BY JAKE GIBSON, Chief Compliance Officer and Chief Security Officer, LightEdge Solutions

In previous blogs touching on data security, I’ve talked about proactive measures that businesses can take to prevent data breaches — updating systems regularly, buying malware protection, creating additional firewalls and educating employees, among other things.

Yet, there is software beyond the traditional safety mechanisms that can take an organization’s data security to the next level: data loss prevention (DLP).

As breaches and attacks become a regular part of today’s environment, so has DLP software. DLP analyzes data while it is being stored, accessed and transmitted. It looks at the people accessing that data, rather than focusing on the systems trying to protect it. DLP serves as the next step of data safety that companies all around the world are starting to implement.

According to Stratisitcs MRC, the DLP market was worth $1.19 billion in 2016 and is expected to reach $5.54 billion by 2023. The software is rising to even greater heights because of evolving data security regulations like the General Data Protection Regulation implemented earlier this year by the European Union.

Like any other software, DLP comes with its benefits and drawbacks. It will take a wide risk management discussion when deciding if a company needs to implement this software.

Benefits of Data Loss Prevention Software

The biggest benefit to DLP software is its wide-ranging, 24/7 approach to data security. It does not take a day off. Even if employees are trained on how to handle sensitive information, they can still make mistakes without knowing it. Since DLP software monitors the whole network, it can catch anomalies and send an alert before the situation escalates.

Another benefit of DLP systems is increased compliance with ever-tighter regulations. Data security rules are starting to require a technology control to achieve compliance. DLP can serve as this control and provide additional metrics for regulation agencies.

Drawbacks of Data Loss Prevention Software

DLP also has its drawbacks and limitations.

The biggest drawback to DLP software is false positives. Since it monitors all data in the system, the system may flag something that is not a data security concern. Companies can turn this into a positive by continually tuning the software. Tuning the software makes the system more intelligent by helping it catch the right irregularities.

There is never a guarantee DLP will be perfect, and it can fool the smartest companies into thinking they are safe. These companies may forget to remain current with traditional data breach prevention methods, which results in a breach. DLP software is a critical tool but should not be the end-all solution to a business’s cybersecurity plan.

Is Data Loss Prevention Software Right for You?

Like any other data security measure I talk about, a company must complete a risk assessment before deciding on DLP software. These platforms are not cheap and can run up into the tens of thousands of dollars.

Each DLP system is different, so learn the pros and cons of each. It is a big decision, with large financial implications.

One thing to consider before taking the leap: DLP products don’t automatically know what data to monitor. The company will have to categorize all its data, determining what is classified and what is not. This can take time but will pay off in the long run.

Each company must determine if the information it stores is valuable enough to take a more proactive measure.

As a company grows, DLP can help it avoid plugging holes in a sinking ship, which can often be the case in data security within organizations.

Gibson-30-5_200 Jake Gibson
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