What is data loss prevention (DLP)?

Data loss prevention (DLP) is a set of policies and technologies designed to prevent sensitive or confidential information from being lost, stolen, or exposed. It is a crucial component of information security and involves the monitoring and protection of data in both storage and transit.

DLP technologies use a variety of techniques to identify and protect sensitive data, including content inspection, contextual analysis, and behavioral analysis. Content inspection involves examining the content of files, messages, and other data to identify sensitive information, such as social security numbers, credit card numbers, or other personally identifiable information (PII). Contextual analysis involves analyzing the context in which data is being used to determine whether it is sensitive or confidential. Behavioral analysis involves monitoring user behavior to identify patterns or activities that may indicate a potential data breach.

DLP technologies are typically used to enforce policies that specify how data should be handled, stored, and transmitted. For example, DLP policies may prevent users from sending emails containing sensitive data to unauthorized recipients, prevent users from copying sensitive data to external devices or cloud services, or prevent users from accessing sensitive data from unapproved locations or devices.

DLP is important for protecting sensitive information from both internal and external threats, including accidental leaks, malicious insiders, and external attackers. It is also important for compliance with data protection regulations, such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), which require organizations to protect sensitive data and notify individuals in the event of a data breach.