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Updated: Oct 25, 2023   |   Lauren Koppelman

Achieving Compliance vs Value through DLP Solutions

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Can DLP Solutions Provide Compliance within a Reasonable Timeline


Resources get wasted with “Tick the Box” solutions 

As demand from customers for better supply chain security grows, so too does pressure on organizations to provide evidence of their security initiatives. This includes data loss prevention (DLP) programs to protect sensitive customer and consumer information. Too often, organizations consider deploying DLP as an easy path to compliance. 

Until they try traditional DLP and learn… 

Traditional DLP Often Complicates Securing Data 

It is simple to license a DLP solution but far more difficult to deploy one successfully. The problem comes from the approach taken by legacy DLP vendors. They designed their solutions for a world when all data existed within the corporate network and applications ran locally. This leads to several deployment challenges: 

  • Legacy Solutions Require Pre-classification of Data 

    Before data protection can occur all the sensitive data in an organization must be identified and classified. This delays data protection for months (or years) while the solution scans network shares and endpoints. It is often further extended as new types of data are identified, requiring the classification exercise to be repeated. As this process drags on, security teams may resort to running DLP in monitor mode. This allows users (and attackers) to do whatever they want with data, hoping the SOC can respond quickly when exfiltration begins

  • Legacy Solutions Require Granular Rules

    Once data is pre-classified, legacy DLP providers focus their efforts on rules dictating which users can take which actions with each class of data. As each new set of users or class of data is identified, rules must be added or modified. False positives are common and result in alert fatigue in the SOC and impede legitimate workflow. Users respond by seeking alternative methods of obtaining or sharing information and unauthorized workarounds become the norm. Once again, the result is often to simply deploy the DLP solution as a forensic tool in monitor mode.  

  • Creating a Baseline of “Normal” Behavior Takes Months 

    Legacy DLP solutions attempt to identify singular incidents of “anomalous” behavior. This requires a system to “learn” the behavior patterns of each group of users to create a baseline of typical activities. When administrators create a new group or class of data, the learning must begin anew. In many organizations it can take months to create this baseline, during which time to value is delayed and data remains at risk. 

Machine Learning on the Endpoint Provides Compliance with Speed to Value 

Data loss is an immediate problem deserving of an immediate solution. For organizations deploying DLP, speed to value is paramount. Moving intelligence to the endpoint solves the speed to value problem. This means data protection without the time sink of pre-classification and the ongoing overhead of granular rule management. 

  • Classification When Users Access Data

    Attempting to pre-classify data presents organizations with a monumental task that never ends. The solution to this is simple: classify data as it is used. Data is most at risk when users move it via emails, text messages, uploads, downloads, images,  printing and any movement to cloud storage or using cloud apps. Machine learning on each endpoint allows organizations to classify data at the point of risk and eliminates the primary delay in gaining value from a DLP solution. 

  • Policy-free Protection 

    Legacy DLP solutions rely on centralized machine learning. These solutions require months of training to baseline behavior and communication with the intelligence engine to identify risks. By moving machine learning to each endpoint, teams can solve two problems simultaneously. First, by baselining each individual user separately, useful models are created in days instead of months, accelerating speed to value. Second, machine learning on the endpoint can identify data at risk without granular policies or communicating back to the cloud. This allows the solution to identify and address risky actions on or off the corporate network. 

  • Enlisting End-User Assistance at the Moment of Risk 

    While every user presents risk, not all users are threats. Machine learning on each endpoint can identify actions that could put data at risk and warn users before the action is allowed (or blocked). It can prompt users to review corporate security policies and provide security awareness training on specific use cases at the time the behavior occurs. This ensures the user knows the right process to follow in the moment and in the future.

Today’s Threat Space Requires Today’s Technology 

Legacy DLP were designed for a threat space different from today’s. Instead of a walled garden corporate network with gold images, today’s environment is working and sharing information from anywhere, Bring Your Own Device, and Cloud application dominant. This requires a solution designed for the modern technology stack, user, and threat space. Machine learning on the endpoint provides protection without delays inherent to legacy solutions. 


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