10 Requirements of Data Loss Prevention Part I

Data loss is something that can be very traumatic. Whether it’s a business with important files and documents, or an individual with precious pictures and videos, losing data can be a very stressful situation. If you’ve never experienced hard drive failure or losing data before, it can indeed be a situation where you find yourself wondering what to do.

Websense, Inc., a company that specializes in integrated Web, data and email security solutions suggests that businesses must implement a DLP solution that addresses these key requirements:

1. Accurately identifies data
Whether it’s credit card numbers, social security numbers, source code, or business plans, the key to an effective DLP solution is its ability to identify all forms of confidential data accurately. Many solutions come with built-in policy templates covering a broad array of data types, but few offer fingerprinting (the creation of a unique “fingerprint” of content that can be detected when that content leaves the network), the most accurate form of data identification. Accurate identification reduces false positives and negatives, simplifies workflow, requires fewer management resources, and provides a solid platform for automated enforcement.

2. Addresses data whether at rest, in use, or in motion
Data can be stored, used, and exchanged in many places and ways. A DLP solution must be able to discover where users store confidential data (data at rest), and monitor and protect how data is used (data in use) and transmitted over the Web, email, and other business communication channels (data in motion).

3. Provides content and context analysis
Employees will have varying needs and rights to store and use different types of data. An employee in human resources may have permission to access and use confidential employee information whereas a salesperson would be prohibited. That salesperson, however, may be authorized to send certain customer information to Salesforce.com. Your DLP solution must be able to discern both content and context of data to work to work effectively.

4. Includes an advanced policy framework
An effective DLP framework will help you manage who and what go where and how, or in the case of data at rest, who stores what, where, and how. A mature solution can prohibit financial consultants from posting confidential information over HTTP to blogs and chat Web sites, but allow employees to post non confidential data to those same sites.

5. Offers robust workflow and reporting
Data loss prevention is a business problem, not an IT problem—though the burden falls on IT. The technology in place must offer robust workflow and reporting with full automation. DLP solutions provide visibility into business communications and processes that administrators and policy makers can use to design controls and automate workflow and to pre-assign specific types of incidents to specific personnel.

Data loss can be complicated, but preventing it doesn’t have to be. In my next article, I will provide the remaining five requirements of an effective DLP solution.

God Bless!

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