Email data loss prevention

Guide to data loss prevention (DLP) solutions

by Egress
Published on 21st Dec 2021

Data loss prevention (DLP) solutions prevent sensitive information from being accidentally lost or deliberately exfiltrated. Whether it’s alerting a rushing employee to a mistyped email address or blocking a disgruntled ex-colleague trying to exfiltrate sensitive data to a personal account – DLP is a vital safety net. 

Why use a data loss prevention solution? 

It's essential to have a comprehensive system for data loss prevention so that you can prevent data breaches and avoid the reputational and financial impact that comes with them. Regardless of your current tools, there are three main objectives or purposes for implementing DLP solutions. 

The first is to protect personally identifiable information (PII) of employees, customers, contractors, and vendors either independently or as part of information-security compliance regulation. Next is to protect an organization's intellectual property, trade secrets, or information that can give it a competitive advantage. Lastly, it provides an organization with complete visibility regarding where data moves, is stored, and who has access to it. 

The main objectives of data loss prevention are to:

  1. Protect personally identifiable information (PII) under an organization's control, much of which for compliance reasons.
  2. Protect an organization's intellectual property and trade secrets.
  3. To give an organization and their IT management department visibility on where data is stored, moved and who has access to it.  

When implementing data loss prevention controls, businesses typically do so by following three strategic steps based on the objectives outlined above. 

The steps to successful data loss prevention controls    

  1. Determine your data loss prevention solution's objective (based on one of the three listed) and which specific data systems you consider critical assets to your business. 
  2. Establish a cybersecurity budget specifically for DLP solutions and assign in-house or outside consultants to help implement these controls. 
  3. Outline a plan where you'll review various DLP software providers that can assist with one or all of the three types of DLP controls. There should be some level of criteria established that considers the pricing and functionality of the software products. Once you've reviewed some products compatible with your needs, you can start the rollout. 

Types of data loss prevention solutions 

Many data loss prevention solutions are available as software tools that help enforce data encryption and notify system administrators of possible breaches, leaks, or malicious data sharing. DLP software also allows organizations to catalog their data systems and monitor data both at rest and in transit as it moves throughout and between a company network, user (employee) endpoint devices, and a cloud environment. 

With that in mind, here are three primary types of data loss prevention solutions an organization should consider depending on their IT assets and infrastructure setup: 

Network data loss prevention

Network DLP solutions focus on keeping sensitive data within the organization's on-premise network perimeter. It can include things like tracking data as it moves throughout the network, enforcing encryption of network data in transit or at rest, notifying system administrators of potential network anomalies, and even blocking data trying to be sent outside of the network, such as if someone sends an email with sensitive information that they should not.      

Endpoint device data loss prevention 

Endpoint DLP controls strictly handle data security on individual devices, where the DLP software would be installed. With this solution, you can monitor data at rest or that transfers from device to device and ensure sensitive data remains encrypted. There are also no limitations to where the device is located or how it's connected to the organization's resources (on-premise, cloud, VPN, RDP, and more). 

Cloud data loss prevention 

Cloud DLP solutions track and protect data found and moved throughout cloud-based accounts. That means the data is accessible through the internet, so it doesn't matter what device a person is using or whether they're on the company's network; they'll be able to access their resources and keep their data secure as long as they have their cloud application credentials. 

Importance of email data loss prevention

Because so much of an organization's data is in transit and exchanged through email, it's imperative to implement data loss prevention solutions within email systems. Egress Prevent’s real-time notifications point out mistakes to users if they’re about to occur. Its use of machine learning catches context-driven mistakes. This means Prevent can stop employees from attaching the wrong files, entering incorrect email addresses, or using cc instead of Bcc.

Email DLP tools also let you block the email from being sent altogether if something is detected. Administrators can also monitor analytics to see if staff interact with this solution, if they ignore the advice they receive, or if they need to increase security training.  You can find more information about email data loss prevention solutions in our cybersecurity resource hub on email DLP tools and loss prevention.   


What are the three main types of data loss prevention?

The three types of DLP solutions are network, endpoint, and cloud. 

  1. Network DLP: tracks and protects data found and transferred throughout an organization's network. 
  2. Endpoint DLP: specifically installed on each organization's devices to manage data as it moves or is at rest regardless of how they are connected (corporate network or through the internet). 
  3. Cloud DLP: protects data stored and transmitted on cloud-based accounts accessed through the internet.