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Data Loss Prevention

By Expert Author: Lauren Ellis

Every day technology provides us with huge advances that can make our lives easier, but threats to data security are becoming more serious by the day as well. Cyber-attacks against individuals and corporations are becoming more common, and the perpetrators of these crimes have become more sophisticated than ever. Data breach incidents exposed over 800 million records in 2013 and these breaches affected many noteworthy enterprises such as Target, AT&T, Facebook, Gmail, YouTube, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Data breaches can occur from insider activities, hacking from outsiders, attacks from malware and point-of-sale incidents such as card skimming activities.

Many Companies Remain Unprepared

Data breaches are an important risk for every business, and they can be caused by the very people that are responsible for the success of a particular enterprise. Human behavior is the driving force behind threats to data security and according to one study; more than 75 percent of companies surveyed were unable to explain the human behavior at the root of threats to data losses. In addition, 61% were unable to deter these threats and 59% could not even detect when a threat existed. Another 61% of respondents felt that they were not even prepared to respond to a threat originating within their own organization.

Internal data threats can result in damages of millions of dollars and a long-term impact on a company’s reputation and branding. Damages to reputation can drive customers away, and once those customers are lost from reputation issues, it can be extremely difficult or impossible to recover them as loyal customers. The best approach is to eliminate these threats altogether through Data Loss Prevention measures rather than to attempt damage control after a breach takes place.

Insider threats result from trust individuals within an organization who take unfair advantage of privileges and authorizations they have to access company data, and misuse those privileges to perpetrate crimes involving the theft and misappropriation of company data. Over the past 10 years, the percentage of insider threats has stayed consistent but the number of threats to data security from insider threats has increased significantly to a yearly figure of $2.9 losses on a global scale.

Solutions Are Available

Data Loss Prevention (DLP) is the solution to insider threats to data security and the market for this industry is predicted to reach $1.7 billion before the end of 2014. This cost includes the protection of databases, applications, networks and endpoint devices, all of which can benefit by DLP solutions. Physical channels, applications and network channels can all be addressed through content-based recognition and comprehensive coverage to address risks to data security. By addressing these risks properly, losses can be mitigated but compliance issues can also be remedied, especially when it comes to concerns over customer privacy. Vendors that are currently leading efforts with respect to data security issues include Trend Micro, Symantec, McAfee, Websense, and RSA.

As noted above, many companies are unable to detect when a data breach occurs. Reported losses in the U.S. totaled $40 billion but that was for losses that were discovered. About 10 percent of employees account for 95 percent of all data loss incidents. This means that most employees are trustworthy but only a select few who are capable of taking advantage of trusted access to sensitive data. The key to prevention is to recognize which employees are most likely to commit this type of fraud however this has become one of the more significant challenges.

A few of the most vulnerable business types when it comes to data losses include real estate, transportation and manufacturing, however no business is completely immune to these threats. Businesses that take the proper Data Loss Prevention measures will be well positioned to prevent these types of incidents and detect incidents that may occur prior to incurring significant costs for damage control.

Author :
Lauren Ellis is a research analyst covering the technology industry’s top trends & topics, focusing on Cloud Security, Cloud Computing, Data Loss Prevention Tools etc.,

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