What is Data Loss Prevention and Why It Matters
Today, technology makes the world go around. There was once a time when people relied on physical files and file cabinets to secure data. In modern times, the method of filing and storage systems has changed drastically. It’s all stored in a digital space.
First, DAS (direct area storage or direct-attached storage) was popular. It was the go-to data storage method. DAS devices include compact disks, floppy disks, flash drives, hard disk drives, and solid-state drives.
Now, individuals and enterprises heavily rely on cloud storage, cloud-hybrid storage, and backup software to secure data. However, no matter what method is used for storage, there is always the risk of data loss. Fortunately, because of always-growing technology, there are systems in place for data loss prevention.
What Is Data Loss Prevention?
Cyberspace is an infinite world with a broad range of threats. There’s no avoiding using virtual spaces in today’s world, as so many systems that are necessary for everyday life are operated digitally. Individuals routinely go online for work or leisure activities and store important information on their devices.
Schools use digital networks to enable students and educators to connect. Businesses also use the many offered digital programs to connect and collaborate. These individuals, institutions, and enterprises have sensitive data stored that they would like to avoid losing.
Data Loss Prevention (DLP) is a security measure implemented to protect information from unauthorized access, destruction, alteration, or theft. The volume of data has been growing drastically, which increases the susceptibility to cyber threats.
The Importance of Data Loss Prevention
Information security is the top priority for anyone or any organization. Data loss prevention is vital because it puts in place elements to protect sensitive information from being accessed, used, modified, or deleted by unapproved entities.
Data loss prevention is essential for corporations to maintain the security of their records and to comply with industry regulations as well as protect the integrity of their entire system and operation. There are many causes of data loss. However, software, such as Microsoft DLP, can be put in place to combat the issue.
Causes of Data Loss
There is intentional and unintentional data loss. A range of factors can cause both, including human error, cyber-attacks, and natural disasters. Factors such as hardware and power failure can also play a role in information loss.
Human error is a root cause of data loss. Naturally, humans can’t avoid making mistakes. Sometimes people instantly realize their errors, and at times they don’t recognize them until much later. In either case, that data is likely gone for good unless a reliable backup system is in place. Instances of human error include:
- Negligent or unintentional data disclosure. Data leaks can result from someone losing sensitive information in public. They can sometimes accidentally give open internet access to information or forget to limit access to others in accordance with organizational policies.
- Failure to back up files. Sometimes people are in a hurry or not paying keen attention and accidentally delete files or move them somewhere else. A network without an adequate backup system is prone to data loss.
- Spills and accidents. Unintentionally damaging hardware by spilling liquid on them is one of the major kinds of human error that causes data loss. It’s easy to make a wrong move and knock over a cup of coffee or water right onto a laptop or another device. If the liquid seeps into the hard drive, it can short-circuit and become inaccessible.
Malware such as ransomware, viruses, spyware, bots, and worms are everywhere. This is probably the most frustrating cause of data loss, as it never goes away. Anti-viruses block these cyber threats. However, they seem to evolve and come back stronger, and new ones are constantly on the rise.
Ransomware has become one of the leading data loss causes recently. It costs corporations a lot of money each year because of downtime. This malware locks businesses out of their data, which brings operations to a halt. Other types of malware are just as dangerous as ransomware, and without the proper prevention loss system to combat them, sensitive information is at risk.
Natural disasters have always been a risk for businesses. Wildfires, hurricanes, tornadoes, and snowstorms are known to trigger data loss through hardware destruction. Flooding and fires are particularly common in business structures worldwide.
These natural occurrences can’t be avoided, and they present a safety risk to people and office buildings. They are also a major risk to information technology structures.
Data is constantly put at risk by the threat of hardware malfunction or damage. This is among the top reasons for data loss, and it happens daily at home and in business places. Hardware can fail, causing data to be lost for good or drives can be completely wiped out by bugs. A few hardware malfunctions that can cause data loss include:
- Physical damage to devices
- Software crashes and errors
- Hard drive crash
- Operating system failure
- System hardware failure
Solutions for Data Loss
Data loss prevention shouldn’t be considered only after tragedy strikes. Methods should be put in place as a precautionary and data loss prevention measure. Solutions to data loss involve protecting data stored on networks, applications, and databases, as well as data in transit between systems.
Measures can also be taken to monitor and control user activity, track user access, and provide detailed audit trails for investigation and compliance purposes. Below are actions that individuals and organizations can take to prevent data loss.
- Back up data.
- Implement firewalls and anti-virus protection.
- Set up a disaster recovery plan.
- Install UPS (uninterruptible power supply).
Robust applications such as Microsoft 365 DLP for enterprises offer features that provide well-rounded protection against data loss. The multi-layered tool provides data leak protection and security from malware. Additionally, it combats some human errors, as it has a feature to search for improperly shared information, which allows swift action to correct mistakes.
In a Nutshell
Individuals and organizations that operate in digital space are prone to data loss. That means that just about everyone and every enterprise is at risk worldwide, as technology is necessary for many daily activities. With the numerous threats to sensitive information, it’s essential to have proper data loss prevention methods in place.