Data plays a huge role in organizational operations today, irrespective of industry. While digital technologies greatly promote automation and cost-efficiency, they nevertheless pose a considerable risk for your company’s confidential data, such as customer databases, trade secrets, and financial information.
Let’s talk about data loss prevention (DLP) and how to implement it in your business.
The Basics of Data Security
Data security includes several solutions that must be combined to ensure an optimal level of protection. This involves knowing which data is the most important in the organization (Data Classification), where it is located (Data Discovery), how to protect it (encryption, access control), and prevent its leakage (DLP: Data Leakage Prevention).
The majority of data leaks are accidental
Data loss mainly occurs via email and through removable storage devices, including optical media and USB drives. 95% of the data lost this way is unintentional. In other words, someone accidentally uses the wrong recipient in their email client’s auto-completing feature. Even with many disclaimers on unintended recipients and email confidentiality, data loss through email is highly prevalent.
Unhappy employees play a role, too
Not every data leak has an external source. A good number of these cases involve unhappy employees in your organization—the infamous inside job. Most data is leaked via USB drives, cameras, photocopiers, and printers. When an employee maliciously decides to access and leak company data illegally, nothing can be done to stop it.
There could be leaks in your communication environment
Instant messaging and email platforms speed up business communication, but they can also be vulnerable areas for data leaks to external parties. The most prevalent method of attack is malware sent using email. Malware is reportedly the most successful means of data breach and leakage. Other techniques involve phishing and social engineering schemes that use a company’s legitimate email account to get employees to disclose confidential corporate data.
Keep reading: Learning from Top Data Breaches in History
Data Loss Prevention Approaches
In the wake of integrated tech solutions deployment projects, processes affecting both data and diverse applications generate an increase in the criticality of information systems. As listed below, data loss prevention approaches are not necessarily expensive, but they can help your business leverage technology without risking sensitive personal and business process data.
Encrypt backup media – To reduce the risk of data theft due to the disappearance or loss of tape storage media, Gartner recommends the use of encryption. Depending on the storage infrastructure used, it could be either an encryption box or a software solution.
Secure workstations – One of the primary missions of the RSSI is the control of the computer fleet, both landlines, and laptops, particularly in terms of security updates. The manager will have to make sure to upgrade the security environments associated with them (firewall, antivirus, antispyware, etc.) and supervise the use of portable recording media, such as USB keys and CD-ROM, as well as that of access to the IS from remote machines.
Implement database control – Set up a Database Activity Monitoring (DAM) system. Deploy a solution that monitors database activity, generating alerts in the event of suspicious behavior. This can limit operating errors, block attacks and ensure a clear separation of roles between administrators in particular.
Ensure policy compliance – If a disgruntled employee or a malicious contractor decides to steal confidential company data, there’s little you can do to stop it. To prove that you comply with most standards, it is your responsibility to, at least, do what your peers are doing, which is to reduce your exposure as much as possible.
Whether it’s a minor inconvenience or a significant financial disruption, a data leak is a matter of great concern. Depending on the nature of the data lost, consequences could include loss of revenue and a tarnished company reputation. Use the above tips to reduce the risk of data leaks in your enterprise. If you’re curious to learn more about data security and best practices for protecting your data from a panel of cyber intelligence experts, join us on Thursday, May 27th at 11am PT for our Demystifying Data Security webinar. Register now!