Data is one of an organizations’ most valuable assets, and confidential data must always be protected. Unfortunately, data is also a “slippery” asset – meaning, it ends up in places it shouldn’t be. Criminals pursue it, employees mishandle it, or data “leaks” beyond your enterprise through some other means.

To mitigate this risk, organizations turn to data leak detection software as a tool to protect their data. In this article we will discuss what data leakage detection software does, how to prevent data leakage, and the benefits that data leakage detection software can bring.

What Is Data Leakage Detection Software?

Data leakage detection software identifies and prevents unauthorized access, transmission, or use of sensitive data. It also facilitates mitigation steps to address those risks.

The software monitors network traffic and log files. It employs various techniques such as signature-based detection, partial document matching, statistical analysis, and machine learning algorithms to identify potential data breaches. When suspicious activities are detected, the software alerts users or administrators, who can take necessary steps to mitigate or remediate the risks.

In short, data leakage detection tools are useful for organizations that handle massive amounts of sensitive information, such financial institutions, healthcare providers, and government agencies.

How to Detect and Prevent Data Leakage

There are several methods to detect and prevent data leakage.

Data leakage detection methods:

  1. Monitoring data access and usage. Keep track of who is accessing data, when, and for what purpose.
  2. Data loss prevention (DLP) tools. These tools are software programs developed to discover and prevent unauthorized data transfer.
  3. Encryption. Encryption can help detect data leakage by alerting security teams to unauthorized access attempts or unusual data activity since the decryption key is required to access the data.
  4. Auditing. Regular auditing of data access logs can help to detect unauthorized access or data breaches and offer insights into potential vulnerabilities that must be handled.

Data leakage prevention methods

  1. Access control. This involves implementing policies and procedures to assure that only authorized personnel can access sensitive data through password protection, two-factor authentication, and role-based access control.
  2. Employee training. Regular training and awareness programs for employees can help prevent accidental or intentional data leakage by educating employees on data handling best practices, how to recognize and report suspicious activity, and the consequences of data breaches.
  3. Data classification. This involves identifying the sensitivity of different data types and applying appropriate security measures to protect them, such as encryption, access controls, and monitoring.
  4. Endpoint protection. Implementing endpoint security solutions such as firewalls, anti-virus, anti-malware, and intrusion detection systems to prevent unauthorized access and data leakage.

See also

How to Upgrade Your Cyber Risk Management Program with NIST

Benefits of Data Leak Detection Software for Companies

Data leak detection software provides companies with five key benefits.

1. Protecting sensitive information

Data leak detection software helps companies protect customer information, intellectual property, financial data, trade secrets, and other sensitive data from cyber threats like phishing, malware, ransomware, account takeover, and the like. By identifying potential breaches and vulnerabilities, companies can take immediate action to prevent data theft.

2. Compliance with regulations

Financial data, personally identifiable information, and personal health data are protected by laws and regulations; companies must keep this information safe or risk painfully expensive regulatory enforcement actions. Since data leak detection software helps you keep track of where that data is, it also helps you avoid those compliance violations and their attendant costs.

3. Avoiding financial losses

Data breaches can lead to significant financial losses for companies, including loss of revenue, legal fees, and damage to reputation. In addition to direct financial costs, data breaches can also result in indirect costs, such as losing customer trust and loyalty.

By detecting and addressing potential breaches early on, companies can mitigate these risks and avoid costly consequences. Data leak detection software can help companies quickly identify and respond to data breaches, minimizing the harm of the incident and reducing the overall cost of the breach.

4. Improving cybersecurity posture

Data leak detection software gives companies real-time visibility into their networks and helps them identify vulnerabilities that hackers may exploit. By addressing these vulnerabilities, companies can reduce their attack surface, improve their overall cybersecurity posture, and reduce the risk of future data breaches.

5. Enhanced productivity

One additional benefit of data leak detection software is the ability to mitigate the risk of human error – a common source of data leaks. By implementing data leak detection software, companies can detect and address potential breaches caused by human error before they become significant issues.

Data leak detection software can also help to reduce false positives and false negatives. This allows companies to focus their resources on improving the overall effectiveness of their cybersecurity efforts rather than chasing down false alarms that turn out to be nothing. Result: productivity increases, as employees spend less time wasting time.

Keep Your Data Secure with the ZenGRC

ZenGRC is a comprehensive solution that empowers businesses to assess and manage digital risks effectively. By understanding these risks, businesses can take steps to mitigate them and prevent data breaches.

Our solution helps you identify and manage risks related to your IT and cybersecurity. By giving you a clear and real-time view of your risks and compliance obligations that are customized to your business priorities, you can easily understand the risks and communicate them to important stakeholders.

Schedule a demo now to see it in action.

How to Upgrade Your Cyber Risk
Management Program with NIST