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What is Data Leak Prevention (DLP)?

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What is Data Leak Prevention (DLP)?

Research shows that data leaks are a major worldwide problem. A compilation of data leaks from the first quarter of 2020 to the second quarter of 2022 shows continuous data leaks for online users. The worst quarter was Q4 2020, which saw 125 million exposed data records; the best still had over 3 million data records leaked. In addition, data breaches are costly for a business. A 2022 report from Ponemon and IBM found that the average cost of a data breach in 2022 is $4.35 million, an increase of 12.7% over 2020 figures. Data loss prevention is also more complicated when employees work from home or remotely; according to research, 84% of organizations say that controlling data loss in remote employee environments is more challenging.

One way to help reduce the risks associated with data leaks is to use a data leak prevention (DLP) solution.

What is Data Loss Prevention for MSPs?

MSPs are responsible for protecting data for numerous enterprise clients and small businesses. DLP is a component in compliance regulations, and DLP for email is necessary to protect sensitive information from email-based threats such as malware, phishing, and ransomware. Email DLP mitigates damages from common threats and stops users from being your primary vulnerability. Experts report that 85% of data breaches happen from human error. It’s understandable that employees make mistakes, so DLP solutions act as a failsafe to stop threats from steal data, corrupting it, or allowing an attacker access to your network environment to exfiltrate it.


What is Data Leak Prevention?

Data leak prevention is the practice of putting cybersecurity controls in place to protect corporate data from being corrupted, damaged, deleted, unauthorized changes, stolen, or corrupted. Strategies for data leak prevention depend on the corporation, compliance requirements, and the network environment. Every corporation has their own strategies, but data leak prevention also requires organizations to use specific best practices proven to stop threats and mitigate damages during a compromise. Using proper data leak prevention strategies, organizations can make it much harder for attackers to steal data, and monitoring systems will be much more effective at detecting suspicious network traffic.

What is a Data Leak Prevention Solution?

A DLP solution is a combination of tools and often includes security awareness training, used to prevent sensitive data from going outside the controls of an organization. DLP tools prevent unauthorized data access by ensuring that sensitive information is only available to the intended recipients. Advanced DLP solutions also ensure that data is protected during transit.

What is Data Leak Protection?

To perform proper data loss prevention, an organization needs effective strategies for data leak protection. Data leak protection is the actual tools and policies in place to stop threats from unauthorized access on your data. It’s a wide range of strategies rather than a single solution, but many enterprise solutions contain various methods to protect corporate data. The solution you use to protect data must follow best practices, and administrators should only implement a solution that follows compliance regulations that oversee your specific industry. Every device on the network must be a part of your data leak protection strategy. Just one vulnerable device could leave your data exposed.

What are DLP Vendors?

Vendors in the DLP space offer solutions for monitoring data, identifying data usage statistics, and provides visibility into the ways users and applications work with data across the corporate environment.  Solutions to prevent data loss and implement the right data protection require years of coding, testing, and deployment, but a DLP vendor offers a solution to get you started quickly. The solution you choose should be easy to install and implement, monitor data, provide visibility into the way data is used, alert administrators to a potential compromise, warn users of potential misuse, and block users or applications from unauthorized data access.

What is Email DLP?

To protect organizations from data loss via email-based threats, email DLP is the strategies and policies in place to stop threats (e.g., social engineering and phishing) from obtaining sensitive information. Most data loss via email-based threats is from human error where, for example, an employee falls for a phishing threat and exposes their credentials, which are then used to compromise the corporate environment. Email DLP software analyses incoming messages and determines if they have any suspicious content. For example, an embedded link could point to a phishing website, so email DLP software quarantines the message so that administrators can further review it for any malicious content.

How Can Email Data Loss Prevention Stop Data Leaks?

Phishing and social engineering are two of the biggest threats to your organization, and email data loss prevention is a group of strategies that reduce your organization’s risk of a compromise.  Strategic email DLP software uses artificial intelligence to analyse incoming messages and quarantine any that could be considered phishing, contain malware, or contain embedded links that point to malicious websites. Using the quarantine system, administrators can review email for any false positives and better protect corporate data from email-based threats. Good email data loss prevention also involves security awareness training to help employees recognize email-based threats.

Why Do Companies Need a Data Leak Prevention Solution?

The US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) reports that eight of ten organizations say that at least one employee clicked on a malicious link in a phishing email. In an assessment CISA also reports that 84% of employees took the phishing bait. Another report indicates that phishing scams cost large companies $15 million a year. A data leak prevention solution protects companies from being the next victim but helping them put the proper protections, policies, strategies, training, and infrastructure in place to stop threats targeting corporate data. Whether it’s ransomware or credential theft from phishing, a data leak prevention solutions stops attacks before they become a critical data breach.

What Types of Data do DLP Solutions Protect?

DLP solutions can be configured to protect any type of data an organization wishes to secure. However, typically, the following types of data are covered by DLP:

  • Personally identifiable information (PII)
  • Protected health information (PHI)
  • Sensitive information such as customer or financial data
  • Intellectual property (IP) and company proprietary information
  • Information communications that can reveal personal or sensitive information that could be used in social engineering attacks
  • Data that is outside the normal enterprise controls, for example, remote workers

DLP solutions also provide data visibility in organizations that have complex cloud, mobile, and remote working environments. Data loss prevention platforms work to protect data no matter where it is located across disparate IT systems. In addition, some DLP vendors offer security awareness training to add another layer of human-centric data protection.

EncryptTitan is a data leak prevention solution that provides robust email encryption to protect sensitive information. Discover how it works in a free demo. 

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How Do Email DLP Solutions Work?

Cyber-criminals use numerous ways to trick users into opening a malicious message and performing actions (e.g., click a malicious link or opening an attachment). An email DLP solution analyzes the content of a message and uses artificial intelligence to determine if the message could be malicious. Any potential malicious attachments are also blocked from reaching the intended recipient. Spoofed sender addresses are also detected, and their messages blocked from reaching the intended recipient. Messages are quarantined, so they are not lost in case of a false positive and can be reviewed. Administrators review messages for malicious links, content, and attachments and identify if the sender could be a cyber-criminal using phishing strategies to gain unauthorized access to corporate data. Email DLP solutions help reduce risks of a phishing attack from human error.

Why does a Company need to use Data Leak Prevention?

According to a 2020 study, 93% of organizations could trace a data breach to an insecure outbound email. If an organization does not use a DLP solution, they are at a high risk of sensitive and proprietary data being accidentally or maliciously exposed. This exposure leads to further data breaches as leaked information is often used for continued cyber-attacks on an organization, including social engineering attempts. Once exposed, data leads to further attacks, including Business Email Compromise (BEC) scams that are used to steal large sums of money from an organization. In addition, exposed data puts a company at risk of non-compliance with data protection and privacy regulations. This can lead to hefty fines and reputation damage.


How do Data Leaks Occur?

The extended enterprise with multiple cloud environments, BYOD, and remote workers, creates the perfect environment for data leaks to occur. Typically, there are three modes of leakage or exposure that results in data breaches:

Accidental Data Exposure

Accidents can result in exposed data through various mediums, including emails and social media platforms. A 2022 study from the World Economic Forum found that human error is behind 95% of security breaches. Email mis-delivery is an example of how sensitive data can leak outside a company. For instance, according to the Verizon 2021 Data Breach Investigation Report (DBIR), in the financial sector, 55% of errors were due to the mis-delivery of emails.

External Data Hacking

Hackers use data for primary and secondary cyber-attacks. Cybercriminals access sensitive, financial, and health data using a variety of tactics and techniques, including:

  • Social engineering
  • Phishing
  • Malware
  • The exploitation of misconfigured servers and databases.

Malicious Insiders

Disgruntled employees and ex-employees are potential targets for recruitment by cybercriminals looking to steal company secrets. A recent high-profile example was an Apple employee accused of sending multiple emails and messages to a cybercriminal; the emails revealed Apple trade secrets.

How do Data Leak Prevention Solutions Work?

DLP solutions offer several tools that work in harmony to deliver 360-degree coverage to prevent data loss. Typical functionality needed to achieve this all-round data loss prevention includes:

  • Email encryption: encrypt both email content and attachments
  • Automatic encryption: rules based on keywords or phrases are used to automatically encrypt an email before it leaves the controls of an organization.
  • Access control of emails: ensure that only the authorized recipient of an email can decrypt the email.
  • End-to-end encryption: support of the TLS protocol (Transport Layer Security) to ensure that any emails and attachments are encrypted during transfer.


What to Look for in a DLP Solution

Advanced DLP solutions, such as EncryptTitan, are designed to provide automated protection that ensures seamless protection without interrupting normal working. The types of features to look for in a data leakage protection solution include:

Secure data in transit: TLS protocol encrypts email during transmission between webserver and email client, thus providing end-to-end encryption.

Secure data on endpoints: emails are encrypted until an authorized recipient decrypts the email and attachments.

Recipient authentication: once an email is received, only authorized recipients can access the email using the correct authentication credentials. EncryptTitan offers secure, seamless, automated access to encrypted email using a “web of trust” known as TLS Verify. The web of trust uses a secure, shared environment. This provides a layer of additional security and ensures that data security standards meet the requirements of state and federal regulations for sending private information over email.

Secure data at rest: data retention policies and secure email archiving provide additional protection for stored emails and associated data.


Security Awareness Training and DLP Solutions

An additional layer of security can augment DLP protection by using employee security awareness training. Training platforms such as SafeTitan, offer behavioral-based training that fits specific roles and individuals in an organization. The training packages are designed to provide fun, interactive sessions that train employees about the dangers of social engineering and phishing. Security awareness training should be part of a broader, holistic approach to protecting data that sits alongside data loss protection tools such as DLP solutions.

EncryptTitan is a data leak prevention solution that provides robust email encryption to protect sensitive information. Discover how it works in a free demo. 

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Additional DLP Solutions Features For The Managed Service Provider (MSP)

Data leak prevention solutions are ideal for a managed service provider (MSP) delivery. However, an MSP should look for the following additional features when considering a DLP solution:

  • Easy to deploy, manage and sell: DLP solutions must be cloud-based for ease of installation
  • Easy integration: the DLP solution should be able to be integrated into an MSP’s existing Service Stack using APIs and RMM integrations
  • Competitive pricing: DLP solutions delivered by an MSP should benefit from competitive pricing strategies that fit an SMB market.
  • Recurring revenue: The DLP solution should offer a recurring revenue model based on a high-margin, subscription-based SaaS solution
  • White Labeling: the DLP solution should reflect the brand of the MSP if required.
  • Reduced maintenance: minimal IT service intervention is a must
  • Support: Vendor/MSP collaborative support should be available, with scalable pre-sales and technical support and sales and technical training
  • Multi-tenancy: A multi-tenant dashboard supporting an MSP-client hierarchy enables the MSP to keep clients separated and choose whether to manage client settings in bulk or on an individual basis


DLP and Data Protection Regulations

DLP solutions provide data leak prevention and data protection. Data leak protection meets the requirements of a multitude of data protection and data privacy regulations across the world, including GDPR, CCPA, HIPAA, etc.

MSPs can deliver next-generation data leak prevention to their clients by joining 3,000 other MSPs in the TitanShield MSP Program. To find out more, contact TitanHQ’s MSP team.

EncryptTitan is a data leak prevention solution that provides robust email encryption to protect sensitive information. Discover how it works in a free demo. 

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

A data loss prevention managed service provider (MSP) is a consultant with expertise in protecting corporate environments from data breaches. Organizations hire a data loss prevention MSP to provide the right cybersecurity strategies and prevention policies to reduce the risk of a compromise and implement monitoring solutions that detect and mitigate threats.

Organizations concerned with compliance and protecting data implement data leak protection to stop threats from exfiltrating sensitive data from the local network to an attacker-controlled server. Data leak protection also involves securing data from corruption or from being encrypted in a ransomware attack. Most organizations use outsourced experts to help create policies and procedures for data leak prevention.

To reduce the risk of human error, data loss prevention (DLP) awareness trains employees to identify threats and report them without interacting or sending information. Numerous threats target organizations including ransomware, phishing, and social engineering, and they aim to trick employees into divulging corporate information. Employees with DLP awareness training are much more likely to identify threats and stop them before they turn into a data breach.

Data leak protection (DLP) is necessary for any organization that stores sensitive customer data. DLP is required in many compliance regulations, but it’s mostly necessary to protect from costly data breaches and subsequent incident response and litigation. After a data breach, organizations also suffer from a loss of customer trust, which negatively impacts revenue. DLP has numerous benefits that protect an organization’s bottom line.

Email filters and email filtering solutions are components of data leak protection. Data leak protection stops attackers from exfiltrating files and data from a corporate network. With email filters, phishing email messages are blocked from reaching their intended recipient, reducing the chance of human error and a data breach from insider threats.

Corporations implement information leak prevention by instituting policies and procedures to block threats from stealing and corrupting data. Data leak prevention is necessary for corporate compliance, and it’s necessary for customer data protection so that organizations do not need to deal with costly data breaches, class-action lawsuits, and a loss of revenue.

Every organization has its own data leak protection policies and procedures, but some common features are implemented across most organizations. DLP is a compliance requirement, but most organizations use their own solutions. Email filtering solutions, antivirus and antimalware, and security awareness training are three examples of strategies incorporated in a data leak protection policy.

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