Data Loss refers to an event in which important data is misplaced or gets missing from the company’s database. These losses can be caused by several factors which may include; virus intrusion, system malfunction among several others. Data loss prevention focuses on preventing unwanted or unauthorized transfer of data outside organizational boundaries.

It is also the practice of detecting and preventing data breaches, or unwanted destruction of sensitive data. DLP software application is mostly used by organizations to protect and secure their data and also to comply with rules and regulations.

It can also be used for the following:

  1. Protect Intellectual Property critical for the organization
  2. Achieve data visibility in large organizations
  3. Protect Personally Identifiable Information (PII) and comply with relevant regulations.
  4. Secure data on remote cloud systems
  5. Secure mobile workforce and enforce security in Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) environments

Below are three common causes of data leaks:

Unintentional or negligent data exposure: Several data leaks occur as a result of employees who lose sensitive data in public, provide open Internet access to data, or fail to restrict access per organizational policies.

Insider threats: A malicious insider who has compromised a privileged user account, abuses their permissions and may also attempt to move data outside the organization.

Extrusion by attackers: Several cyber-attacks have sensitive data as their target. Attackers penetrate the security perimeter using techniques like phishing, malware or code injection and gain access to sensitive data.

How to prevent data leakages

Standard security tools can be used to defend against data loss and leakage. For instance, an Intrusion Detection System (IDS) can alert about an attacker attempt to access sensitive data. Antivirus software can also prevent attackers from compromising sensitive systems. Firewall can also block access from any unauthorized party to systems storing sensitive data.

It is advisable for members of large organizations to use designated DLP tools or solutions to safeguard the company’s data. Tooling in the Security Operations Center (SOC) can also be used to assist with DLP. For example, a Security Information and Event (SIEM) system can be used to detect and correlate events which might constitute a data leak.