Security Tips

7 Must-follow Tips for Data Leakage Prevention (DLP) in 2024

5 Mins read
data leak prevention

In today’s modern digital world where technology rules the roost, safeguarding sensitive information has become highly critical. As organizations harness the power of data for innovation and growth, the risk of data leakage looms larger than ever.  

According to Statista, the United States witnessed 3,205 data compromises in 2023, affecting over 353 million individuals through breaches, leaks, and exposures. Notably, the fourth quarter of 2023 alone exposed more than eight million records globally, making it a cause of concern for company leaders. Operating system vulnerabilities on endpoint devices remained the leading cause of sensitive information loss.  

data leakage stats

In this blog, we will delve into essential tips for robust Data Leakage Prevention strategies, empowering businesses to proactively fortify their data defenses and stay resilient against potential threats. 

What is a data leak? 

Data leakage refers to the unauthorized transfer of data from an organization’s internal systems to an external destination or recipient. This can manifest through electronic or physical means, encompassing various mediums. Commonly, data leakage threats materialize through web and email channels, posing risks to the confidentiality of sensitive information. Additionally, mobile data storage devices like optical media, USB keys, and laptops serve as potential avenues for data leakage.  

Here are two examples to understand the scenario of data leakage.

Consider a scenario where an employee unknowingly sends a sensitive company document containing proprietary information to an external email address. In this case, the unauthorized transmission of critical data through email represents a clear case of data leakage.

Consider another scenario where employee copies confidential files onto a USB key and accidentally leaves it unattended in a public space, the physical transfer of sensitive data via a mobile storage device becomes another example of data leakage.

These situations highlight the diverse and pervasive nature of data leakage threats, emphasizing the importance of employing a robust data leak prevention solution across various data transfer channels. 

Causes of data leakage 

Several factors contribute to data leakage, each posing distinct challenges to organizational cybersecurity: 

  • Accidental Leaks: Accidental data leaks stem from the actions of trusted individuals who inadvertently expose sensitive information. Common instances include sending emails containing confidential data to the wrong recipient, misplacing corporate devices, or neglecting to secure devices with passwords or biometric protection. 
  • Malicious Insiders: Malicious insiders, whether employees or trusted third parties, exploit their access to corporate systems for personal gain or collaboration with external attackers. Examples of such activities encompass the intentional transfer of sensitive documents outside the organization, saving files to unauthorized USB devices, or storing files in unauthorized cloud storage. 
  • Software Misconfiguration: Configuration errors, particularly in cloud environments, can lead to severe data leaks. This encompasses issues such as excessive permissions, databases or cloud storage lacking proper authentication, exposed secrets (credentials or encryption keys), and mistakes in integrating with third-party services. 
  • Social Engineering: External attackers employ social engineering tactics to infiltrate organizational systems and gain access to sensitive data. Techniques may involve persuading employees to disclose credentials or directly sending sensitive information to the attacker. In some cases, attackers introduce malware into corporate systems, enabling unauthorized access and data exfiltration. 
  • Software Vulnerabilities: Outdated software or zero-day exploits pose a significant cybersecurity threat. Criminals can exploit software vulnerabilities, turning them into various security risks that may compromise sensitive information. 
  • Old Data: As businesses expand and personnel changes occur, organizations may lose track of data. System updates and infrastructure changes can inadvertently expose outdated data, creating potential vulnerabilities that adversaries could exploit. 

7 tips for data leakage prevention 

Here are seven effective strategies to prevent data leaks: 

  1. Identify the Location of Sensitive Data:

Initiating a robust data leakage prevention strategy starts with identifying the location of sensitive data within the organization. Determine the information requiring the highest level of protection and categorize data accordingly. Once aware of sensitive data, implement security measures such as access control and encryption, and deploy Data Loss Prevention (DLP) software. 

  1. Assess the Risk Posed by Third Parties:

Recognize the significant threat posed by third-party vendors accessing privileged systems. As external entities may lack the same protection standards, monitoring their security posture is crucial. This involves evaluating vendors for potential data breach vulnerabilities, conducting risk assessments for compliance with regulatory standards, and utilizing vendor risk questionnaires or third-party attack surface monitoring solutions. 

  1. Manage and Safeguard Privileged Credentials:

Safeguarding privileged credentials is vital for preventing unauthorized access. Secrets, utilized by both software and human users, should be managed comprehensively to avoid intentional or unintentional exposure. A holistic approach involves secure storage, monitoring for improper usage, and prompt remediation of any identified issues. 

  1. Enhance Security Across All Endpoints:

Recognize that endpoints, including computers, mobile devices, and IoT devices, are potential access points for data leaks. In a landscape where remote working is prevalent, securing geographically dispersed endpoints is challenging. While VPNs and firewalls provide a foundational layer, additional measures are necessary. 

  1. Implement Data Encryption Protocols:

Encryption serves as a formidable defense against data leaks by transforming readable information into an encoded format. Employ both symmetric-key and public-key encryption for enhanced security. Diligent management of decryption keys is crucial to prevent unauthorized access and potential exploitation by sophisticated attackers. 

  1. Review and Manage Access Permissions:

Regularly review and categorize permissions to ensure sensitive data is accessible only to trusted individuals with a genuine need for access. Categorizing data based on sensitivity levels allows for controlled access to different pools of information. This process not only enhances overall security but also unveils potential malicious insiders who may have obtained unauthorized access. 

  1. Train employees on cybersecurity awareness: 

Recognize employees as an additional line of defense against data breaches. Regular training in cybersecurity awareness is essential. Stanford University researchers and a top cybersecurity organization found that nearly 88 percent of data breaches occur due to employee mistake. Hence, employees should be educated in identifying malicious emails and promptly reporting them to the security team. This proactive approach empowers employees to contribute actively to the organization’s overall security posture. 

Data Leakage Prevention on Cloud with inDefend Advanced from ZNetLive 

Elevate your organization’s data security with inDefend Advanced, a cutting-edge Data Leakage Prevention (DLP) solution from ZNetLive. This comprehensive end-point employee behavior and monitoring software offers robust protection by observing the exchange of sensitive information across diverse hardware platforms and operating systems, ensuring maximum security and robust protection against potential threats throughout the organizational landscape. 

Its key features include: 

  • Data Leakage Protection: Ensure data security through robust controls that monitor and prevent any unauthorized transfer of sensitive information, fortifying your data protection strategy. 
  • Data Privacy Adherence: Enhance privacy with comprehensive data-at-rest scans and secure network data effectively to prevent unauthorized access. 
  • Data Classification: Leverage a content analysis engine for document classification based on sensitive content. 
  • Employee Productivity Monitoring and Application Control: Monitor employee productivity and gain insights to boost work efficiency. 
  • Employee Activity/Behavior Monitoring: Monitor employee activities and behavior to identify and address suspicious or non-compliant activities promptly. 
  • Employee Surveillance: Implement efficient employee surveillance with real-time visibility for proactive risk management. 
  • Work from Home Controls: Extend the security perimeter to the remote work environment. 
  • Centralized Policy Management: Streamline security protocols with centralized policy management, using a unified platform to create, implement, and manage security policies effectively. 
  • Cloud Ready: Embrace a cloud-ready architecture for future readiness, ensuring continuous security for data, applications, and workflows. 
  • Management App for CXOs: Access a user-friendly interface for a comprehensive organizational overview and gain insights into security policies and incidents seamlessly. 

To overcome the evolving challenges of today’s cybersecurity landscape, book a demo now and experience the transformative capabilities of inDefend Advanced from ZNetLive.  

Read next: How to safeguard your data from cyber-attacks in 2024?

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Amy Sarah John – content writer interested to learn and write about new things. She likes to write about technology and travel. Amy spends her free time watching travel videos and traveling with family.
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