Best Ways to Prevent Data Loss

By Megha Patel

June 11, 2021

Personal data is constantly becoming more easily accessible and thus more susceptible to cybercrimes like data breaches. Personal data can include social security numbers, credit card information, as well as past and current addresses. Not only can data losses cause extreme privacy issues for individuals, but also massive financial and reputational complications for businesses.

Data Breaches

According to Varonis, a pioneer software company in data security, 53% of companies found over 1,000 sensitive files exposed to all employees. Furthermore, 17% of all sensitive files were accessible to every employee – significant data is easily accessible and constantly at risk. Well known organizations like eBay (2014), LinkedIn (2012), and Yahoo (2013-2014) experienced serious financial damage due to data losses.

The New York Times reported in 2013 one of the largest data breaches recorded with Adobe. This company encountered significant data loss in which unauthorized parties gained access to credit card information and other personal data from more than 2.9 million users. The hackers additionally took copies of the code for Adobe’s most popular products– a code that runs on personal computers worldwide. In this scenario, the widespread use of a product unfortunately attracted many attackers, and without proper protective measures, this company encountered huge setbacks. More recently in 2019, Australian graphic design tool website Canva faced a major data breach in which hackers viewed users’ personal data including addresses, identification, location, and hashed and salted passwords. This infringement of privacy rights involved more than 137 million user accounts.

To protect consumers, organizations, and other third parties involved with any sensitive data, organizations must require Data Loss Prevention (DLP) practices. Never have we faced more cybercrime and data losses. Through DLP, proactivity is the best way to avoid leakages and ensure the protection and encryption of sensitive information.

What is Data Loss Prevention?

Data loss prevention (DLP) is a strategy that detects potential data breaches and prevents them by addressing and protecting private information from unauthorized access, destruction, sharing, or theft. The main goal of DLP is to reduce compliance risks, protect customer data, and intercept future data breaches.

DLP tools are implemented at endpoints (data on laptops, desktops, iPads), through network traffic points (movement of data in streams), at rest (in storage structures), and on the cloud (google drive or personal email providers).

How DLP Works

In simpler terms, DLP uses pattern recognition and fingerprinting methods to identify and attack any unauthorized access to sensitive information. Through contextualization, DLP software identifies if certain data matches patterns or expressions of confidential, sensitive information. This program then classifies violations defined by the policy pack of a certain organization, following through with an alert as well as other protective actions to mitigate further leakage. One of the most common patterns detected by DLP is Personal Identifiable Information (PII), such as social security numbers (SSN). This pattern recognition programming utilizes regex patterns, which are sequences of characters that specify search patterns. Fingerprinting maps data to shorter text strings that are unique for corresponding data and files. Algorithms make this possible in the cases of tax documents and HIPAA.

DLP strives to fight off malicious attacks, such as exposing and deleting private information, from unauthorized programs, bots, or individuals. Companies can utilize DLP by setting data priorities, categorizing data, identifying high risk data, and deploying an effective DLP program. Some popular DLP products include the following: Symantec, Checkpoint, Digital Guardian, and Code42.

Best Prevention Practices


Respect Customer Privacy

First and foremost businesses are about compliance and trust between the organization and the users. For long-term profit, companies must provide the best security practices possible to give comfort to their users. This mindset will help increase protection and future profits.

Start Small and Simple

Trying to turn on every single policy can overload the system with massive incidents, ironically defeating the purpose of this tool. Implement a layered approach after identifying, prioritizing the most critical data. It might help to focus on specific data types and have a primary focus for identifying (thus better controlling) sensitive data.

Maintain Solid Support and Refine Responsibilities

Many companies have DLP tools, but barely have workers implement their algorithms. Organizations need an active team to monitor personal data in order to proactively sustain or better their finances and reputation. Awareness and active effort for cybersecurity will increase long-term success.

Limit Data Access

Businesses should apply proper access management controls that only allow authorized people access. This is an approach that is more mindful of sensitive data.

Publish Policies

Communicate clear data protection processes; to prevent data loss, companies should emphasize security awareness and education.

Data Visibility and Transparency (When Needed)

DLP has the potential to monitor data on networks, endpoints, cloud, and at rest. Visibility allows companies to monitor and learn how individuals interact with the data. Transparency can help avoid conflicts and misinformation while also increasing unity and protection.

Password Protection

To protect users’ PII, businesses can implement an anonymous login like humanID. Various cybercrime tactics bypass passwords. To face this common breach, humanID uses a single click, non-reversible identifier for all of the user’s applications. humanID neither stores nor shares any private information by hashing the user’s phone number, the original identifier. This efficient and secure password alternative can help companies reduce their vulnerability to cyberattacks.

To prevent the reputational, financial, and personal losses associated with data breaches, businesses must prioritize and actively implement DLP tools and other protection measures, like humanID. humanID provides a passwordless, anonymous login for companies. This protects the privacy of users and prevents significant data loss through proper authentication. To ensure the best internet experience, we must prioritize privacy and security by not only increasing awareness of these breaches, but also implementing solutions that are proactive, addressing future attacks.