What Is Data Loss Prevention (DLP)?

Data loss prevention (DLP) is a set of technologies and techniques aimed at preventing sensitive data from being improperly transmitted outside an organization's network. This comprehensive security approach monitors various channels, such as email, messaging platforms, file transfers, website forms, and more, to detect and block unauthorized data flows, and is crucial for identifying and stopping data leaks or breaches by monitoring endpoint devices and network security traffic. DLP helps mitigate the risks associated with dispersed data and diverse user access behaviors, especially in today's work-from-home environment where cyberattacks are on the rise.

How does DLP work?

DLP (Data loss prevention) employs predefined rules to identify potentially sensitive information within electronic communications or to detect unusual data transfers. The objective is to prevent the accidental or deliberate transmission of confidential data, such as intellectual property, financial records, or employee or customers' personal information, beyond the corporate network's confines.

Why do organizations need DLP solutions?

The increase in business communications has granted many more people access to corporate data. Some users may engage in negligent or malicious behavior, such as the loss or theft of endpoint devices, unauthorized data transfers to USBs, misclassification of sensitive data, insider or external data theft, unauthorized printing or copying of data, inadequate responses to unauthorized access, and inadvertent data transmissions. Consequently, this poses the risk of exposing confidential data with just one click. Many government and industry regulations have made DLP a requirement.

Types of DLP technologies

1. Data in use DLP:
This category focuses on securing data actively processed by applications or endpoints. It typically involves user authentication and access control measures to regulate resource access.

2. Data in motion DLP:
For data being transmitted across networks, DLP technologies ensure it stays within the organization's boundaries and isn't redirected to insecure storage areas. Encryption is often employed for added security, with particular emphasis on email security due to the high volume of business communication via this channel.

3. Data at rest DLP:
Even when data is stationary or not actively used, it requires protection. DLP solutions safeguard data stored in various mediums, including cloud storage. These technologies enforce controls to ensure only authorized users can access the data and track their access history to mitigate risks of leakage or theft.

Benefits of Data Loss Prevention

1) Data Classification and Monitoring:
By understanding the nature and usage of your data across your digital infrastructure, your organization can swiftly identify unauthorized access and safeguard it against misuse. Classification involves implementing rules to identify sensitive data and ensuring compliance with a data security strategy.

2) Detection and Prevention of Suspicious Activity:
DLP solution scans all data transmission through your network and prevents it from leaving via email, USB drives, or other channels.

3) Monitoring Data Access and Usage:
To mitigate insider threats and fraud, it's essential to monitor and manage access rights for employees, vendors, contractors, and partners across various network components. Role-based access control ensures access is granted only to authorized personnel necessary for their respective roles.

4) Enhanced Visibility and Control:
With a DLP solution, you gain insight into sensitive data within your organization and can identify potential unauthorized transfers. This visibility enables further analysis of data and content, strengthening cybersecurity defenses and DLP strategies.

Our DLP Solution- Cisco Umbrella

Block sensitive data in outbound web traffic from leaving your organization.

Protect your sensitive data in the cloud, or before it even gets there

Umbrella multimode cloud data loss prevention (DLP) functionality analyzes outbound web traffic inline and out-of-band to provide unified control over sensitive data leaving your organization. It’s easy to deploy and manage with flexible policies incorporating pre-built, customizable data identifiers.

With Umbrella multimode cloud DLP, you can:

  • Mitigate the risks of organizational generative AI application usage

  • Inspect data inline in real-time with full SSL inspection via SWG proxy

  • Use SaaS API-based scanning to inspect data out-of-band at rest without SWG proxy but with near real-time enforcement

  • Unify inline and out-of-band policies and reporting in a single interface

  • Create flexible, customizable policies with 80+ pre-built dictionaries

  • Meet compliance requirements

Data loss prevention using enforcement that works together

The most effective security comes from a layered approach. Umbrella integrates multiple components that were once standalone security services and appliances in a single, cloud-native solution.
Umbrella checks for domains associated with malware using DNS-layer security. Next, the CDFW checks for IP, port, protocol, and application rules. The secure web gateway (SWG) checks all web traffic for malware and policy violations. Finally, Umbrella DLP functionality monitors and blocks sensitive data transmission in outbound web traffic.

Learn more about Cisco Umbrella