When the IT industry talks about “data loss” it refers to intentional destruction or theft of data rather than accidental deletions or environmental corruption. The field of Data Loss Prevention (DLP) is concerned with controlling access to the data that your company holds. This issue is particularly important with respect to personal data. The obligation to protect personally identifiable information from disclosure is tightly-controlled by the law and your business could be ruined by legal action if you don’t get on top of this issue.
Compliance to a data security standard is also important in order to win contracts. The public sector is very strong about protecting personal data and they ripple that priority through all of the services that they buy. So, if you don’t implement effective data loss prevention you will be locked out of the opportunity for new contracts. The need to comply with the standards of the public sector continues through the supply chain. So, even if you don’t bid for public sector contracts, your ability to do deals with businesses that do work for the public sector will be reduced.
We get into a lot of detail on all the tools that made this list, but if you only have time for a quick summary, here is our list of the ten best data loss prevention tools:
- SolarWinds Data Loss Prevention with ARM (FREE TRIAL) Focuses on access rights management
- Symantec Data Loss Prevention Includes threat protection and encryption for data
- Teramind DLP A user tracker and data access controller
- Clearswift Adaptive DLP A range of data protection products
- SecureTrust Data Loss Prevention Includes pre-written policies
- Check Point Data Loss Prevention Adopts a user monitoring and education approach
- Digital Guardian Endpoint DLP A data event tracker
- Code42 Restores altered data to its original state
- CA Data Protection Protects data and audits access events
- Comodo MyDLP A user data access control system
- 1 Priorities for data loss prevention
- 2 Data Loss Prevention Tools
- 2.1 1. SolarWinds Data Loss Prevention with ARM (FREE TRIAL)
- 2.2 EDITOR'S CHOICE
- 2.3 2. Symantec Data Loss Prevention
- 2.4 3. Teramind DLP
- 2.5 4. Clearswift Adaptive DLP
- 2.6 5. SecureTrust Data Loss Prevention
- 2.7 6. Check Point Data Loss Prevention Software Blade
- 2.8 7. Digital Guardian Endpoint DLP
- 2.9 8. Code42
- 2.10 9. CA Data Protection
- 2.11 10. Comodo MyDLP
- 3 Fine-tuning your security
Priorities for data loss prevention
The first and most obvious topic to deal with when trying to prevent the data your business stores is to control access to it. However, this is not your only task. In order to prove compliance with data security standards, you are going to need some evidence. So, constant transaction logging is needed, and you are going to need to store those logs for years so that they can be available for spot audits. Constant self-auditing is also necessary to ensure that security procedures are sufficiently strong.
Although failure to protect data is a setback, any leakage should not be covered up. Non-disclosure of data leakage is a big mistake. It will cause you to lose your accreditation. Data protection standards all include protocols for data loss notification and they should be followed.
Surprisingly, most organizations don’t properly track all of the locations on the system where data is stored. Staff might keep notes in documents on their desktop computers and forget to delete them; other local stores, such as contact databases can sometimes be overlooked. It is important to centralize the storage of data and track access to it.
The data held by your company is a potential money earner for hackers. So, you have to properly defend your network against intrusion. However, authorized users also present a security risk. They might be tricked into passing on data to outsiders or might be motivated through resentment or greed to steal the company’s data. Preventing the copying of data onto portable devices, or printout, or sending data out through email, or a chat app is another important requirement of DLP.
Data Loss Prevention Tools
You won’t get all of your DLP needs fulfilled by the one tool. However, many software providers produce suites of tools that fit together. There is a lot of overlap between data loss prevention, standard compliance, and data backup. You will need all of these to successfully protect and manage your company’s data. In this report, we will focus on DLP software.
You can read more about these options in the following sections.
SolarWinds is a leading producer of IT infrastructure monitoring tools and its DLP solution is part of its Access Rights Manager.
A key starting point in your DLP strategy is to set a company policy on data access control. The SolarWinds Access Rights Manager supports this task by giving you clear reports on current access permissions. You then have an opportunity to set better controls, which can be implemented through the Access Rights Manager.
Ongoing monitoring keeps a constant check on data access and generates alerts whenever copies are made or data is transferred. The manager unifies user monitoring for Active Directory, Windows File Share, SharePoint, and Microsoft Exchange. This enables you to monitor the activities of a user who has displayed unusual or suspicious behavior across many communication channels.
The auditing and reporting function of the Access Rights Manager supports GDPR, HIPAA, and PCI DSS compliance. The interface of the tool is very easy to use, making user access management a much simpler task. The software installs on Windows Server and you can get it on a 30-day free trial.
Lightweight package with automated user access policy analysis and enforcement, lets you identify threats to data and helps stop data exfiltration attempts in progress. Set up data leak alerts and more.
Official Site: SolarWinds.com
Symantec’s DLP solution combines user activity tracking with data controls. It can monitor data held on servers, desktops, mobile devices, and in cloud storage. An initial sweep on installation identifies all locations that hold sensitive data and gives you the option to remove it all to a central, secure data repository or secure it in place. You receive templates and workflows for compliance with HIPAA, GDPR, and PCI DSS standards.
The tool logs all access to sensitive data and tracks those accounts that have raised alerts. Sensitive documents are encrypted and can only be seen by authorized users. The tool also makes sure that discarded copies and retired documents are completely destroyed, leaving no recoverable versions in memory. All copies are tracked and kept secure even when sent out to remote locations or onto user-owned mobile devices.
The Symantec DLP contains documents with sensitive data by using encryption and it identifies the intended recipients by fingerprinting every copy. This encryption and access identification are paired with movement and copy restrictions. This enables you to block files and data from being attached to emails or transferred over the network or the internet.
The Symantec DLP system is part of its endpoint protection system. This searches for intrusion and malicious software, which could compromise your data privacy. This system includes the monitoring of software that is not authorized by the business but is installed on the same device as sensitive data – a situation that is particularly common in the case of the use of user-owned devices for access to company data.
Teramind DLP will help you to be compliant with GDPR, HIPAA, ISO 27001, and PCI DSS. The tool starts off by searching your entire system for sensitive data. The search follows typical data formats, such as Social Security or credit card numbers. It also uses OCR and natural language processing to scan all documents. It then prioritizes those that contain personally identifiable information, personal financial information, and personal health information. Scans to spot new instances of these data categories continue during the software’s service life.
The package includes templates for data security policies that will help you set your DLP strategy. This tool has two focuses: insider threats and data security. The user tracking functions cover activities on websites, applications, and on the network. It monitors emails and also includes a keystroke logger for special scrutiny.
Overall system activity is measured to establish a baseline of normal behavior. This is a typical strategy of intrusion detection systems so it will identify external as well as internal threats.
Data protection measures include clipboard monitoring and blocking. A fingerprinting system for files will enable you to trace who leaked a file.
The console for the software includes a Risk Dashboard, which centralizes notifications of all threats and vulnerabilities that require investigation.
Clearswift produces a range of data loss prevention tools under the umbrella brand of Adaptive DLP. The product line is made up of seven packages:
- ARgon for Email: Monitoring of emails for data leaks.
- CIP Management Server and Agent: For endpoint monitoring.
- SECURE ICAP Gateway: Monitors web apps and file transfers.
- SECURE Web Gateway: Covers data access on the web.
- Information Governance: Document access control.
- SECURE Email Gateway: Protection for email servers for external mail.
- SECURE Exchange Gateway: Protection for email servers for internal mail.
The whole suite would replace all of the other security software that you might have because it covers all of the functions that you would usually use anti-malware and firewall systems for. Adaptive DLP protects files from unauthorized copying and keeps ownership traceable through fingerprinting.
The system filters out any malicious code as it tries to enter the network and it spots unauthorized activities both by intruders and malicious insiders.
This is a good option if you are having difficulty working out your DLP strategy. When you install the software, it will present you with a list of 70 policies, which you can activate. Reading through the explanations of each will probably give you some suggestions for data control that you hadn’t even thought of.
Data Loss Prevention is part of a suite of security tools from SecureTrust. The company also produces a SIEM tool, which is a great option for detecting and blocking intruders. These two tools can work together, although SecureTrust states that the DLP utility is efficient at detecting malicious activity by itself.
The security system scans all channels of communication for privacy violations. These include file transfer applications, email, chat apps, file sharing systems, blogs, and social media. The response mechanism of the tool automatically blocks transfers midstream. It will also identify the correspondents at each end of the data transfer. This tool includes reporting and auditing facilities that will help you prove standards compliance.
Check Point is one of the largest cybersecurity providers in the world. This company’s data loss prevention solution includes a great deal of assistance to help you get your data protection strategy in place. This is because the package includes policies, so you just have to check which of those fit with your security standard’s requirements and activate them.
The remediation module of the tool takes a different approach to user activity management to that used by the other utilities in this list. Rather than alerting IT department staff of unwelcome activity and automatically shutting down the user’s account or file access, it issues a warning directly to the user.
The ethos behind this approach is to educate the user community about the rules of data access rather than trying to catch them out when they cross a line that they didn’t know about. The data usage scrutiny of the system extends to emails.
The Data Loss Prevention Software Blade includes reporting and auditing for HIPAA, SOX, and PCI DSS. The tool is available on a 30-day free trial.
The Digital Guardian Endpoint DLP starts its service life by searching through-out your system for sensitive data. The tool logs those locations and tracks all events that occur at them. It is able to communicate with the Windows, Mac OS, and Linux operating systems and its tracking capabilities extend out to cloud resources. This package focuses on endpoint security. Digital Guardian produces a companion tool that hardens networks against data loss events.
The endpoint data protection system can block activities on offline computers as well as monitoring devices over the network. It will automatically block unauthorized user actions, such as the destruction, alteration, copying, or transferring of protected data. This equally prevents both insider and outsider activities.
This system is suitable for the protection of intellectual property as well as personal information. It requires the administrator to defines categories of data and assign specific protection policies to each. Enhancements to the DLP give you the option of adding encryption to data storage and transmissions.
You will notice from the descriptions of the other tools here that corporate data protection strategies are implemented within the DLP tool by rule bases, called “policies.” Code42 has a different system and doesn’t use policies. Despite not operating on policies, the tool does link detected problems with remediation actions.
Code42 works on data files the way a SIEM tool behaves with log files. It monitors data files, backing them up and restoring the original version should any changes be made. It also tracks every access to those data files and blocks any copy or transfer actions.
All actions on files, including those performed by Code42 are recorded, which generates the audit trail that you need for data security standards. The tool includes an analysis utility that uses event information to present exposure of internal misdeeds or intrusion threats.
CA Data Protection controls all of your sensitive data in order to protect it. This process involves three main tasks: locating sensitive data, protecting it, and reporting on unauthorized attempts against it. This straightforward strategy is effective at preventing intruder threats, accidental damage, or internal data theft.
The tool helps you define your protection strategy through pre-written policies. The reach of this system has no boundaries – it will protect data at all of your sites and also cloud storage.
A reporting and auditing module helps you review the success of your security system and confirm compliance with data confidentiality standards.
You receive a license for your entire organization that covers all of your endpoints and sites. This tool will also protect data held on cloud servers. MyDLP will discover all of the sensitive data held by your company, log it, and protect it.
This system focuses on a user permissions service. It lists who can have access to which data and what actions each person is allowed to perform on each bit of data. The data it protects might be trade secrets, development plans, engineering drawings, accounts, or the personal data of employees and customers. It is able to monitor devices running any operating system and the software can be installed on premises or accessed online as a cloud-based service.
Fine-tuning your security
Data loss prevention tools, intrusion prevention systems, system information, event management, endpoint protection, and anti-malware systems are areas of IT security that overlap. When you come to tighten up your system protection, you will find that you don’t need one of each of these because just one will take care of many tasks, including blocking access to the system and protecting data simultaneously.