Data Loss Prevention: A Comprehensive Guide In 4 Points

Ajay Ohri


In this modern era, when almost everything is online, every organization has to be vigilant to ensure that sensitive information does not flow seamlessly out of the organization. Organizational data is sensitive at many levels. Some are classified as sensitive because of their internal organizational information, some because of intellectual property and some because of corporate requirements or national and international regulations. A feasible solution to keep the data safe and to prevent any kind of unwanted data leaks is to implement a strict corporate policy that can catch protected data before it leaves the organization. This is where DLP comes into the picture. DLP stands for Data Loss Prevention. 

Data loss prevention is essential to make sure that critical organizational data does not fall into wrong hands. Data loss prevention is a combination of different tools and products that help a network administrator control the data that users of the organization handle. 

  1. Definition
  2. Causes
  3. Prevention
  4. Types

1. Definition

Before going to the definition of DLP let’s understand what is data loss prevention. Data Loss is any process or event that misuses organizational data. For example, it can an organizational data being accidentally uploaded to a cloud or other personal servers. It can mean that data is corrupted, deleted, or made inaccessible by a user or software or an application, whether it is accidentally or intentionally. Data Loss Prevention or DLP as it is commonly used is the prevention of this happening through various tools and programs. 

Data loss prevention is a combination of tools and processes that are used to ensure that any kind of sensitive data is not lost, or misused, or is accessed by unauthorized users. Data Loss Prevention recognizes, monitors, and inspects data transfer through deep content analysis of transaction parameters with a centralized management framework. 

2. Causes

In this section, we will take a closer look at what are the common reasons that warrant Data Loss Prevention.  

Accidental deletion: This is one of the most common reasons for data loss and is self-explanatory. You can accidentally delete an essential file and if you have used Shift Del to do that it becomes very difficult to revoke. 

Drive Formatting: Many a time you may need to format the drive to fix device errors or to correct hard drive corruption and many accidentally lose data that is not backed up. 

Power surge: When your device suffers an accidental power surge, the hard drive can damage. It may not read or write properly and can also lead to system errors. 

Virus attacks: These are the most dangerous ones. Whether you accidentally download some malicious software or you are a victim to scam emails, phishing, etc., your data is at stake. 

Accidental uploads: You may have set up a sync to cloud option on your computer, and it can accidentally upload classified organizational information to the cloud.

So, what is at stake? You may lose personally identifiable information (PII), Protected Health Information (PHI), or even PCI (Payment Card Information). Intellectual property or trade secrets might be at stake. 

3. Prevention

Implementing DLP in your organization has many benefits and can help prevent any of the above causes from happening. One another reason to seek DLP is data visibility. Your organization can gain additional visibility in this modern-day data revolution with DLP. It can seek and track your data to the endpoints of transfer like networks and cloud. There is also a steady upward trend in giant data breaches that have led to a massive uptick in data loss prevention best practices. 

Your first step towards prevention will be to determine your objective. what are you trying to protect? Is it intellectual property or more visibility into your data, or meeting regulatory compliance, or a combination of all of the above? It is very important to determine the DLP deployment architecture or a combination of architecture. What technologies would you like to integrate?  There are different types of data loss prevention tools in the market that can be integrated into your model to prevent data leaks. 

4. Types

There are three major types of DLP solutions available in the market. 

A) Network DLP:

This type of DLP works on the organization’s network’s data points. The DLP traces, monitors, and also reports all the information flowing through the various ports of the network and the protocols used on the network. 

B) Storage DLP:

The Storage DLP is effective in monitoring the data stored on an external cloud or server. The DLP provides control over information that employees retain and share over clouds and also alerts the management if there a data breach or if the classified data can be easily accessed by an outsider. 

C) End-point DLP:

Any big organization has a huge proliferation of endpoints like workstations, laptops, tablets, and mobile phones. Employees often use individual storage devices like USBs and external hard drives. These endpoints, especially mobile phones can accidentally lead to data loss. Endpoint DLP provides agents installed on all workstations and other organizational devices to prevent and monitor the transfer of sensitive information. 

So, which of DLP is right for you? Your DLP needs to have the deepest visibility, real-time analytics, flexible controls, and alerts to prevent data losses. Ideally, you will need a combination of many tools and software for stringent DLP implementation, a system that is scalable for your organizational needs. Some of the most popular DLP tools available in the market are Symantec DLP, McAfee DLP, Check Point DLP, and Digital Guardian DLP. 


You can implement DLP in your organization to classify and prioritize data security at different levels. You can also use it to ensure that the access policies meet various regulatory compliances. DLP solutions can also go beyond simple detection, alerts, monitoring, enforcing encryption, and isolating data. Implementing DLP in your organization can prevent data leaks and lead to better safety for the organization. 

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