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Blog Data Protection Planning for a DLP policy
Feb 01 2016

Planning for a DLP policy

Some say, “What you don’t know won’t hurt you.” But CIOs know that couldn’t be further from the truth when it comes to Data Loss Prevention software (DLP).

According to recent research from Netskope 17.9% of all files in enterprise-sanctioned cloud apps constitute a data policy violation – which doesn’t include data in unsanctioned cloud apps that employees use to get their jobs done. When it comes to cloud DLP, we need the help of technology to keep our data compliant and secure while at rest or in transit.

So-called Shadow IT (workers skirting IT policies and sanctioned apps with the goal of being more productive) is a genuine threat to organizations that need to keep corporate IP and sensitive data secure as unsanctioned cloud app usage skyrockets. DLP policies are meant to mitigate the risk of a company’s most insecure end point: the employee. An incomplete or nonexistent DLP policy puts an organization at risk of loss, but also makes it more vulnerable to cyberattacks.

A company’s DLP plan should start with a three-step process:

  1. Find cloud apps that employees are already using. Score the risk associated with each of those apps. Netskope’s discovery technology makes this part easy. It all starts with a Cloud Risk Assessment;
  2. Understand how these cloud apps are being used. How are users accessing and sharing information? What types of information are being stored in sanctioned cloud apps? What types of audit trails are necessary?
  3. Secure your cloud apps with policies that allow usage, but on your terms. Build and enforce granular policies that maximize the productivity of cloud apps, but minimize the risk of losing sensitive data. You can accomplish this with a cloud access security broker like Netskope.

Iron Cove Solutions, a Cloud Services Provider that specializes in small and medium enterprise (SME) deployments, suggests addressing DLP from a top-down approach that begins in the CEO’s office and not the IT room.

Whether you’re all in with the cloud, or just starting to migrate, DLP is going to be a significant issue to tackle. DLP is really about understanding what you want to keep secure, who needs to access it, and who doesn’t. The hard part is discovering what users are already doing across all apps and not just sanctioned ones. That’s why we’ve partnered with Netskope.

While Microsoft Office 365, for example, makes it relatively straightforward to build block/allow DLP within Azure RMS, it’s limited to Office 365, and it’s limited to what you think you need to create a policy around. Using a CASB such as Netskope enables you to not only discover what’s at risk, it helps you create DLP policies that extend to other cloud apps sharing content with Office 365. With Netskope you evolve from blunt block/allow tactics that can generate an annoyingly high volume of false positives, to deploying a more sophisticated, accurate and consistent strategy that takes into account contextual factors that affect risk scoring.

Ultimately, DLP is about mitigating risk. It all starts with a cloud risk assessment and understanding how your employees are using cloud apps. It may be unsettling to learn what’s being shared, but you’ll be relieved to know there’s way to build a DLP policy that satisfies your requirements to stay secure.

Patrick Monahan is CEO of Iron Cove Solutions. Iron Cove Solutions has been providing cloud services since 2005. They deploy affordable cloud services for businesses to enhance IT operations through cloud services and help lower cost, enhance capabilities, streamline process and provide cloud support of those services.