Shopping for data loss prevention software? Ask these 5 questions before making your decision

Buying a data loss prevention (DLP) software solution can be a significant investment. Before you decide on a specific DLP software, it’s important to know what key protections and functionality to look for so you can ask the right questions.

Some of the biggest challenges companies face with their DLP software include false positives due to improper data classifications and inefficient rule setting. Over-reactionary incident management is often a result of this and carries a heavy resource drain that isn’t sustainable. How can you find a solution that accurately evaluates when sensitive data loss has actually occurred?

The 5 questions to ask data loss prevention software vendors

Some of the most important questions to ask when shopping for a DLP solution are about how the DLP software handles data analysis and data classification. Without an accurate read on the data you’re holding, you won’t be able to accurately assess risk and implement appropriate data loss prevention.
Software can only do what it is programmed to do, and many solutions take an aggressive approach to data loss without clearly relaying the actual risk involved. The result can be costly—time spent on reactionary activities instead of a measured response. Asking the following questions can help you determine whether or not a specific DLP solution is right for your organization’s needs.

#1 How does your DLP software handle data discovery?

The sheer volume of data streaming into your organization from multiple sources and to multiple destinations may make it difficult to track and categorize. You need the ability to segment your data in accordance with risk, and isolate the most sensitive data under rigorous privacy and security protocols.

A software solution that facilitates the process of discovering, classifying and remediating data—wherever it can be found in your organization’s data landscape—will help you correctly safeguard customer data and adhere to compliance regulations, like the CCPA.

Ask your DLP software vendor if their solution is capable of:

  • Searching for data at rest on cloud and email servers, databases, file shares, and endpoints
  • Searching for data in motion on networks in web traffic or over email, or during copying
  • Discovering unmarked or unknown data (for marking, indexing, and retention)
  • Categorizing data correctly (for accurate rules and policy creation, assignment and improved workflows)

#2 How does your DLP software handle monitoring, alerting, and enforcement?

With the expansion of remote work and employees who are using their own devices and networks, there are more potential access points than ever before. Being able to correlate sensitive data and access points can help you find and shut down vulnerabilities in your system.

Monitoring should serve to discover, identify, analyze and log every instance of sensitive data movement or use—regardless of network, application, endpoint, traffic path or data type.

Accurate alerting is vital to identifying emergent risk and enforcing security policies and protocols.

Ask your DLP software vendor if their solution is capable of:

  • Identifying when sensitive data is on the move (traffic or transfer)
  • Evaluating risk of current use (removal, modification, or transmission)
  • Establishing routine scan schedules for violations, based on rules and policies
  • Detecting keywords, regular expressions, hash functions and pattern matching
  • Surfacing unclassified sensitive and adding it to policies
  • Alerting administrators and end-users to take preventive action
  • Enforcing rules to safeguard sensitive content in case of a breach

#3 How does your DLP software solution handle encryption?

Encryption of data can prevent data loss caused by illicit transfer or copying if rules are set to trigger encryption on transmission. Without the correct keys, unauthorized users will be unable to access or utilize the encrypted data.

Key generation, storage and recovery must be tied to strict authentication requirements, which can be configured to ensure higher privacy and security protocols are applied for your organization’s most sensitive data.

Ask your DLP software vendor if their solution is capable of:

  • Implementing a centralized management (for encryption policies, keys, recovery and administration)
  • Flexibility in regard to setting rules (based in document and file types and/or users and groups)
  • Automatically fetch encryption policy changes and updates (without requiring administrator action)
  • Managing all security products (including software and appliances) from a single administration console

#4 How does your DLP software solution handle workflows?

Your DLP solution should provide hierarchical management of rules mapped to your business objectives, and allow powerful rule construction as well as reuse. Your organization needs to be able to support granular application and device control, and investigate incidents from a transparent management console.

Ask your DLP software vendor if their solution is capable of:

  • Defining which applications are trusted or untrusted before granting rights
  • Establishing specific workflows for data remediation
  • Creating individual cases or incident groups for system population
  • Supporting monitoring and management of incident investigations
  • Classifying incidents into the correct user-defined categories

#5 How does your DLP software solution handle reporting, auditing, and compliance?

Your DLP solution should have a user interface that promotes ease of training and intuitive use, preferably with playbooks and wizards that facilitate configuration steps. Interactive flowchart tools can provide a time-efficient layout and visualize even the most complex sensitive data discovery, classification and remediation workflows.

Ask your DLP software vendor if their solution is capable of:

  • Reporting from a centralized logging and management console, with numerous export formats
  • Providing data with immediate visibility into data at rest, data in use, and data in motion violations for auditing purposes
  • Tailoring presentation of data risks, violations, and reporting to deliver the data desired without clutter or confusion
  • Delivering compliance at all required levels to reduce risk of audits, fines, or penalties

Find a DLP software that excels in data discovery, classification and remediation

The cost of weak DLP software can be a significant barrier to implementation. Choosing a solution that focuses on data discovery, classification and remediation can reduce costs by minimizing false alerts and optimizing workflows. This will allow you to allocate resources where they are needed to protect your customers’ most sensitive data.

Secure the sensitive data at your enterprise with Spirion’s Sensitive Data Platform to apply the sensitive data controls and compliance that your organization needs. Get in touch with a Spirion data security and compliance expert or watch our free demo today.