5 Ways to Prevent Data Loss Within Your Business

Data loss: something that no business ever wants to experience or endure. Our data is more vital and valuable than ever before — driving creation and innovation, boosting businesses, and connecting a variety of people from all around the world to each other. However, with our data being of such utter importance, the act of Data Loss Prevention (DLP) is crucial now more than ever. It’s imperative that we strive to protect all of our valuable information, and prevent data loss and data theft, wherever and whenever we can.

Data loss can occur in a variety of ways — from accidental removals and hardware failures, to cyberattacks and insider security threats — and the repercussions can be serious, such as having the reputation of your business or brand damaged, encountering financial losses, or even coming across possible legal liabilities. In order to combat and help prevent data loss, it is important that sound and sturdy strategies and technologies are put in place, so as to help prevent it.

Continuing with the recognition of National Cybersecurity Awareness Month this October, we will be looking at what Data Loss Prevention is, why it’s crucial in today’s climate, and how one can carry out effective Data Loss Prevention actions to safeguard valuable information within a business.

What is Data Loss Prevention?

Data Loss Prevention (DLP) is a strategy that individuals and businesses use in order to protect sensitive and confidential information from unauthorised access or sharing across the internet. The main goal of DLP is to guarantee that all data remains within the confines of the business — having confidential data fall into the wrong hands could have serious consequences.

Why is Data Loss Prevention So Important?

Let’s explore this further below:

  1. Following Regulations: Many businesses need to follow strict rules and regulations in regard to the security of classified information and data; going against them can usually result in hefty fines and legal repercussions.

  2. Protecting Intellectual Property: Businesses create and rely on trademarked information and intellectual property relevant to their company; DLP secures this important data from theft and misuse.

  3. Brand Reputation: In the situation of important information becoming exposed, a mass data breach can break down customer trust and damage a brand’s reputation, leading to loss of revenue and customers.

  4. Financial Consequences: When data breaches take place, they can be expensive to rectify, such as organising investigations, lawsuits, and customer and client compensation.

an image showing data loss prevention

How Can Businesses Prevent Data Loss?

Are you after some ideas about what to do next? Here are 5 Ways to Prevent Data Loss Within Your Business:

  1. Access Control and Permissions, Data Classification, and Labelling: Restrict access to sensitive data by making use of access control and permissions, data classification, and labelling. Introduce and apply a data classification — or data organisation — system throughout your company, in order to clearly label and categorise data based on its sensitivity level. Only certain individuals should have access to specific types of data; by doing this, you can carefully control who sees what within the business, greatly helping in establishing and focusing on the protection of the most critical and confidential data. Access control and permissions should be frequently analysed, reviewed, and audited to ensure everything still remains in order.
  2. Regular Security Audits: Make sure that your business is conducting regular and in-depth security audits and vulnerability assessments, in order to identify any potential weaknesses within the business, and then address these weaknesses promptly.

  3. Encryption: Use encryption to protect important data both in motion — data being sent at that current moment in time, between a source and its final destination — and at rest on the business’ files. This guarantees that even if unauthorised individuals manage to gain access to any of the company’s data, they won’t be able to read or use the information without having access to the encryption keys.

  4. DLP Software Solutions and Endpoint Security: Invest in and make use of DLP software solutions, which have the ability to detect, discover, and prevent unauthorised data transfers or potential data leaks. By making use of this next generation smart antivirus software — such as Endpoint, Detection and Response (EDR) for endpoint security — you have the ability to set rules and policies, in order to alert managers and directors when certain actions — such as viewing data, duplicating data to external devices, or sending data via email — are attempted.

  5. Employee Training and Awareness: Educate employees within your company or business about the sheer importance of data security and responsible data handling, and provide helpful training on how to deliver and use best practices in their daily working lives. Within this training, also make sure that your employees become aware of any potential risks and consequences of mass data breaches.

Additional measures that you can take within your business can include regular data backups, uploading data to the Cloud, and using secure and reliable external hard drives.

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