Data loss prevention: a deep dive 

October 18, 2022
Mark Stone
5 min read

Data is one of an organization’s most valuable assets. 

But the definition of data is quite broad. A few examples of data are documents, emails, spreadsheets, customer records, databases, graphics, or presentations. Data lives everywhere: on a workstation, server, in the cloud, on paper, on a USB stick, in a warehouse, or on our smartphones. Data could be structured or unstructured. 

Every day, especially with skyrocketing adoption of the cloud, organizations are collecting massive amounts of data. And as our data needs continue to multiply, data loss is inevitable. 

Enterprises manage millions of documents and dozens of databases. Many contain personally identifiable information (PII) and other sensitive data that’s hard to find and protect.

The data loss challenge

While hardware and software failures still represent a prominent cause of data loss, unintentional loss due to threats, hacking, malware, ransomware incidents are rising. Another crucial factor in data loss that cannot be overlooked is how data is shared.

When data is compromised, business suffers. Customer trust can crumble, hundreds or thousands of work hours can be lost, and business operations may need to be shut down while data is restored. 

The facts are unmistakable: the costs of a data breach are high. According to the 2022 IBM and Ponemon Cost of a Data Breach report, the average cost of a breach is US$4.35M, and PII records cost enterprises 164 dollars per record. According to the report, the cost of breaches for organizations that deployed security AI and automation was over $3 million less than those without a security AI and automation tool. This significant difference (65%) made up the highest cost of breach savings in the entire study.

Having sound data protection practices is critical to your business. The numbers above don’t lie: organizations that deploy plans and tools to protect their data are significantly less vulnerable to data recovery struggles. By taking steps toward prevention, your proactive business can spend more time running your business and less time dealing with the repercussions of lost or compromised data.

Plus, organizations that collect data – from customers and patients to employees and website visitors – have new mandates for data transparency and protection, regardless of when it was collected or how it’s being used.

Unfortunately, few organizations are ready to meet these mandates. Even fewer have the ability to manage ongoing privacy data risks. 

The problem? PII is everywhere, from the databases that power your business to the millions of documents your employees use daily. Successful compliance and risk mitigation starts with knowing what you have.

What is Data Loss Prevention? 

The term Data Loss Prevention (DLP) was coined to describe the tools created for the purposes of preventing data loss. DLP tools are designed to monitor and protect data as it moves through an organization. They can be used to monitor for the unauthorized transfer of data, to prevent data from being copied or downloaded without permission, and to encrypt data so that it cannot be read if it falls into the wrong hands. 

Typically, data loss prevention tools are deployed to protect sensitive and confidential information.

One example of a DLP tool in action would be if an employee forwards a confidential business email outside the corporate domain or perhaps uploads a file containing sensitive data to a non-corporate cloud storage service like Dropbox. With a DLP deployed, these actions would be denied.

To summarize, organizations use DLP to:

  • Protect Personally Identifiable Information (PII) and comply with relevant regulations
  • Protect Intellectual Property critical for the organization
  • Achieve data visibility in large organizations
  • Secure mobile workforce and enforce security in Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) environments
  • Secure data on remote cloud systems

Why do you need data loss prevention tools? 

Data loss prevention tools help prevent devastating losses. 

Here are a few reasons why your organization should consider a DLP tool:

1. Data loss costs go beyond the financial

Whether it’s the cost of replacing lost data or damaging your reputation, data loss may even jeopardize your business. Even if you aren’t directly affected by a data loss incident, if your customers lose confidence in your service or product because of a data breach, they may abandon you for a competitor. Data loss prevention tools can help you avoid these costly consequences.

2. Data loss can be disruptive

Losing important data can disrupt your operations and cause a major inconvenience for your customers. It can also waste your time and resources as you try to recover lost data or reconstruct records. 

3. Data loss can be dangerous

In some cases, losing data can put your customers’ privacy at risk. Data loss prevention tools can play a critical role in keeping sensitive customer information safe from unauthorized access.

4. Data loss can be embarrassing 

Losing data can make you look bad because it can demonstrate carelessness or irresponsibility and make you look like an easy target for hackers. 

5. Data loss can impact employees

If an employee is found directly responsible for data loss and the company suffers because of it, they could lose their job. 

How do DLP tools work? 

Data loss prevention tools are designed to stop sensitive data from being leaked outside an organization. They work by identifying, monitoring, and blocking the unauthorized use of data.

Most DLP tools work by firstly identifying what constitutes sensitive data. This can be done through looking at the content, or by examining metadata associated with data. Once this information has been identified, the DLP tool monitors activity on the network for any attempts to transfer the data outside the organization. If such an attempt is detected, the DLP tool will block it and notify the administrator.

How does Concentric help with DLP?

For all your sensitive data and PII, regardless of where it is stored, Concentric will:

  • Find it 
  • Identify scenarios where data is at risk 
  • Remediate these issues to protect you from data loss

We connect to on-premises unstructured data storage, structured databases and cloud repositories as well as messaging and email applications.

The Concentric Semantic Intelligence solution uses sophisticated machine learning technologies to autonomously scan and categorize data —  from financial data to PII/PHI/PCI to intellectual property to business confidential information. The MIND™ deep learning-as-a-service capability means you will always have the latest AI models for fast, accurate discovery and categorization.

Our Risk Distance analysis engine comprehensively identifies data that may be at risk from inappropriate classification, permissions, entitlements and sharing —  including link sharing, sharing with third parties, personal email addresses, or risky sharing within your company.

Our Semantic Intelligence solution uses deep learning to scan and understand all your regulated data, wherever it’s stored. Plus, our patent pending Risk Distance analysis autonomously identifies PII, learns how it’s used, and determines whether it’s at risk. 

Contact us today to see firsthand with your own data how Concentric’s solution can quickly and easily be deployed to prevent data loss in your organization. 


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