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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 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 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.

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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.

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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.

Discover how EncryptTitan works for Data Loss Prevention in a free demo.

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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.

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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.

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