Data Loss Prevention: What is it, and Do You Need it? | Hacker Noon

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Data Loss Prevention is a set of tools and practices geared towards protecting your data from loss and leak. Even though the name has only the loss part, in actuality, it’s as much about the leak protection as it is about the loss protection. Basically, DLP, as a notion, encompasses all the security practices around protecting your company data.

Every company, even if never vocalized it, has or should have at least some DLP practices in place. You obviously use identity and access management that include authenticating users; you also for sure use some endpoint protection for users’ computers. Maybe (and hopefully) you do beyond that. And this all can be called data loss prevention.

Data Loss Prevention: 3 States of Data

When we speak about data protection, it is important to understand that all the DLP regulations spin around three states of data:

1. Data at rest

This is the data that is not being used at the moment or is not traveling through the network. Idle files and records at rest are the ones that sit peacefully on a server, database, hard drive, flash disk, etc. 

2. Data in-transit

This is the data that is traveling from one destination to another, can be through any public or private communications platforms like email, apps like WhatsApp, or Slack. Sharing data in the cloud when you work on the project in your corporate SharePoint or OneDrive is also an example of the data in transit.

3. Data in use

This is data that is being interacted with regardless of the character of this interaction. For example, it can be a design project you opened, and after it was opened, it is considered data in use. Everything you do after opening a piece of data means it is in use now: viewing, editing, downloading, etc.

Depending on the state your data is at, it requires different tools and approaches to keep it safe. Logically, our data happens to be in all three stages, so you need to ensure that you have at least a baseline protection regarding every state your data is at. 

Read more on how data loss prevention works.

Why Do You Need a Data Loss Prevention Plan?

In a nutshell, the answer is very simple: not to lose money and reputation due to data loss and leak. But, as usual, there are more nuances to this. What exactly leads companies to lose money and reputation, and how helping a DLP plan can help?

Here is why you, as a company, must have a data loss prevention plan regardless of your size and field.

To become compliant

Most businesses, regardless of their size, fall under some data-related compliance regulations. These regulations can be industry-based, like HIPAA or PCI, and territory-based, like GDPR or CCPA. Sometimes several compliances are applied to your situation and even can contradict each other. 

The goal of these regulations is always to make sure that people’s data is safe with you. So regardless of your company’s size, taking care of data security is a must, which is impossible without the implemented data loss prevention practices.

Remember, violating compliance regulation can and will cost your company a lot of money (for some, it is more than they can afford). And authorities are very active with making companies pay them money, so we wouldn’t expect that getting away with compliance violations is an easy task, especially in 2020.

To protect your business continuity.

The other reason you should implement a comprehensive data loss prevention plan is that you can keep your business going regardless if something happens to your business-critical data. 

For example, one of your employees clicks on the link in a phishing email and infects all their data with ransomware, including the data shared with other departments. Now, important presentations, contacts, calculations, etc., are encrypted. Your employees need that information to keep on with their work. And the more privileged the account that is being attacked with ransomware or simply hacked, the more data (including high value and sensitive data) will be impacted. 

If, as a result of the attack, your data gets deleted or encrypted (in other words, data gets lost), it inevitably leads you to downtime. And downtime is one of the most expensive experiences for a company – companies lose hundreds of thousands of dollars during days and, sometimes, hours of downtime. The scale of the money loss depends on your size as a company, but even for small companies with up to 30 people standing still will lead to money losses. 

This is why having a backup is crucial. You need not only to have these data copied and stored somewhere just in case (like eDiscoveries do it) but for it to actually be quickly recoverable. This is why backup is the foundation of every data loss protection strategy and must be №1 priority in your data loss prevention plan.

In case you are looking for a compliant backup tool with in-built ransomware protection and cybersecurity features, check out https://spinbackup.com/

To protect your reputation.

Not only data breaches, leaks, and losses hit hard your business processes, and they threaten to spill into huge compliance fines. They also compromise you in the public eye. 

Every company that has been breached, whose clients data have been leaked to the dark web, or whose work simply had to freeze because of ransomware, experienced a rapid drop of trust from their clients. 

There is no wonder in that: no one wants to provide their data (therefore, money) to the company that proved itself unable to protect it. 

These are the reasons why DLP practices that cover all three stages of data must be thoroughly planned and implemented as soon as possible and periodically revised with a security expert.

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