As data breaches and data loss become legal concerns companies must contend with the world over, Data Loss Prevention (DLP) solutions have emerged as essential tools in any comprehensive cybersecurity strategy, addressing one of the biggest threats to data security: human error. Supporting data transparency efforts by identifying and monitoring sensitive data, DLP solutions offer policies that can control how and where sensitive data can be transferred and used and by whom.
Choosing the right DLP solution for a business, however, can sometimes be a complicated process as organizations have different needs and budgets based on their size and DLP often falls outside the scope of traditional cybersecurity tools such as antivirus software and firewalls. Dedicated DLP and integrated DLP solutions have emerged as two strategies companies can pursue in their quest to implement DLP tools on their networks.
What is Dedicated DLP?
Dedicated DLP solutions are standalone products specifically built and designed for Data Loss Prevention. They offer comprehensive tools and policies that allow companies to both use predefined profiles for sensitive data and to build their own based on their needs. They offer protection for both data at rest and in motion, content and contextual scanning capabilities, policies based on groups, device control and, in some cases, encryption options. Certain solutions also come with specific policies that can be applied for compliance with specific legislation such as the GDPR or HIPAA.
Given their extensive tools and their focus on compliance and data protection, many companies believe dedicated DLP solutions are the only option worth considering. And, in the case of big organizations, that is certainly true. The bigger the network, the more data it stores and collects which results in a higher financial and reputational risk for the company in case of a data breach. Complex tools are therefore needed to effectively protect the sensitive data being stored and circulating within it.
Dedicated DLP solutions can be problematic for smaller and medium-sized companies that do not need the full arsenal of DLP tools to protect their networks and often invest in dedicated DLP tools only to find that they have not used even half of their capabilities. This is where integrated DLP comes into play.
What is Integrated DLP?
Integrated DLP solutions are an extension of existing security tools that offer a stripped-down version of dedicated DLP solutions that maintain their key functionalities while eliminating the complexities needed for large scale networks. They focus on policies built on regional and industry-specific templates, require no additional software or hardware installation and are easy and quick to deploy. Most notably, they cost considerably less than a dedicated DLP solution and take little time to implement. The risk of integrated DLP is their limited customization options and reduced capabilities.
An integrated DLP approach can also refer not only to a specific add-on of a particular security tool but exploiting existing options within several security solutions to cover the basics of DLP. This means activating a number of security policies across several solutions and managing them without a centralized dashboard which can lead to a lack of cohesion and thus inevitable data protection strategy blind spots if strong security management policies are not put in place.
Towards a Flexible Approach to DLP
While it is true that the biggest dedicated DLP solutions on the market are built with big enterprises in mind which can make them unsuitable for smaller and medium-sized organizations, a new category of DLP tools have been developed with a focus on flexibility and quick implementation and the aim to serve customers of all sizes.
These solutions offer the possibility to mix and match functionalities, allowing organizations to eliminate tools that are superfluous to their needs. In this way, companies can cut costs while still maintaining some of the key capabilities of dedicated DLP such as highly customizable policies, centralized management and separate policies based on groups or departments.
While smaller and medium-sized companies might be tempted to go for the most affordable DLP strategy in hopes of basic protection will be enough to ensure their data’s security, it is worth considering that data breaches are the most dangerous to such organizations. With vulnerable reputations just beginning to develop and limited financial resources, 60% of small businesses fold within 6 months of a data breach.