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What is DLP in Cyber Security?

This article explains, what is DLP in Cyber Security, its importance and how it works, and more.


Data loss prevention (DLP) software is a tool used to detect and monitor data that is being shared externally or within an organization. DLP technology for cyber security can also be used to monitor network activity for suspicious behavior, which could indicate data leakage.

Reducing the risk of data breaches is becoming increasingly important as more sensitive information is stored digitally. Every year, companies lose control of sensitive customer information, personal data, and confidential files with alarming frequency.

In this blog post, we’ll dive into details about cyber security Data Loss Prevention (DLP), its use in business, and examples of its implementation in real-world use cases.

What is DLP (Data Loss Prevention) in Cyber Security?

Data loss prevention, abbreviated as DLP, is a computer security system used to monitor and control the flow of data outside an organization. DLP is often deployed in conjunction with a virtual private network (VPN) or another type of encryption to protect data in transit and at rest.

Other definitions of DLP in cyber security include the prevention of data theft by insiders, prevention of unauthorized use of an organization’s data, and compliance with legal and regulatory requirements governing the retention and disposal of data.

Data loss prevention software is designed to identify and flag sensitive information that could be harmful if exposed outside an organization or shared with the wrong people.

Why is DLP Important in Cyber Security?

Data loss prevention software helps reduce the risk of data breaches by monitoring network traffic and flagging unauthorized transfers, such as the transfer of sensitive data to an unauthorized third party.

If a company offers an online service, such as a website, people often send information to the company, including their names, email addresses, and contact details. If an unauthorized person intercepts this information, they might use it to hack into other systems or to steal money.

DLP in cyber security helps prevent this by only allowing authorized people to transfer data to a company’s systems, and then only allowing authorized people to receive the data. For example, an email containing sensitive customer information might not be encrypted.

A hacker might intercept that email and read it. But if the email is encrypted, and only the intended recipient can unlock the data, the hacker won’t be able to read it.

How Does DLP Work in Cyber Security?

DLP software typically looks for patterns and characteristics that indicate sensitive data. After a DLP system flags a file as sensitive, administrators can set rules to control how the file is shared and who can access it.

For example, if a company has a policy that employees can’t share social security numbers with external parties, a DLP system in cyber security might flag an email with a social security number in the body of the email and recommend disciplinary action.

A DLP system can also monitor for sensitive data being sent outside an organization. For example, an employee might send a spreadsheet containing confidential customer data to an external vendor for repairs.

The DLP system might notice that the data being sent is sensitive and flag the email for review by the person who sent the email.

Types of DLP in Cyber Security

There are three main types of DLP in cyber security: network DLP, endpoint DLP, and policy compliance DLP.

  1. Network DLP monitors data transfer over the network. Network DLP can detect when data is being transmitted outside the organization without authorization. Network DLP can also monitor encrypted data and communications between servers. When network DLP detects communication between servers that don’t use encryption, it can report that a security breach has occurred.
  2. Endpoint DLP monitors data stored on computers. When a computer stores sensitive data, such as a file containing a social security number, the endpoint DLP looks at the file and flags it as sensitive.
  3. Policy compliance DLP monitors the use of sensitive data and flags any data that meets a certain rule. For example, a company might set a rule that no one can enter a social security number into a spreadsheet. When someone enters a social security number into a spreadsheet, the policy compliance DLP detects the breach.

Final Words

Data loss prevention software is designed to prevent data leaks. DLP allows organizations to identify data that should be kept confidential, monitor who accesses it, and flag any attempts to send it outside the organization unencrypted. DLP in cyber security works by monitoring network traffic for patterns that indicate sensitive data. DLP can also monitor computer files for sensitive data, such as social security numbers or credit card numbers. Since data breaches are common, businesses should consider investing in DLP software to reduce the risk of data leaks.