Data Loss Prevention

3 Jun 2016
Harish Mani

Have you ever imagined, your confidential data being possessed by someone you don’t even know and its consequences. Gosh!

This can be a reality!

Nowadays data is more transferrable and accessible than ever before, giving rise to the fear of loss and misuse of the data. Leakage of data could cause embarrassment, financial loss etc. depending upon the criticality of the data. Data Loss Prevention (DLP) detects and prevents the unauthorized transfer or access of the confidential data.

DLP is the identification and monitoring of the sensitive data to ensure that it is only accessed by authorized users and that there are safeguards against data leaks.

What types of data are to be protected?

In order to protect and prevent data loss, it is important to understand what types of data are at stake.

  • Data in motion: It should be confirmed that the data moving over the network is going to the authorized user. The data in motion can leak through HTTP, FTP, SMTP, and P2P etc.
  • Data in use: The data residing on end user workstations, laptops are data in use. The data in use can be leaked using USB, Emails, Web mails, HTTP/HTTPS etc.
  • Data at rest: Any type of repositories that holds the data like databases are data at rest. There could be data leakage due to unauthorized access, data theft etc.DLP products are designed to detect sensitive data.


It is important to identify the sensitive data and ensure that there is structured use of the sensitive data. The data should reside at right place, accessed and owned by right people.

Data Loss Prevention Approach

To implement data loss prevention, following activities should be considered:

  • Data Classification: Most of the organizations are not aware of the types of information and their locations. The first task is to identify the sensitive data and their flows. It is very important to understand the data life cycle.
  • Establish high level policies and processes: After classifying the information, policies should be created or modified to define the classifications and ensure proper handling.
  • Implementation: DLP Implementation should first be in monitoring mode,so that its impact to the business processes could be predicted. DLP is implemented by preparation of the process to be used, deployment plan, setting deployment policies and ultimately managing the overall process.
  • Remediation of Violations: DLP solutions provide the information about the sensitive data and its transmission. So the organization can address the issues. They should be prepared to address and prioritize the issues in best possible manner. The analysis and decisions should be documented for audit purpose.
  • Ongoing DLP program: The DLP solutions should be monitored. The rules should be reviewed and optimized periodically. The impact of the patches and upgrades of the DLP solutions should be tested. Awareness should be spread about the DLP solution through various programs and training.


Benefits of DLP solution

  • Some of the benefits of the DLP solutions implementation are the following:
  •  Protection of critical data
  • Enhancing the business processes as per the requirements.
  • Managing and optimising the storage space like file server and network bandwidth.
  • Reducing the damage caused by malicious software by alerting or blocking the data streams.


Conclusion: Data Loss Prevention is the strategy of identifying and protecting the unauthorised transmission and access of the sensitive information.

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