What Is Cloud DLP?



Learn more about how data loss prevention solutions are evolving to protect sensitive data in the cloud.

A Definition of Cloud DLP

Data loss prevention (DLP) is a process for protecting sensitive data at rest, in-transit, and on endpoints to reduce the likelihood of data theft or unauthorized exposure. DLP solutions aim to prevent sensitive data and confidential information from being stored, used, or transferred insecurely.

Cloud DLP solutions specifically protect organizations that have adopted cloud storage by ensuring sensitive data does not make its way into the cloud without first being encrypted and is only sent to authorized cloud applications. Most cloud DLP solutions remove or alter classified or sensitive data before files are shared to the cloud to ensure that the data is protected when in transit and cloud storage.

Benefits of Cloud DLP

Today, data is put at risk as organizations move to the cloud and employees work from various locations, accessing corporate files from anywhere and at all hours. Employees also collaborate using the cloud, but they may do so using unapproved services and cloud storage apps – otherwise known as “Shadow IT.” That’s why it’s critical for organizations to protect sensitive data not only on their own networks and devices, but in the cloud as well.

Key benefits of leading cloud DLP solutions include:

  • Integrate with cloud storage providers to scan servers, identify, and encrypt sensitive data before the file is shared in the cloud
  • Scan data already stored in the cloud and audit it at any time
  • Accurately discover sensitive data in the cloud
  • Continuously audit uploaded files
  • Automatically apply controls (prompt, block, encrypt) to sensitive data in accordance with enterprise policies
  • Instantly alert appropriate administrators and data owners when data is put at risk
  • Maintain the visibility and control needed to comply with privacy and data protection regulations

Challenges of Cloud Data Protection

Organizations that do not implement a cloud DLP solution essentially leave cloud data protection up to their cloud storage providers. Problems can arise, however, when those providers fail to take security measures commensurate with the organizations’ data protection needs – such as not offering cloud encryption, multi-factor authentication, or strict access controls. What’s more, a compromise at a cloud storage provider can lead to a compromise of an organization’s data if the organization hasn’t taken steps to secure it before it was sent to the cloud.

There are enough challenges associated with cloud storage providers handling cloud data protection that many organizations choose to be proactive with protecting their data in the cloud by implementing a cloud DLP solution to secure their sensitive and confidential information, rather than placing trust in cloud services providers that their DLP and other security measures are adequate for meeting company security requirements and compliance standards.

Choosing Cloud DLP Providers

When selecting a cloud DLP solution, organizations should be sure it offers the following key features:

  • Content- and context-aware monitoring and inspection policies
  • Detailed activity logging and reporting
  • Device-level control
  • Auditing, alerting, prompting, blocking, and removing remediation actions
  • Encryption of sensitive data prior to cloud upload
  • API integration with cloud storage providers to extend data security policy enforcement to the cloud

The reality is that businesses and their employees need to be able to conduct business in the cloud in order to remain productive. However, cloud adoption can also put data at risk of loss or unauthorized access. This risk has led to the need for cloud DLP solutions, because businesses must be assured their sensitive data is being protected while they benefit from the scalability and efficiency of the cloud. Choosing a cloud DLP solution that is offers exceptional data discovery and visibility in the cloud and delivers the protective controls required for safeguarding cloud data is critical.

Nate Lord

ANALYST REPORTS

Gartner 2017 Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Data Loss Prevention (DLP)

Nate Lord

Nate Lord is the former editor of Data Insider.