Information Protection

Data Loss Prevention: Why It Matters And Best Practices

  • By The Cloud Factory
  • July 1, 2022

In the digital 2.0 era, data can be both an asset and a liability, primarily when it is not managed and appropriately protected. As the size and scale of enterprises grow, the volume and complexity of information also increase. It forces enterprises to think about data security and Data Loss Prevention as a part of business strategy as they store sensitive customers’ data, shareholders’ data and vendors’ data. Failing to non-compliance may attract regulators’ attention, resulting in a fine.


What is Data Loss Prevention?

Organizations are vulnerable to data loss and other security breaches when sensitive information is stored locally or in the cloud and transmitted over the Internet . In a hybrid workplace scenario where data can be on-premise or in the cloud, businesses need to find a way to prevent their users from sharing it intentionally or unintentionally with people who shouldn't have it. This practice is called data loss prevention (DLP).


How Does Data Loss Prevention Work?

Any DLP or Data Loss Prevention system works on a simple premise: it identifies business-critical data and classifies it into different subcategories. Once that is done, the classified data is monitored, detected and blocked from leaving the places per defined protocols. At the same time, it also scans and blocks any unwanted data from entering your cloud network.

Robust DLP systems depend on blocking malicious actions, whether they’re intentional or unintentional, such as sending a similar recipient name on an internal email. The user will be denied permission if an employee tries to forward a business email outside the corporate domain or upload a file to a consumer cloud storage service, such as Dropbox.


Data Loss Prevention: Best Practices

  • It is impossible to protect against data loss unless you don’t know what lies in your inventory. Conduct a thorough inventory audit of all software and hardware on your network. It will help you discover vulnerabilities that hackers can exploit.

  • The data classification framework helps organizations manage both structured and unstructured data. These categories include personally identifiable information (PII), financial data, regulatory data and intellectual property. Many other types and subcategories of data need to be classified and labelled based on their sensitivity labels.

  • Once you identify all data types and classify them, you must create policies for handling them properly. This is especially important for regulated data, falling under GDPR and CCPA, restricted, confidential and sensitive personal information in your network. This is especially true with regulated data or in areas with strict rules - such as Europe with GDPR and California with CCPA.

  • While creating a proper DLP framework, it is essential to maintain consistency across different departments, or else the DLP framework will cease to work. Though every robust cloud ecosystem like Microsoft365 offers a strong DLP framework to create a DLP policy, it still requires support from an experienced Microsoft Partner as they know the art and science of building a powerful DLP strategy that works. A less experienced cloud partner can leave many gaps in the system that may be exploited for vulnerabilities in the network. On the other hand, a qualified Microsoft 365 partner understands the full picture of network security and can make a comprehensive DLP plan for your organisation.

  • Unintentional actions can be just as harmful as malicious intent. Also, they’re far more common. Employees must be educated on security policies and procedures to implement and maintain a data loss prevention program properly.

Selecting a Right DLP Partner

The problem with many IT leaders is they are unduly obsessed with tools and technology. What they fail to understand is that DLP is not just about tools; it’s more about an approach that encompasses many critical questions, such as how you identify and classify sensitive data, how you take care of sensitivity labelling and many other things. For example, though Microsoft 365 offers a robust DLP framework, you also need a Microsoft partner who understands DLP better to leverage its full capability. They know that DLP solutions work on a ‘stop and block’ basis, which can hinder the natural flow of data, making collaboration a bit difficult. They can frame and implement a DLP policy that provides maximum security without compromising productivity. Also, they can help you wade through the cobweb of local, regional, national and international regulations at ease.


Final Thoughts

It is no secret that apart from vulnerabilities in IT networks, the inability to meet regulatory challenges is considered a significant cybersecurity weakness. That’s where implementing a robust DLP solution can go a long way in safeguarding your data inside and outside the company.

Are you looking for a Microsoft 365 partner who can take care of all DLP needs and help you identify the right licensing plan as per your security and business needs?

We can help you set up data classification, sensitivity labelling, and data loss prevention configuration, leveraging your investments in Microsoft 365.

Reach out to us at hello@tcf.cloud and we will be happy to assist you.


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