5 Signs That It's Time to Invest in Data Loss Prevention

Automation means more attacks. It also means smarter, easier-to-implement prevention techniques. Here are five signs it is time to put your own data loss prevention strategy into place.

October 12, 2022

5 Min Read
Data leak
Source: Adobe Stock

Whether due to cyberattacks or employee negligence, data transfers to unauthorized parties (known as data leaks) can be catastrophic for organizations of any size. The rise of behavior-based data loss prevention (DLP) software has made it possible to proactively head off such threats without requiring months to implement, teams to manage, or a doctorate in privacy law to understand.

But does your organization and the data you protect require a higher level of protection?

Whether you're an managed services provider (MSP) weighing whether to launch DLP services or an enterprise trying to decide if it's finally time to adopt a DLP solution, here are five indications that the answer is a resounding "yes":

1. Your employees (or end users) have access to particularly sensitive data on their endpoints.

More than 80% of data breaches are perpetuated with a financial motive, according to Verizon's "2022 Data Breach Investigations Report." Cybercriminals target high-value data that includes trade secrets, intellectual property, and any highly regulated information that can be leveraged for personal gain.

Whether stored on local workstations or in the cloud, if it's accessible on end users' endpoints, sensitive data is at risk of leakage through network channels and peripheral devices. DLP solutions dramatically reduce the likelihood of this happening — intentionally or accidentally. For organizations with high-value data accessible on corporate endpoints, failure to proactively protect against data leaks can easily result in severe financial and reputational harm.

2. You protect data in highly regulated industries.

Do you (or your client organizations) work with personally identifiable information (PII), patient health information (PHI), cardholder data, or any other form of especially sensitive and regulated data? If so, you have a critical need for higher levels of data protection than simple backup can provide.

Most of these regulations — such as the GDPR, HIPAA, and PCI-DSS — stipulate severe fines for compromising events that lead to leakage of sensitive data. They also require the timely reporting of such events. DLP solutions help on both fronts: preventing leaks from occurring in the first place while also enabling a holistic view of data flows within the organization and supporting forensic investigations in case of an incident.

3. You (or your clients) are particularly prone to attacks and data leak risks.

Historically, industries that store particularly valuable data and those known to rely on vulnerable tool sets are prime targets for focused cyberattacks — especially for industries that must make some of their data sets publicly accessible to some extent. Education, healthcare, and government agencies are just a few such examples, and cyberattacks against all of these have generated plenty of headlines in the past year, showcasing the higher risks these organizations face.

Behavior-based DLP technologies can help you to secure sensitive data in an intelligent way, ensuring that it remains protected and any attempt to transfer it to unauthorized parties is blocked. Cybercriminals are constantly evolving their tactics, so make sure that you meet them head-on with cutting-edge technologies.

4. You need to support remote work or BYOD policies.

Whether hybrid or fully remote, a decentralized approach to the office has become commonplace. In many industries, it's even expected.

But while employees may be happier to work from home, this model is not without security risks. Working outside of a traditional office environment opens up the risk of man-in-the-middle (MitM) attacks, where threat actors intercept communications between the device and corporate network. Without the right software in place, keeping track of data flows across a distributed environment is particularly difficult.

Remote work and a BYOD approach to corporate data access has also increased the threat posed by phishing campaigns. Attackers continue to target unsuspecting employees with password-stealing websites and malware, taking advantage of unsecured devices and the tool sets that end users must navigate to perform their job from home. While training employees to recognize suspicious communications remains important, human error is inevitable — and adopting DLP solutions will dramatically limit the damage from such incidents.

5. You've invested in cyber insurance (or are considering it).

Cyber insurance is a smart investment for nearly any modern organization, one intended to cover your damages in the event of a cybersecurity failure. The cost is variable and depends on factors including your revenue, industry, data sensitivity — and yes, the security measures you've put in place to reduce the likelihood of a breach.

Just as a safe driving record or the installation of anti-theft devices can help to reduce auto insurance premiums, so, too, can a proactive approach to data loss prevention be used to lower cyber-insurance payments. Depending on your specific situation and insurer, it may even be necessary to meet basic data safety requirements and keep your DLP policies aligned with business specifics.

Smarter Data Protection Through DLP

Whether lost accidentally or due to nefarious activity, data exfiltration can lead to irreparable financial harm through severe regulatory fines, the loss of trade secrets and a general undermining of customer confidence.

For larger businesses with an existing security team — especially one that has relevant experience in this space — adopting on-premises enterprise DLP software will bring powerful benefits. Those companies that currently lack this expertise may find it more economical to work with an MSP, as establishing your own DLP initiative from the ground up (including training and configuration) can be complex and costly otherwise.

For MSPs themselves, behavior-based DLP solutions empower you to prevent data leakage from client workloads via both network communications and peripheral devices — with unmatched simplicity of provisioning, configuration, and management. Continuous monitoring of data flows and automated policy creation and extension ensure holistic protection of sensitive information with minimal manual involvement and make it significantly easier to maintain regulatory compliance, and can even support lowered cyber-insurance premiums.

About the Author

Iliyan Gerov is a Senior Product Marketing Specialist at Acronis.

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