What is Data Loss Prevention (DLP)?

Posted on August 19, 2021 Backups & DR

Companies all over the world store sensitive data. It could be their customer’s data, data on their business practices, or even state secrets. Data is very valuable, which makes it a potential target for threats.

Data Loss Prevention (DLP) ensures that sensitive data is kept safe from misuse, theft, and accidental loss. Policies are implemented to protect data, DLP software identifies violations of these policies and takes action to help keep data protected.

Organizations can hold sensitive data that fall under 3 main categories:

  • – Personally Identifiable Information (PII)

  • – Protected Health Information (PHI)

  • – Payment Card Information (PCI)

DLP software places data under specific categories and each of these will be associated with certain regulatory compliance laws. These laws include:

  • – PCI-DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard

  • – HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act)

  • – GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation)

DLP ensures all data is kept safe within protection compliance laws and will take action to keep software safe when a potential breach is detected. DLP also offers other features that help to ensure data cannot be accessed by unauthorized people, while also giving organizations more visibility into their operations.

How Does DLP Work?

DLP works with data loss prevention software that monitors data to help ensure it isn’t at risk of landing in the wrong hands, deliberately or otherwise. Data can be monitored at multiple locations such as in the cloud and at end-user points. When a potential breach is detected the data loss prevention software reacts. This typically includes alerts or encryptions that will make the data indecipherable.

DLP software also provides reports that identify potential weaknesses in data loss prevention software processes. The reports ensure that organizations are keeping within the laws and regulations regarding DLP.

Use Cases for Data Loss Prevention

DLP software is beneficial to businesses in several ways that can be broken down into 3 main categories:

  • Protection

Losing sensitive data can be detrimental to any organization. There’s the potential for losing information that could be used by competitors to their benefit. If you lose sensitive data that belongs to customers then your reputation could be harmed which could cause you to lose customers. DLP software helps to prevent your data from being used against you and keeping your brand reputation intact.

  • Compliance

Companies that hold sensitive data are bound by law to keep that data safe. Having DLP software installed can help companies to comply with these laws. Not only can DLP software help to prevent loss of data, it can also produce DLP reports for auditing purposes. These reports can demonstrate that the appropriate security measures are in place. The reports can also identify potential weaknesses in data loss prevention software and protocols that might otherwise be exploited.

  • Visibility

An organization can learn a lot by tracking how data is being used within their organization. It might reveal individuals who are misusing the data, for example, allowing the company to act accordingly. It could also give valuable insights into how data is being used in your company.

Why is DLP More Important than Ever?

The DLP market is expected to expand from around $1.64 billion in 2021, to $2.28 billion in 2023. Some of the reasons for this expected increase include:

  • Cloud Computing

Cloud computing is growing. More cloud-based platforms are being developed all the time, increasing their functionality and appeal. Some of the largest organizations on the planet are adopting cloud technology, along with countless smaller businesses. This means a lot more data that needs protecting, increasing the demand for DLP.

  • Increased Frequency of Data Breaches

Data breaches are becoming increasingly frequent as more people look to access data – sometimes for illegal purposes. Some of the world’s biggest organizations have experienced data breaches, making it increasingly important that all data is protected with the most effective data loss prevention software available. DLP provides effective data loss prevention against all kinds of data breaches, including the most sophisticated hackers in the world.

  • More Data Available To Steal, Spread Across Various Locations

As platforms develop, data that is increasingly valuable is accessed and used across the internet. Not only does sensitive data include things like your customers’ personal details, but also information on business methodologies and pricing models that competitors could use to their advantage. 

  • Compliance Regulations Are Always Evolving

Hackers are always on the lookout for vulnerabilities that could be exploited, so data loss prevention processes need to evolve simultaneously. DLP helps organizations keep up with changing compliance regulations to avoid penalties.

  • Increasing Prominence of CISOs

Chief Information Security Officers (CISOs) are taking a more prominent role in the workplace as businesses get up to date with technology. DLP gives CISOs the tools and information they require to do their job effectively and report to the CEO.

The Role of Data Loss Prevention Software

As internet-based systems become more functional, more data needs to be protected. DLP plays a valuable role in data protection because it supports keeping data safe. DLP provides more than barriers that keep data safe but also reports that ensure all protocols are compliant. Data loss prevention software also monitors for potential weaknesses in software and procedures.

Companies have a growing need to understand how data is being used, internally and externally. DLP provides valuable reports that give organizations a clearer picture of how their data is utilized, potentially giving them insights that enhance their business operations. DLP systems also provide more features as they evolve which makes them more valuable to the organizations they service. 

DLP Best Practices

These DLP industry safe practices should be put into action to maintain the integrity of your data:

  • Establish Objectives

There are 4 main DLP employment architectures that can be put in place. These are:

  1. Cloud
  2. Discovery
  3. Endpoint DLP
  4. Network DLP

Each DLP architecture type is designed to meet different objectives. For the best results, you establish what you hope to gain from using DLP software. Protecting your data is the most obvious objective, others include complying with regulations and gaining more visibility.

  • Evaluate the Most Suitable Data Security Solutions

There are numerous data security solutions to choose from, with varying strengths and weaknesses. For maximum protection, choose a data loss prevention solution that is most relevant for your needs. This makes it necessary to evaluate all the data loss prevention software options that are available.

  • Define Roles

For DLP systems to be effective, you need to know which roles and responsibilities your employees have. You will need to know who should have access to what data, and put checks and balances in place to ensure that processes are followed. Roles and procedures should also be regularly evaluated to offer continuous protection of your data.

  • Define Success Metrics

Define which metrics will tell you how successful the adoption of your DLP program is. Develop KPIs that can be shared with senior management to help highlight successes and potential gaps. Monitor your KPIs regularly and act on them whenever they identify room for improvement.


DLP software incorporates some of the most advanced online security tools and features available. It helps keep your data safe by preventing accidental or criminal loss of data that could be very costly for your organization. DLP software offers insights into your organization’s personnel and operations and ensures that your organization remains legally compliant. Contact one of our security experts today at 1-844-25-CLOUD to learn about how NETdepot can assist your business with our DLP software.

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