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Top Three Data Loss Prevention Software

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By: Nihad Hassan

May 4, 2021

In recent years, data breaches have increased significantly due to the rise in the number of organizations entirely reliant on digital systems to run their business operations. Nowadays, most data is created digitally and not stored on paper. Data is considered the most important asset that organizations need to protect to remain in compliance with the various laws and regulations, such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) imposed by the EU and the California Privacy Rights Act (CPRA), to name a few.

According to Statista, in 2020, the number of data breaches in the United States reached 1001; in that year alone, over 155.8 million individuals' records were affected due to data exposure. The cost of a data breach has also risen; IBM Security found the global average total cost of a data breach in 2020 reached $3.86 million.

The ongoing spread of COVID-19 disease has forced organizations to accelerate their digital transformation efforts. As organizations are quickly adopting the remote-work model, a great deal of operations is becoming fully digital. The massive shift to digital processes has made deploying data loss prevention (DLP) software necessary in protecting organizations' sensitive data.

Data loss prevention (DLP) is a collection of tools and processes used to secure digital data and prevent unauthorized parties from accessing it. The purpose of DLP software is to monitor data in use, in motion (network traffic), and at rest (data storage) and prevent intentional or unintentional disclosure or modifications of data by both threat actors and unaware employees.

There are many DLP solutions; some are free, while others are commercial and offer trial versions. After reviewing the advertised features of many tools, commercial solutions are generally preferred due to ease of use, rich functionality, and better product support from the vendor.

Listed below are the top three popular DLP solutions and a brief overview of each one's main features.

Top Three DLP Solutions

SolarWinds Security Event Manager (SEM) SolarWinds SEM is the most popular DLP solution today; it comes with rich features and moderate costs comparable with some commercial DLP solutions. SolarWinds has the following key features:

  1. It monitors the network 24/7 and detects suspicious activities responding automatically to halt an attack.

  2. It comes supplied with hundreds of ready connectors to gather logs from many sources and display them in readable format for the IT team.

  3. It comes equipped with a robust reporting feature to prepare automatic reports for various regulatory compliance entities such as HIPAA, PCI DSS, SOX, and more.

  4. SEM manager allows creating customized rules to increase response to cyberattacks. For example, upon detecting a predefined suspicious activity, SEM can automatically execute a defense measure, such as block IP addresses, change privileges, disable accounts, block USB devices, and terminate the application processes.

  5. SEM comes with a built-in File Integrity Monitoring (FIM) functionality to detect any updates, deletions, permission changes to files/folders, and registry settings.

  6. SEM can enforce USB usage policies by applying specific security rules on managed USB devices and prevent unmanaged USB connections to monitored systems and networks.

Symantec Data Loss Prevention Symantec offers another popular DLP solution. It comes supplied with rich features, including the following:

  1. Provides centric analytics for the IT team to discover suspicious behaviors and identify malicious actors.

  2. Can extend the DLP functionality to include cloud apps. Symantec DLP offers full visibility over cloud data (both at rest and in use) and allows an organization to enforce the same security policies implemented outside cloud to cloud data (e.g., Office 365, G Suite, Box, Dropbox).

  3. Responds automatically to any data leakage attempt based on predefined patterns set by the user.

  4. Identifies sensitive data types using predefined templates and a rich library of data identifiers.

  5. Helps an organization achieve data compliance with various data regulations such as GDPR, PCI DSS, HIPAA, and SOX by implementing strict monitoring of data.

Digital Guardian Endpoint DLP Digital Guardian is an Endpoint Data Loss Prevention software that runs on all major operating systems such as Windows, Linux, and Mac. The DG agent is installed on the endpoint device then captures and records events about the system, data, and user when connected to the organization's network or offline (outside the organization).

The security controls can be set based on user risk level, device type, or other factors. DG comes with many features, such as:

  1. Monitors data at endpoint devices, both structured and unstructured data.

  2. Restricts data transfer using different criteria such as file size and type. It also prevents moving files to external devices and media such as USB and CD/DVD drives based on device type, model, or serial number.

  3. Enforces encryption standards and other access controls on unauthorized USB devices connected to the organization's network.

  4. DG classifies data based on user rules and protects data according to its sensitivity.

Summary

As digital transformation accelerates rapidly across all industries, the need for data loss prevention (DLP) solutions to protect sensitive data increases steadily. This article briefly described the key features of the three most popular DLP solutions.

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