Data loss protection (DLP) is an important concern for organizations. As organizations, we’re constantly bothered about putting systems, and strategies in place to prevent theft/loss of data. There must be a guarantee that intellectual property, confidential data, financial records, medical records, and other forms of confidential and personal data are kept out of harm’s way. Cloud DLP is an integration of technology and policies to ensure the security of organizational data. In the resource, we shall talk about five Data Loss Prevention best practices.
It is important to note that to guarantee the protection of data from loss. The technology for an organization use to protect data loss must factor in the following:
- Control permission to access any organizational data.
- Must be able to watch workstations, servers, networks, and report successful and failed activity.
- Must be able to report who is copying, reading, and taking screenshots of organizational data.
- Account for information flow and access within and outside the organization.
- Control, and monitor information transfer channels as well as flagging/blocking channels that signal threat.
DLP policies for organizations must also be approached thoughtfully. A few considerations have to be made to strengthen whatever DLP best practices the organization implements. Considerations like:
- The state of data: there’s data at rest, data in motion, and data in use. Data at rest is stored in your cloud or database. They are not frequently needed. Data in motion on the other hand are always transferred across various parties. Data in use are always in use and updated per time. This would help you to understand information pathways and flow when sorting permission control to data.
- The security needs of the organization: This is simply identifying what data needs protection and where they are located/stored.
- Policy considerations: Sort data according to the conditions that demand permission to access data. Various information in the same organization can be accessed by some staff and out of bounds to others. Also, make considerations for what actions should be taken when you perceive a security threat or suspicious activity.
- Determine what files to archive and protect them from internal and external cyber threats to the organization.
- Your policy must allow for imaginative scenarios of data breaches and the possible extent of the damage.
- Consider the legal frameworks that support or abuse the rights of others. In some cases, your policies may necessitate adjustment of employment policies and agreement. It can also necessitate the need for security training if some policies would be done away with.
Data Loss Prevention Best Practices
1. Sort Sensitive Data
An organization must evaluate what data is sensitive and needs protection. Depending on the level of sensitivity attached to a data class they’d need varying levels of protection. The data security team of an organization can use data discovery technology to run a scan of all organization’s data. Data discovery technology can be used alongside data classification technology to ensure sensitive files are kept secure.
Even better, by integrating these two tools permission control is more effective. Only the people you permit get to access whatever information you have protected. Protected data should be labeled with a digital signature to indicate protection. Sorting Sensitive Data is a continuous activity. This is why you need to create a classification policy that works for your organization. The classification policy would ensure updated/new databases are classified appropriately with the necessary protection for sensitive data.
2. Data Encryption Works
To protect data in an organization data encryption must be used. Whether the data is in motion or at rest, it must be encrypted. If portable devices must hold any information they must also be encrypted.
It gets better, with data encryption you can secure the files on your individual or organizational computers. This means even if there’s an attack, the drive of the computer has encryption to protect important data. Encrypting the drive of computers would grant access to only authorized users. Authorized users can access an unencrypted version, and make changes that would be saved. Unauthorized users on the other hand would never be able to access encrypted files. What’s interesting is; even if they can access the computer, encrypted files remain inaccessible to unauthorized users.
With Windows, you can achieve Encrypted File System Technology or a Bitlocker. Bitlocker is an additional layer of protection for your encrypted files. It protects endpoint devices when you have no use of them anymore or when they become stolen. To improve your security you can also use hardware encryption.
3. Tighten Your System
Enough hard work has been done to secure data and prevent data loss. Tightening your system involves finding weak links, and securing network/external devices that access your data. Every external system that could get internal network remotely or through other means must be secured. To further beef up the security you must do an Operating system baselining. This is simply doing away with programs that come with your system that you do not need. Sometimes these unnecessary programs are weak links for breaching your data security. Nonetheless, while you beef up security ensure there’s a balance between functionality and security.
4. Set up a working Patch Management Strategy
It’s good practice to always update all operating systems and applications in your IT setup. Nevertheless, there’s a need to set up scrutiny for patches. Some patches compromise the security of your data. Your patch strategy should be able to check that no functionality is compromised and the security of your data is intact.
5. Support Practices
To ensure your data loss prevention strategy and system works you need to do several things. First, ensure you allocate specific roles and tasks to people on your team. To get the best of your DLP, automate as much as possible. You’d stretch the team unnecessarily if you manually for everything. Conclusively you should establish metrics for your DLP and set up anomaly detection to identify suspicious activity. Anomaly detection employs a blend of machine language and behavioral characteristics to identify threats
Organizations and individuals must keep up with these data loss prevention best practices for the safety of their data. Nevertheless, in all, you do set a balance between obstructing functionality and keeping data secure.