more important data, but it also hinders productivity and efficiency, creates clutter, and can even pose considerable risks for data loss. 

A good test to use when selecting which data to trash is to determine if the data is helping drive the business forward. If it’s not useful or helpful, get rid of it. 

Having Strategic Backups

Creating backups for your data is crucial. This prevents outright loss of data which happens more often than you would think. Having data backups also helps minimize the fallout of a security incident. 

A well-strategized data backup takes into consideration the breadth and depth of the data in a backup, the quality, as well as the frequency of performing those backups. You should also consider the different classifications of data for your backups. Most experts recommend performing weekly backups but daily backups are the gold standard as this makes data recovery incredibly easier.

Remember: There is Always Room to Improve Your Policies and Procedures

Data loss prevention is a dynamic system. Your business evolves, data changes, and hackers and cyber thieves are always getting more creative with their schemes to breach security systems to get to your data. Your DLP plan should mold and move with your business so it can always stay secure. 

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