Establishing a Data Loss Prevention Policy for Your Business
We’ve talked about the definition of Data Loss Prevention and its benefits in our last article. Now, we’ll tackle the best practices in creating your own DLP policy and why do you need to have it.
Key Reasons for having a Data Loss Prevention Policy
Your business’ data is available in the cloud and as more of your employees work from home or at any remote location, access to critical data from mobile devices is at risk.
There are various levels of government regulations on how a company gathers and secures personally identifiable information. Complying with data regulations is an important part of your data loss prevention policy.
Your company may have trade secrets and other strategic propriety information that can be targeted by cybercriminals or malicious insiders.
Most of your business’s critical data are found on servers, laptops, cloud storage, and other databases. With a DLP policy in place, you can learn how end–users use sensitive information and therefore, better safeguard it.
Data Loss Prevention Policy Best Practices
You can prevent any unauthorized access and protect your business from potential threats with the help of a data loss prevention policy. Following best practices will help you implement a successful DLP plan.
1. Identify & Classify
The first stage to creating your Data Loss Prevention policy is identifying the location of all your organization’s data and determine how much of it are sensitive information. Analyze the current structure and identify existing security gaps in your data management.
To effectively protect your data, you should know the types of data you have.
Where is your data located? Common locations are within:
- Network Storage
- Cloud Storage
- Hardware Storage
All critical data should be clearly labeled so you can protect it in accordance with its significance to the organization.
- Personal Identifiable Information (PII)
- Payment Card Information (PCI)
- Customer Information
- Intellectual Property / Proprietary Information
- Internal Information
- Public Use / Domain Information
Every time new data is created or modified; the classification should be updated. However, access controls should still be in place to prevent other users to change any settings of the data.
2. Regulatory Compliance
Regulatory Compliance depends on the nature of your organization, as well as the location of your business, local regulations may be added to your DLP plan. Some government regulations require companies to either employ internal staff or keep external advisors with data protection knowledge.
This is just the baseline of your structure as it doesn’t cover other factors your company needs to be protected such as intellectual assets and other growth strategies.
3. Business Information DLP
Once you’ve established that you comply with legal regulations, you will now have to look at your business information. These are the data that you need to ensure is secure from unlawful use:
- Strategic Plans
- Financial Reports
- Proprietary information and processes
- Other additional information that may not be covered by data protection regulations.
4. Internal Processes
Create an outline with appropriate questions to make informed purchasing decisions. Choosing Data Loss Prevention solutions can be a challenge thus the reason for evaluation. Also, define the roles of each person involved with Data Loss Prevention, not just for monitoring but also for implementing rules and regulations.
The goal is to safeguard the most critical data, so start with the specific data to address first and build upon that. Documenting policies before your software set up will help ensure that it is well organized and can be incorporated properly for employee training and efficient implementation.
5. Educating the Workforce
You cannot implement a Data Loss Prevention policy without your team’s support. Educating your employees about the importance of data loss prevention can improve your company’s security position. Internal threats may not be a common situation, but it can happen.
Each of your employees should have a good understanding of their responsibilities when it comes to business data especially if they are outside of the business network. Your DLP solutions should also support your DLP. Microsoft 365 has a function of notifying an employee when they do something that violates a DLP rule.
Once you set it up, don’t just forget about it. After implementing your DLP plan, you and your team who are in charge of it should closely monitor the effectiveness of your processes to ensure it’s working properly and ensure that you can fix gaps within your strategy.
Investing in a solution that monitors your company’s security system 24/7 means that you can focus on other tasks while your software does the work. Build an automated audit and risk report to get visibility into your data loss risk and adjust it as per report results.
Software such as Microsoft 365 includes a default template that you can modify depending on your location and situation. Implementing your policy template won’t be successful if you don’t establish your data prevention policy and being able to understand what data is being collected and stored.
If you’re unsure on how to start implementing your policy or having trouble setting it up, contact us and we will be happy to assist you.