Many people have heard of email data loss prevention but don’t know what it is. Also known as DLP, it is a method of cybersecurity protection that many organizations implement. If you’re unfamiliar with this concept, don’t worry. Read on to learn more about DLP to know whether or not you need it.
What Is It?
At its most basic form, email DLP stops people from sending sensitive information and data via emails. For instance, it is often used to protect trade secrets, intellectual property, credit card numbers, passwords, and bank account numbers.
Many businesses and organizations have also begun using DLP. These places use email to communicate frequently, making it easy for an employee or volunteer to accidentally or purposefully send sensitive content via email. Fortunately, DLP can help reduce the chances of human error in emails. It can also help businesses meet their federal security compliances.
How Does It Work?
DLP works by anticipating human errors. Basic systems have a set of rules that trigger an action. First, they scan emails and attachments, searching for keywords and patterns that might reveal sensitive information. Based on what the system finds, it can either encrypt the email or prevent it from sending depending on how sensitive the data is.
Intelligent DLP systems can also incorporate human contexts, such as the sender, the recipient, and patterns between these people. Going beyond the keywords can allow emails to be sent beyond an organization’s servers and offer protection. Without a DLP system, sending an email could have serious consequences.
Does It Have Benefits?
The most significant benefit of DLP is that it minimizes the risk of sending emails and protects organizations’ sensitive information. The most basic forms keep this information from leaving an organization’s servers. They can also prevent unethical practices from occurring within an organization by analyzing internal emails. For example, it may block specific attachments from accidentally being sent to someone who isn’t allowed access. More advanced ones incorporate machine learning to offer additional protection and allow communication with people outside the servers.
Another significant benefit of having a DLP system is that you can meet federal security regulations to help you earn and maintain contracts with the government. It also shows that you can protect your customers’ privacy, so they are more likely to stay loyal. Plus, it offers you extra protection if you are sued for losing someone’s personal information. You won’t have to pay non-compliance fines and all the costs associated with lawsuits.
What Are Its Limitations?
These systems do have limitations. They work because a word, number sequence, or phrase sets off an action. The action is set to either encrypt the email or not send it. This action chain and the trigger that sets it can be a limitation for a system. Based on the content of the email, something will either be sent unencrypted, encrypted or not sent at all. However, it doesn’t consider the sender’s intentions. A lack of human context can result in a lack of protection.
The systems are excellent for protecting things like intellectual property and blocking incoming phishing and ransom or malware. However, a business must implement intelligent DLP systems to offer total protection and meet government security standards. Those are adaptive to human behavior and can help fill in the gaps. These systems go beyond the traditional checklist that basic DLP systems use. They can also predict intent and accidents based on a sender’s patterns.
DLP for your email can help protect your business’s sensitive information. In its most basic form, it scans emails to make sure nothing confidential is being sent. More advanced versions can determine the human context of the situation and provide additional protection. That can offer complete security protection for a business. They can also ensure that a company meets regulatory compliance. While there are a few limitations, it is a worthwhile investment for any business.