Developing and Assessing your DLP Strategy (Part 4)

Number: IRCAR201510278

Date: 2015-10-23


A data loss and data leakage prevention strategy is a must for any organization that creates, uses, stores, moves or accesses any type of data that is sensitive, confidential or falls under regulatory privacy protection mandates. In Part 1 of this multi-article series, we provided a high level overview of what DLP is, some of the possible consequences of data loss or leakage, and the essential elements of an effective DLP strategy.

In Part 3, we started to delve more deeply into the intricacies of DLP, characteristics of good DLP software solutions, discussing two of four important elements: policies and programs.

DLP best practices

In Part 2, we talked about how you need to identify and categorize the types of sensitive data that you want to protect, and how software monitoring and alerting can detect sensitive data that is at risk and notify you, and/or technologically enforce the data protection rules that you set up. But it’s not enough to just configure monitoring and then “set it and forget it”. Data loss and leakage protection is an ongoing process and it’s important to ensure that it’s properly implemented to begin with and that it adapts as your data protection needs grow and change.

Basic Guidelines

Some guidelines to follow in implementing a DLP solution include:

· If you fall under regulatory compliance mandates, identify the governing bodies, statutes and/or industry rules that are applicable to ensure that your DLP strategy will comply with their requirements regarding protection of sensitive data.

· Identify and categorize sensitive data that needs protecting prior to choosing and deploying your DLP solution, as this will aid you in making the selection and determining the best deployment strategy. In particular, determine the file types and formats in which the data is stored so you can ensure that the DLP solution you select supports those formats.

· Ensure that your comprehensive solution will cover sensitive data at all stages: data at rest, data in transit and data in use.

· Create a test environment to allow you to evaluate the effectiveness of your solution and detect problems, identify false positives, etc. This will make it possible to test and fine tune your policies and procedures without disrupting the business process.

· Educate data owners, data stewards and data custodians as well as all of those who will access or manipulate the data and include your compliance team, human resources and business units that are impacted by the data.

· Ensure that you have safeguards against “data drift,” the unintentional and/or unauthorized moving or copying of sensitive data to unprotected devices via email, through BYOD devices and telecommuter access, removable media, etc. and even through data backup mechanisms that copy data to locations without strong controls.

· Regularly update risk profiles.

· Establish a procedure for documenting DLP incidents.

Your DLP solution should be “content aware” – that is, according to Gartner’s definition, it should enable you to apply policy dynamically based on the content and context at the time of an operation.



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