What is Data Loss Prevention (DLP)?

5min. read


Data loss prevention (DLP) is the practice of protecting and securing a company’s data (e.g., its intellectual property, financial data, customer or employee information, etc.) to prevent it from being lost, stolen, accessed, or misused by unauthorized individuals.

This requires a company to:

  • Secure data while it is at rest, in use, and in motion.
  • Secure all endpoints such as desktop computers, laptops, and smart phones to better control and manage who has access to what data and when.
  • Monitor the transfer of data both inside and outside of their organization. 
  • Proactively identity and stop any data leakage.

Why DLP is Important

Companies today are collecting massive amounts of data and storing it in more places than ever (e.g., in their office, in the cloud, in multiple SaaS applications and cloud storage environments, and so on). In addition, thanks to new cloud and mobile computing technologies, their employees now have the ability to access a wide variety of applications and data anytime, anywhere, and from any device.

The challenge is:

  • Most companies don’t have much visibility into how and where their employees access and use their data, or transfer or share it with others. 
  • In a public cloud environment, both the cloud service provider (who is responsible for the underlying cloud infrastructure) and the data owner (who is responsible for all of their applications and data) are mutually responsible for ensuring cloud security.
  • Public and private cloud providers often vary in their capabilities, which can lead to inconsistent security and cloud data protection for companies.
  • The number of major data breaches and insider threats caused by well meaning employee, malicious insiders and cyber criminals continues to increase.

Therefore, in order to successfully overcome these challenges, it’s crucial for companies to put a solid data loss prevention strategy and program in place.

What Businesses Need to Succeed

For data loss prevention to be effective, companies must:

  • Protect their company and data across their in-house network, cloud, and mobile users.
  • Centralize their data loss prevention and security management efforts.
  • Discover, classify, monitor, and protect their data, as well as authenticate users and control who has access to what applications and data, and when. 
  • Clearly define and enforce role-based data access and usage policies.
  • Better oversee and manage third-party vendor security and compliance.
  • Ensure their data is being stored, accessed, and used in a way that complies with data protection regulations and data privacy laws, such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX), the European Union General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), and others. This is especially important since any violations can result in a hefty fine and/or significant damage to a company’s reputation, or even criminal or civil penalties.

For more information on DLP and how to create a robust data protection strategy for your business visit: https://www.paloaltonetworks.com/cloud-data-loss-prevention

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