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Data Leak Prevention

Data leak prevention is a strategy that is used to make sure end users don’t send sensitive or critical information outside of a corporate network or organization. It can also be used to refer to software products that help a network administrator control what data end users can transfer.

The technology and techniques used in data leak prevention ensures that people cannot accidentally or maliciously share data that could put the organization at risk. For example, if an employee tried to send a business email outside of the corporate domain or even upload a corporate file to a cloud service such as Dropbox, the employee would be unable to do this. Permission would be denied with the right data leak prevention system in place.

Using data leak prevention is important due to insider threats, as well as privacy laws. Many of the data leak prevention technologies out there can monitor and control endpoint activities. Some of these tools can also be used to protect data in motion.

Why Might You Need To Use Data Leak Prevention?

Different pieces of information are best kept within the confines of your company. If this information is left open, personal information of clients and employees could be open to identity theft, and your company would be liable. Things like leaked trade secrets and financial information could benefit your competitors, and stop people from working with you if it gets out that you were careless with the information.

Hackers are becoming more sophisticated, so data leak prevention is becoming even harder to get right. A company or organization needs a solution that can quickly scan a system for sensitive information and prevent it from going to the wrong person or place. A solution must be intelligent enough to avoid too many false-positives or false-negatives.

Data leak prevention should be focused in two main areas. This is data moving through the network, otherwise referred to as data in motion, and on data residing in file systems or databases. Email, Webmail, instant messaging apps, FTP, forums, social networking sites, blogs, and peer-to-peer sites are all ways that sensitive data can find its way out of your organization and into the wrong hands, purposely or accidentally. A network based data leak prevention program can stop this from happening.

When you take the steps necessary to protect your data, you may cover some or all of the following depending on your organization:

  • Intellectual property
  • Protected health information
  • Personally identifiable information
  • Credit and debit card information
  • Data regarding mergers and acquisitions
  • Strategy and planning details

To further help your data leak prevention strategies to be successful, you need to ensure the following:

  • Appropriate network usage
  • Driving the use of security technologies such as encryption
  • Fostering secure communications with outsourced vendors and other partners

It’s important to remember that data leak prevention needs to be looked at in terms of inside threats, both accidental and malicious. An employee may not be everything they say they are, and those that are may make silly mistakes. Make sure your organization covers all aspects to minimize these risks.

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