What are Data Loss Prevention Tools
Data Loss Prevention Tools: An Overview
Data Loss Prevention Tools help organizations prevent sensitive information from being maliciously or inadvertently leaked or lost.
Data such as intellectual property, customer financial information, patient health records, credit card numbers, and other private information can create significant legal, financial, and compliance problems when it is stolen or publicly exposed. A data loss prevention system helps identify sensitive data, monitor its movement, track attempts to access it, and block actions that could result in a leak or loss.
While increasingly distributed IT environments have made it harder to prevent data loss, evolving data privacy regulations have raised penalties for failing to prevent leaks. As a result, Data Loss Prevention Tools have become an essential part of the security technology stack. Superior solutions provide broad protection against a range of scenarios – from malicious insiders attempting to transfer intellectual property outside the organization to employees accidentally forwarding an email attachment that contains sensitive customer data.
The Sources of Data Loss and Leaks
Data is most often lost or leaked in one of three ways.
- Insider threats. Users with privileged access to sensitive information may maliciously leak data. In addition to employees, insiders may include suppliers, contractors, partners and former employees with some level of access to the network and sensitive data. Insider threats usually involve individuals trying to surreptitiously move data outside the network through email, online file transfers or by copying data to physical media.
- Employee negligence. Data may be accidentally or inadvertently leaked when legitimate users fail to adhere to security policy. Common examples of failure include sending sensitive information via unencrypted email, forwarding an email with sensitive information to a recipient outside the organization, failing to configure security controls properly, or losing a physical device containing sensitive information.
- Data exfiltration. Exfiltration occurs when attackers or unauthorized users transfer data from a device or network to a point outside the network. Data exfiltration is often the objective of a cyberattack where threat actors gain unauthorized access to an IT environment.
Types of Data Loss Prevention Tools
Security providers offer a variety of Data Loss Prevention Tools to cover the many ways data can be lost or leaked.
- Network DLP tools track critical sensitive data as it moves across a network and alert security teams when data is sent or accessed in violation of security policies. Network Data Loss Prevention Tools constantly monitor network activity and provide data loss prevention for email, messaging and file transfers.
- Cloud DLP tools protect and monitor data stored in the cloud, ensuring that sensitive information is encrypted before uploading it to cloud storage. Cloud Data Loss Prevention Tools alert teams to unauthorized access or anomalous activity.
- Endpoint DLP tools monitor data on servers, laptops, computers, mobile devices and other endpoints where data is stored on and off the network. Endpoint Data Loss Prevention Tools track and alert security teams when unauthorized users use, move or save data in ways that violate the security policy.
Whether used individually or as part of a comprehensive solution, Data Loss Prevention Tools stop data leaks and loss by:
- Blocking suspicious activity by reviewing data streams in real-time and immediately restricting unauthorized access and usage.
- Detecting possible leaks through enhanced data monitoring and systemwide visibility.
- Responding to unauthorized activity by enforcing security policy and blocking potential leaks.
- Analyzing and reporting to provide context that helps security teams strengthen DLP policies.
Solutions that combine multiple Data Loss Prevention Tools can help simplify administration while minimizing data loss prevention software costs.
Components of DLP technology
Data Loss Prevention Tools use two approaches to determine whether to apply DLP security policies when scanning data in transit or at rest. Content-aware technology identifies sensitive data by monitoring for keywords and strings like Social Security Numbers (SSNs). Context-aware technology reviews metadata within messages, such as headers, file size and message format, to determine whether the content should be protected.
Data loss prevention services use various methods to determine whether data contains sensitive information.
- Rule-based techniques search for content based on specific rules, such as 16-digit credit card numbers or nine-digit SSNs.
- Database fingerprinting searches for exact matches from a database dump or live database to see if specific data is adequately protected.
- Partial data matching searches for full or partial matches of specific files, such as multiple versions of a form that different users may have completed.
- Statistical analysis uses machine learning and advanced technology to detect sensitive data that other methods may not identify.
- Pre-built categorization enables Data Loss Prevention Tools to identify common types of sensitive data such as health information or credit card numbers.
- File checksum analysis identifies data that may have been changed by using hashing algorithms to compare output hashes of file data saved at different times.
When these methods identify potentially sensitive information, Data Loss Prevention Tools can trigger actions such as blocking data movement and alerting security teams.
Data Loss Prevention Tools from Forcepoint
As a leading user security, data security, and data loss prevention company, Forcepoint provides tools that protect data on-premises and in the cloud from today’s most challenging data security risks. With Forcepoint DLP, businesses can discover, classify, monitor, and protect data intuitively while introducing zero friction to the user experience.
With Data Loss Prevention Tools from Forcepoint, businesses can:
- Accelerate compliance by combining central control with pre-packaged coverage of global regulations. Teams can locate and remediate regulated data with network, cloud, and endpoint discovery.
- Empower users to protect data by coaching employees to make smart decisions, guiding user action with DLP messages, educating employees on policies, and validating user intent when interacting with critical data.
- Respond and remediate risk by focusing response teams on the areas of greatest risk. Teams can investigate and respond with workflows that link disparate events. Forcepoint DLP shows the context of data at risk and provides analysts with the information required to take action.
- Extend analytics and DLP policies to critical cloud applications to protect data wherever it resides – cloud applications, network data stores, databases and managed endpoints.
- Unify DLP policy enforcement from a single console, defining and applying data discovery policies across all channels.
Forcepoint provides Data Loss Prevention Tools for endpoints, cloud applications, and networks and tools to identify and secure sensitive data across the IT environment. Additionally, Forcepoint offers a variety of capabilities that are unavailable in Microsoft’s native DLP tools for Office 365 or in the Google Cloud data loss prevention solution.