Data Leakage Protection (DLP)

Data loss prevention (DLP) is a set of tools and processes used to ensure that sensitive data is not lost, misused, or accessed by unauthorized users. DLP software classifies regulated, confidential, and business critical data and identifies violations of policies defined by organizations or within a predefined policy pack, typically driven by regulatory compliance such as HIPAA, PCI-DSS, or GDPR.

Once those violations are identified, DLP enforces remediation with alerts, encryption, and other protective actions to prevent end users from accidentally or maliciously sharing data that could put the organization at risk.

Data loss prevention software and tools monitor and control endpoint activities, filter data streams on corporate networks, and monitor data in the cloud to protect data at rest, in motion, and in use.

DLP also provides reporting to meet compliance and auditing requirements and identify areas of weakness and anomalies for forensics and incident response.



Data loss prevention solves three main objectives that are common pain points for many organizations: personal information protection / compliance, intellectual property (IP) protection, and data visibility.

  • Personal Information Protection / Compliance: Does your organization collect and store Personally Identifiable Information (PII), Protected Health Information (PHI), or payment card information (PCI)? If so, you are more than likely subject to compliance regulations, such as HIPAA (for PHI) and GDPR (for personal data of EU residents), that require you to protect your customers’ sensitive data. DLP can identify, classify, and tag sensitive data and monitor activities and events surrounding that data. In addition, reporting capabilities provide the details needed for compliance audits.
  • IP Protection: Does your organization have important intellectual property and trade or state secrets that could put your organization’s financial health and brand image at risk if lost or stolen? DLP solutions like Digital Guardian that use context-based classification can classify intellectual property in both structured and unstructured forms. With policies and controls in place, you can protect against unwanted exfiltration of this data.
  • Data Visibility: Is your organization seeking to gain additional visibility into data movement? A comprehensive enterprise DLP solution can help you see and track your data on endpoints, networks, and the cloud. This will provide you with visibility into how individual users within your organization interact with data.

While these are the three main use cases, DLP can remediate a variety of other pain points including insider threats, Office 365 data security, user and entity behavior analysis, and advanced threats.



In the 2017 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Enterprise DLP, Gartner estimates that the total data loss prevention market will reach $1.3 billion in 2020. The DLP market is not new, but it has evolved to include managed services, cloud functionality, and advanced threat protection amongst other things. All of this, coupled with the upward trend in giant data breaches, has seen a massive uptick in DLP adoption as a means to protect sensitive data. Here are nine trends that are driving the wider adoption of DLP

  • The Growth of the CISO Role: More companies have hired and are hiring Chief Information Security Officers (CISOs), who often report to the CEO. CEOs want to know the game plan for preventing data leaks. DLP provides clear business value in this regard and gives CISOs the necessary reporting capabilities to provide regular updates to the CEO.
  • Evolving Compliance Mandates: Global data protection regulations constantly change and your organization needs to be adaptable and prepared. Within the past couple years, lawmakers in the EU and New York State, respectively, have passed the GDPR and NYDFS Cybersecurity Regulation, both of which have tightened data protection requirements. DLP solutions allow organizations the flexibility to evolve with changing global regulations.
  • There are More Places to Protect Your Data: Increased use of the cloud, complicated supply chain networks, and other services you no longer have full control over has made protecting your data more complex. Visibility into the events and context of events that surround your data before it leaves your organization is important in preventing your sensitive data from getting into the wrong hands.
  • Data Breaches are Frequent and Large: Adversaries from nation states, cyber criminals and malicious insiders are targeting your sensitive data for a variety motives, such as corporate espionage, personal financial gain, and political advantage. DLP can protect against all kinds of adversaries, malicious or not. Within just the past couple of years, there have been thousands of data breaches and many more security incidents. Billions of records have been lost in giant data breaches such as: the database misconfiguration that leaked nearly 200 million US voter records in 2015, the Equifax data breach that kept getting bigger, and the Yahoo breach that affected 3 billion users. These are only a few of the many headliners that emphasize the need to protect your organization’s data.
  • Your Organization’s Stolen Data is Worth More: Stolen data is often sold on the Dark Web, where individuals and groups can purchase and use it for their own benefit. With certain data types selling for up to a few thousand dollars, there is a clear financial incentive for data theft.
  • There’s More Data to Steal: The definition of what is sensitive data has expanded over the years. Sensitive data now includes intangible assets, such as pricing models and business methodologies. From 1975 to 2015, the amount of intangible assets grew from 17% of the S&P 500 market value to 84%, according to Ocean Tomo’s Intangible Asset Market Value Study. This means your organization has more data to protect.
  • There’s a Security Talent Shortage: The security talent shortage is not going away anytime soon and you’ve probably already felt its impact on your own organization. In fact, in an ESG and ISSA survey from 2017, 43% of respondents said their organizations had been impacted by the shortage. Managed DLP services act as remote extensions of your team to fill that personnel gap.

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