Gartner®: Application Security Guide for Software Engineering Leaders
Data Loss Prevention

Table of content

What is DLP?

What does DLP stand for?

DLP or Data Loss Prevention is a set of security techniques to identify, control and protect information in order to prevent data leaks and data loss. DLP tools are monitoring, detecting, and blocking sensitive data while in use (endpoint actions), in motion (think network traffic), and at rest (like during storage).


What’s a data breach vs data leak vs data loss?

Data leak and data loss are often used interchangeably but refer to slightly different incidents.

  • A Data loss occurs when the company loses access to data.
  • A Data leak occurs when initially unauthorized users gain access to data.
  • A Data breach occurs when initially unauthorized users gain access to data using an attack.

Usually, Data Loss Prevention software aims at reducing the risk of all of the above.

2021 has unfortunately been a very prolific year for data leaks and data breaches. This year alone, our developer advocate dived deep into the Twitch leak, the Codecov supply chain breach, the Indian government breach, and the United Nations data breach.


What is the best DLP software?

In 2017, the leaders of Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Data Loss Prevention software were Symantec, Digital Guardian, Forcepoint, and Intel Security. But additionally, to this view of the market, there are many sub-types of software and products that can prevent data loss, for example:

  • Network traffic analysis detects sensitive data that is being sent in violation of information security policies
  • Endpoint-based solutions run on end-user workstations or servers to control the information flow between groups of users
  • Data identification categorizes confidential or sensitive data
  • Access control and data encryption offers protection for databases that contain sensitive data
  • Prevent API keys or credentials from leaking


How much does DLP cost?

On the one hand, in their 2020 “Cost of a Data Breach Report 2020”, the Ponemon Institute estimates that the average cost of a Data Breach in the US is $9.05M. That’s why organizations take security threats very seriously.

On the other hand, Software pricing can vary significantly depending on whether the product is on-premise or cloud-based, according to TrustRadius. Cloud DLP software pricing can range from $5/seat/month to $50+/seat/month.


What are DLP best practices?

Data Loss Prevention is not only a matter of tools. It also directly impacts people in the company and its internal policies. A good DLP implementation usually contains these 3 steps:

  • You can’t protect what you don’t know. So start by inventorizing and classifying your data: is your data structured or unstructured? Do you manage financial data, personally identifiable information (PII), or protected health information (PHI)? Where in your systems lies this data?
  • In case of an alert, you need to have a clear remediation plan in place. What are the policies to handle the data? Who does what? For example, DLP solutions commonly automatically block emails to external domains containing sensitive information.
  • Finally, you need to train all company users. Unintended actions are more common than malicious intent. So employee awareness and acceptance of security policies are critical to the DLP success.

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