An Introduction to Network Data Loss Prevention
Network data loss prevention, as the term itself suggests, is all about preventing loss of sensitive data from a computer network. Thus, it can be defined as the technology that’s used to secure all the communications that are part of an organization’s network. This would include securing email, web applications, FTP etc.
Organizations use different kinds of solutions to prevent loss of sensitive information via their networks. These solutions do things like data encryption, data monitoring and filtering, ensuring compliance to regulations etc. The data loss prevention solutions would inspect/control traffic (on email, web applications, FTP, TCP, HTTPS etc), inspect email content (subjects, messages, attachment etc) for sensitive content, enforce policy-based monitoring and blocking of web applications, encrypt data to ensure secure communication, have control and visibility over webmail and FTP and would promptly notify users as well as administrators whenever there’s a violation of corporate data protection policies.
Though there are different kinds of threats affecting the security of data, it’s insider threats that prove challenging. They are comparatively much more difficult to detect than outside threats.
Employees within an organization, business partners and contractors would need to access sensitive organizational data as part of performing business-related activities. This could sometimes put organizational data at great risk of exposure. On the one hand, there would be the unintentional exposure of data that might happen due to ignorance or callousness on the part of employees, partners or contractors. On the other hand, such insiders with authorized logins can intentionally cause data breaches. They have an advantage over outsiders because they don’t have access restrictions and they don’t need to worry about security protocols like firewalls and other security software. It’s here that today’s data loss prevention software play a key role. They ensure proper data visibility and control inside the enterprise set-up, enable policy-based protections and ensure that sensitive data is being transmitted to or accessed only by authorized people. They alert administrators whenever a violation of existing policies is detected.
We’ve already mentioned that network data loss prevention solutions, in addition to ensuring prevention of data loss, also help ensure regulatory compliance. Organizations depend on network data loss prevention solutions to meet different kinds of regulatory compliance requirements, including PCI-DSS, GDPR, HIPAA, GLBA etc. As part of ensuring regulatory compliance requirements, DLP solutions do things like encrypting data, restricting data access, monitoring and controlling regulated data etc. This is crucial in today’s scenario as companies and organizations are bound to adhere to such regulations.
Things to look for while choosing a DLP solution
While choosing a network data loss prevention solution, you should look for the following things:
- It should be doing automatic encryption of all sensitive data that’s transmitted via email, to different applications (web applications as well as cloud applications) and transferred to connected devices.
- It should automatically warn users and even block them when risky activity is detected.
- It should provide full content inspection and should be able to identify and monitor sensitive data.
- It should perform event logging for incident response and forensic analysis
- It should do effective data classification features and tag sensitive data.
- It should be the best when it comes to ensuring adherence to protective policies.
Let’s remember that in today’s context when data breaches are on the rise and when even internal networks need to be constantly monitored, network data loss prevention is an integral and key part of enterprise security.
Julia Sowells951 Posts
Julia Sowells has been a technology and security professional. For a decade of experience in technology, she has worked on dozens of large-scale enterprise security projects, and even writing technical articles and has worked as a technical editor for Rural Press Magazine. She now lives and works in New York, where she maintains her own consulting firm with her role as security consultant while continuing to write for Hacker Combat in her limited spare time.