Data Loss Prevention– What Is It and How to Create a DLP Policy?

Data Loss Prevention– What Is It and How to Create a DLP Policy?

Familiar with Data Loss Prevention (DLP)? It’s a set of tools and processes for keeping sensitive data safe. The goal is to prevent data from being lost, misused, and accessed by unauthorized users. I never knew the term DLP existed until I stumbled upon a blog about it while searching for Spectrum internet prices in my area.

A DLP software classifies critical business data and identifies the violation of policies defined by the organization. The policy is driven by regulatory compliance like GDPR, HIPPA, and PCI-DSS. Once the software identifies violations, it enforces remediation in the form of alerts, encryption, and other actions to prevent the user from sharing data (maliciously or accidentally), putting the organization at risk.

Developing a DLP Strategy

Employees have always been privy to company information. They could share data intentionally or accidentally. Since everything is available online, this has magnified the problem.

Data stored on the cloud can be monitored and accessed from remote locations. Mobile devices containing sensitive information can be vulnerable. This has made it difficult to ensure data security. Hence, having a Data Loss Prevention strategy is pertinent.

Why Implement a Data Loss Prevention Policy?

Compliance Purposes

Each business is subject to mandatory compliance standards which are imposed by the government. These standards define how a business must secure PII (Personally Identifiable Information), and other sensitive data. The DLP tools are designed to address the requirements of common standards.

Intangible Assets or Intellectual Property

An organization may have strategic proprietary info, trade secrets, or intangible assets such as business strategies or customers they would like to secure. If this info is lost, it can be damaging for the business. With a data loss prevention strategy, a company can safeguard its critical assets.

Data Visibility

A DLP policy doesn’t just protect precious data, it also offers insight into how your stakeholders use this data. To protect sensitive info, an organization must know where the sensitive info exists, how it uses it, and its purpose. DLP can be used for providing insight into how the stakeholders use the company’s data.

How to Create a Successful DLP Policy

Ready to implement a DLP policy in your organization? For that, you must create a policy. Here is all the help you need:

Classify and Interpret Data

Start by identifying which info needs to be protected. Evaluate risk factors and determine how vulnerable the data is. Then, classify and interpret data. This is how you lay a foundation for a suitable DLP policy.

Allocate Roles

Define the roles of each person who will be involved in the implementation of a DLP strategy.

Secure Sensitive Data

Your priority must be to secure the most sensitive data. It is usually the information that represents the biggest risk to your business.


Try automating as many DLP processes as possible. That’s how you will be able to deploy them. Know that manual DLP processes are limited in their scope as well as the amount of data they cover.

Use Anomaly Detection

You can also use ML and behavioral analytics along with statistical analysis and correlation rules for identifying abnormal user behavior. Through this information, each user is modeled. This enables accurate detection of data actions that might also represent the malicious intent of a user.

Involve the Leaders

No policy should exclude the leaders of the organization, right? If the management is not a part of it, then enforcing it is useless.

Educate all Stakeholders

It’s not enough to implement a DLP policy. It’s equally imperative to educate the stakeholders. After all, the users of the data must be aware of how their actions could lead to data compromise. They must also know their role in keeping organizational data safe.

Document Everything

As you document the policy, it offers more clarity at the individual and organizational level.

Establish Metric

To measure the effectiveness of the DLP, metrics must be developed, such as the number of incidents, the ratio of false positives, and more.

Skip the Unnecessary Data

A business must only store essential information. If it’s not needed, delete it.

Protecting data is everyone’s responsibility. A DLP policy helps in forming procedures that facilitate the implementation of the policy and outline a course of action in case of data loss.



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