In today’s world scenario, Data has become the main pillar of organizations’ business. On a daily basis we store, use, send and create data. For this reason, data has also become the critical asset to protect and maintain. Data leaks happen constantly to many different organizations. We have examples of cases in which credit card data of hundreds of thousands of users was leaked, or disgruntled workers that copy sensitive data of the organization they want to leave, to later publish or sell that information in the external world, damaging users and businesses. There is no limit to the amount of data that can be leaked, nor to the amount of damage that can be done.
The consequences of data loss
If we think about the consequences an organization must face subsequently to a data leak, they can be substantial. The reputation is damaged, causing lack of trust by the customers and the people that are involved in the business. This can bring on potential lawsuits, undertaken by the interested parties that saw the data they put “in trusted hands” leaked away to unknown parties. We, though, must not forget that organizations must comply with the regulations in effect in the interested countries: in Europe sensitive data is strictly regulated by the GDPR, and the consequences in regard to a data leak can be serious. These issues form part of the hassle that we must face when we face a data loss. Dealing with such a cascade of events tears down our efficiency and our readiness, factors that characterized our business and that now are affected because we are fighting the consequences of an unwanted and gloomy event.
How do data leaks happen?
When we are asked the question "where is your data?", as an organization the correct answer should be “everywhere”. Analyzing the very well spread business model of today’s companies, data is not anymore confined within our endpoints and some file shares. Nowadays we make use of Cloud services such as Office 365, Salesforce, Cloud apps (known as SaaS, Software As A Service), in addition to our data stored and used in our public Cloud providers’ infrastructures, and the one we keep in our private cloud, in our datacenter. To do this, we still need to add all the data we keep in our endpoints, hard drives, USB sticks and all the myriad of data handling possibilities that the Industry 4.0 has brought us.
Leaking data has become extremely easy, both for malicious users and for the ones that act in good faith. Converting a word document into a PDF using an online tool could end up uploading our confidential information in some obscure server in a remote location on the other side of the world. Having employees wanting to increase their productivity by sending their work to their untrustworthy private email and private PC in order to keep working from home and be able to deliver their task the day after is another example.
Data Loss Prevention secures your boundaries
DLP stands for Data Loss Prevention and is the system that secures organizations’ data against leaks. Having a look at the framework below, we can see how it works. The first step is to define the data we need to monitor and protect. This is made through sophisticated technologies that use automated classification, fingerprinting and artificial intelligence to go through our endpoints, private and public clouds and keep track of our assets. Thereafter, the necessary policies are adopted to use that classification to assure visibility and control across all the possible channels and locations, through deep content and context analysis. There can be different use cases according to the level of protection or awareness desired: from the complete visibility, to the enforcement of policies and justification methods. In any case, DLP opens a path for growing the maturity level of organizations in the awareness and education to data protection.
Data Loss Prevention is a comprehensive solution that distinguishes itself from the DLP “features” that are presented across a broad set of security devices and systems. It provides centralized management and enforcement workflow capabilities that make it dedicated to the task of data protection, providing dashboards and reporting aimed to a vast set of users, from technicians to executives.
A confusing market
DLP has changed in the past decade, providing the broadest coverage, supporting business processes and understanding context, in addition to content. Implementation has been substantially simplified, thanks to out-of-the-box visibility, templates and classification.
The vendor market is complex and burdensome to understand. As Infradata we help organizations overcome the challenges of today’s complex scenario, turning your data into your main asset, and not a liability anymore.
Francesco Di Stefano - 30 October 2018
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Francesco Di Stefano