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Everything you need to know about Data Loss Prevention (DLP)

What is data loss prevention?

One of the main risks of data security is data loss, which can result from negligence or the actions of a malicious actor. Data loss prevention (DLP) is the group of tools, practices, and processes organisations use to protect confidential data from unauthorised access, misuse, and loss.

Data loss prevention software monitors the environment to detect and identify indicators of compromise and prevent the loss of sensitive data. The software classifies the data, categorising it by criticality to detect violations of pre-set DLP policies as part of the organisation’s security policies pack. This set of rules typically originates from regulatory compliance bodies like HIPAA, PCI-DSS, or GDPR. Once the DLP identifies a violation, the software puts in practice encryption and other remediation actions.

Data loss prevention tools protect data at rest, in motion, and in use. These software tools also generate detailed reports to meet compliance and audit requirements.

What are the types of data loss prevention tools?

DLP tools can be categorised by the area the tool works and protects, or by the way the solution is delivered.

Network DLP

Network DLP secures the perimeter around data in motion on the network. This type of solution tracks and monitors data while in transit in the organisation’s network. Network DLP works well with connected devices, but it doesn’t cover laptops or remote devices connected through the public internet or otherwise away from the network.

Endpoint DLP

Cloud DLP

Enterprise DLP

Integrated DLP

How does DLP work?

Broadly speaking, a DLP tool works in a two-step process:

Step 1: Inspect and identify

The tool reads and understands files, analysing the level of criticality. It uses pattern recognition to analyse the data in motion, decrypting and decompressing it if needed, looking for sensitive information.

Next, it applies rules to look for matches and perform the desired action. For instance, let’s say you want to prevent egression of customers’ credit card numbers but not prevent employees from performing online purchases. The DLP solution can use one of two methods: It can look for exact matches of credit card numbers or block the exfiltration of data from a database. Finally, at this stage, the DLP identifies a typical traffic flow and user behaviour.

Step 2: Protect and alert

Benefits of data loss prevention solutions include:

  • Detection of internal and external threats: Data breaches are sometimes malicious but more often than not, they’re the result of human error or negligence. A well-configured DLP can prevent mistakes from becoming breaches.

  • Prevention of attempts to access data from unauthorised users: DLP solutions monitor and implement how and when users access the data. Unauthorised access attempts are blocked or restricted.

  • Data visibility: DLP tools’ continuous monitoring and analysis identifies new sensitive data as they appear. It also provides visibility on how the data is used, which end users have the highest risk behaviour, and sources of violations to the DLP rules.

Citrix solutions for data security and data loss prevention

Enhancing your data security posture requires a strong DLP strategy—one that prevents internal and external threats that aim to compromise your data integrity. That’s exactly what Citrix Secure Internet Access offers. With natively integrated data loss prevention, this solution inspects incoming and outgoing streams of data for sensitive information. It monitors social security numbers, credit card numbers, encryption keys, and more—and offers granular security controls at the user level based on role, source IP, or user group.


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