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IronPort Systems details DLP best practice.

IronPort Systems : 07 November, 2007  (Technical Article)
Advice is on hand for implementing best practices for data loss prevention with a report issued by IronPort Systems.
IronPort Systems has launched a new report entitled "Data Loss Prevention Best Practices, Managing Sensitive Data in the Enterprise," outlining best practices to help prevent leaks, enforce compliance, and protect brand value and reputation.
Data Loss Prevention (DLP) is a serious issue for companies; the number of incidents (and associated costs) continues to increase. Whether it's a malicious attempt, or an inadvertent mistake, data loss can diminish a company's brand, reduce shareholder value, and damage the company's goodwill and reputation.

"When it comes to DLP, the heart of the matter is uncontrolled communications," said Tom Gillis, SVP of Marketing at IronPort Systems. "Electronic communications and data in motion is the most significant data loss vector in the enterprise today. Current firewall and other network security solutions do not include data loss prevention capabilities to secure data in motion. Important controls, such as content scanning, blocking of communications containing sensitive data and encryption, are missing. When seeking out a solution to the data loss problem, organisations should keep DLP best practices in mind to help formulate the right solution for their specific requirements."

Whether email, instant messaging, webmail, a form on a website, or file transfer, most electronic communications exiting a company are uncontrolled and unmonitored - with the ever-present danger of confidential information falling into the wrong hands. Across all key protocols, a high-performance, intelligent DLP solution is a must-have for any organisation. Decision-makers should look to vendors with deep expertise in content scanning to select a best-of-breed DLP solution. The DLP report includes the following best practices:.

Best Practice #1: Take Time to Define DLP Needs - The critical first step towards addressing the data loss problem is to develop a comprehensive understanding and inventory of the types of sensitive data that exist within the organisation and what policies are needed to control and enforce how that data can be shared. To do this, organisations need to review the extent to which their company or agency is affected by regulatory compliance, intellectual property protection and appropriate use enforcement.

Best Practice #2: Prioritize the DLP Focus - Data Loss Prevention is a complex problem that requires blending best-of-breed solutions to adequately address the peculiarities of an organisation. Focusing first on the most significant DLP areas - those that represent the greatest potential loss vectors - makes it easier to justify solutions and get started on plugging the leaks.

Best Practice #3: Ensure Effective, Comprehensive Coverage - Overall, a DLP solution must effectively and comprehensively detect attempted policy violations. This includes:.

• Multi-protocol monitoring and prevention.
• Content-level analysis of all major file and attachment types.
• Selective blocking and/or quarantining of messages.
• Automatic enforcement of corporate encryption policies.

Best Practice #4: Make the Solution Unobtrusive - The best DLP solution is non-intrusive. Overcoming the challenges of maintaining effective communications (while ensuring management and control of customer and sensitive information) requires: (i) well thought out policies; and (ii) processes for monitoring communications content. Organisations should select a DLP solution for email and Web applications that can manage ever-increasing message volumes and handle future bandwidth requirements. While this may seem like a daunting endeavour, the good news is that there are solutions, which are optimised for scalability, performance and security.

Best Practice #5: Look for Work Flow, Administration and Reporting - A DLP solution cannot be effective without detailed reports of all suspected violations. Administrators and policy officers should have the ability to receive reports outlining detected violations and providing in-depth information to enable them to take action. These details include: the message sender, contents, attachments, intended recipients and information about the violating content.

Best Practice #6: Combine Best-of-Breed Solutions - The hallmark of best-of-breed solutions is the ability to extend and enhance its effectiveness through integration with other best-of-breed tools. Companies should avoid selecting a DLP solution that inhibits them from integration in the future. As the industry evolves, it will be crucial to have the flexibility and support to take full advantage of future third-party solutions through connectivity and data sharing.
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