Data Leakage Prevention (© monsitj / Fotolia.com)
Data Leakage Prevention (© monsitj / Fotolia.com)

In this article, we are going to discuss data leakage. This is a common problem in today's business world, and data is more important than ever. In fact, companies pay lots of money for the right data. But in order to understand how data leakage and prevention fits in with marketing, you have to learn more about the entire process as a whole, including the storage of that data.

What is Data?

So, what is data as it relates to the business world? Data can refer to anything from a company's financial information to private details about their customers. Data is any digital information that the company collects or uses. Some data is meant to be shared while other data is heavily protected.

How Is Data Stored?

Data is normally stored by companies in what is called a data warehouse. A data warehouse is exactly what it sounds like - a warehouse for the storage of all of the date of the company collects. Of course, the company may not need to use all of that data, but they want to have it on hand in case they do need it.

Data is further divided into other storage devices such as databases, local servers, computers or what are called Data Marts. Data Marts are smaller than data warehouses and they are used to contain a certain type of data that a group may need. For example, a Data Mart may contain the company's financial information so that the accounting department will have access to that data when they need it.

What Is Data Leakage?

Information is transferred from the company to an outside party. Data leakage doesn't have to be high tech and digital. Data could be smuggled out simply by memorizing it. Most of the time, data is removed one of two ways. First, on a portable storage device such as a flash drive or SD card, or second, it is sent out over a network or the internet or someone from the outside hacks in and retrieves the data. In any of these cases, the result is data leakage and it can be a big problem for companies that have a lot to protect.

Statistic: Biggest data leaks worldwide as of November 2017 (in GB) | Statista
Find more statistics at Statista

What Is Data Leakage Prevention?

Data leakage prevention, sometimes called Data loss prevention and abbreviated DLP, is the combination of all of the company's efforts to protect their data. There are a number of strategies that can be used to make sure that no data is leaked. Let's go over some of those strategies now.

  • First, companies need to prioritize their data. Not all the data is essential and definitely not all data is equal. You have to know what kind of data is going to cause the most damage if it is leaked and be able to implement most of your strategies and put most of your efforts towards that data.
  • Second you need to categorize your data. In order for you to accomplish step one, you have to have your data categorized to a certain extent anyway. You can classify data by associating it with the source, by the user who created the data or by numerous other things. You also want to classify data by keeping critical data separate. Prioritizing the data is the first step and then finding storage for that prioritized data is your next task.
  • Third, you need to be aware of when data is most at risk. Your people should be able to come up with some guidelines that show you when data is most at risk. Some of these things are quite obvious. For example, if data is sitting on your server is protected by firewalls it is probably a less of a risk then if it is being sent out to Partners, suppliers or being stored on a local machines.
  • You have to be able to monitor data as the fourth step. You should know where your data is going, why it is going there and be aware of all data movement.
  • Finally, make sure that you are communicating the importance of good practices to protect data to your management and employees and develop controls that prevent data from being misused. Give employees actual training in the protection of your data, particularly if you are holding sensitive data that you definitely don't want to get out.

Conclusion

Every company has to deal with data leakage prevention. There has been some pretty serious data leakage problems reported in the news over the last few years. Ashley Madison, the dating site famous for fostering extramarital affairs, is a perfect example of this. Companies need to be aware of how serious the data leakage problem is and make sure that they are taking every precaution to ensure the data stays safe and does not go out into the world where can be misused.



         



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