Email DLP: A Must For Organizations

Debasish Pramanik Cloud Security Expert - CloudCodes Software
  • May 5th, 2021

Organizations can do much more with an Email DLP. You can achieve email security and Data Loss Protection with a DLP. Don’t bite yourself! You probably didn’t know an email DLP exists. You’d have done better in securing and protecting the organization’s emails. In the successive lines, we would give you sufficient information you need to start using an email DLP right away.

What’s an Email DLP?

In terms of the security of the most confidential information in an organization. Threats go beyond a breach of security, you’d also have to secure the odds of an insider breaching your security. 

Proactive organizations would have figured that there are many communications via emails. As a matter of concern, very important and confidential information is sent via emails. Depending on the structure and complexity of your organization. You can expect an employee to send >50 mails per month. In more complex and large organizations, you can expect an employee to seen >100 mails monthly. Multiply 50/100 by the number of your staff, and it becomes clearer that your emails need extra security.

An Email Data Loss Prevention acts as a layer of security against insider threats, data loss, data exfiltration, and common mistakes that may compromise the security of your emails. These common mistakes take the form of misdirected emails or wrong attachments amongst other common flops.

How Email DLP Works

Although emails are the threat vector security leaders are most concerned about. It gets serious, security control measures have been mandated under data protection laws and cybersecurity. Despite all these, it isn’t impossible your organization doesn’t see a need for it as an Email DLP. So let’s start by showing you the risk exposure of your organization’s emails.

There’s an increased likelihood of external threats penetrating your emails. They can do this through phishing, malware,  or spear phishing. Phishing is how external sources impersonate and trick your employees to hand over sensitive data. None of this is physical most of the time, this is why phishing is one of the potent tools of internal crime. These external threats would look so real and legit, your staff may be unable to detect that something’s not right about them. Spear phishing isn’t so different from phishing. Nevertheless, it’s a specific attack on a specific organization/individual. It employs more intentional and sophisticated arsenals to breach the security of an organization and access their data. Malware is even more cunning, they come as attachments in the emails we receive. They can corrupt and compromise our data immediately we open the received emails.

Beyond external threats, organizations should have serious concern for internal threats. Usually, these threats take the form of accidental data loss and malicious threats.  Accidental data loss results from mistakes of staff in organizations. A survey accounts for at least 800 misdirected mails annually in organizations. It takes the form of sending wrong attachments or sending to the wrong email address. If these mistakes continue, the odds of sending compromising/confidential information to the wrong parties are inevitable.

The survey shows that 48% of employees admit to making common mistakes that compromise email security. Even worse, take a look at this;

  • 42% of documents sent in error contained company research and data
  • 39% contained security information like passwords and passcodes
  • 38% contained financial information and client information
  • 36% contained employee data

Just before you think of hurling words at your staff. These are mistakes you can make, especially when you have lots of work and pressure to deal with. Humans are not robots, the more reason why you need to implement integrate an email DLP to support their work. Malicious internal threats range from unintentional to intentional compromise of the data in the care of staff. Staff may share work files to their emails without meaning harm. Unfortunately, this is dangerous for them as they don’t have security measures for their emails. Malicious intentional threats take the form of staff selling out data to third parties or competitors in the industry.

There are two types of Email DLP solutions. Irrespective of the type of email DLP, they function to monitor, detect, and block threats. There’s the Rule-based  Email DLP and the Machine Learning Email DLP.

A Rule-based Email DLP like the name suggests involved the admin in the creation of structures, rules, and systems that protect the security of data in the emails. It’s a strict and traditional model that would be unfit for a thin data security team. The machine Learning Email DLP on the other hand is a human-centric solution. There are no hard rules, instead of by observing the latter of communication between organizations and their recipients they detect what is and what is not a threat. For example, choosing to block mails from a domain is a hard rule that has no exceptions even when unharmful mails can still be received from that domain. The case is different with machine DPL email, no hard rules but your security and data protection are guaranteed through AI.

Why It’s a Must For Organizations

The most confidential information is communicated in organizations via mails. Emphasis on confidential, external threats makers sets the pace for what is confidential. They just need to juggle one information you handled lightly, and another to launch a successful internet crime or breach of your security.

Away from external threats and the nature of data security policies. It’s becoming obvious that there’s a need for an extra layer of security in a tech-savvy world like ours. At the snap of your fingers, things can be manipulated. The vulnerability of humans to common mistakes that can threaten data security caps it all. Organizations that do not implement and integrate email DLP are at risk of losing data and are more prone to internal risk from within the organization. Email DLP ensures and protects the vulnerability of your staff to common errors that compromise data. It also monitors and detects activities that may threaten your emails. Even better, it’s an extra layer of security from external and internal threats.