What Is DLP?

What Is DLP

What is DLP? DLP stands for data loss prevention. It is a strategy to prevent end users from leaking out sensitive data outside one’s network. Below is a real-world scenario:

John is an office clerk who has been working overtime for many nights now. As days pass by, you noticed some lifestyle changes for John like new clothes and some latest gadgets. You’re wondering how he was able to buy those things?

One time, you noticed that John isn’t reporting for work anymore. You also see some FBI agents recently in your office. You heard that John was selling corporate data to competitors. This scenario would not happen if your company knows what is DLP.

During the course of our discussion, you will learn what is DLP and where you need it. You will also know some endpoint DLP solutions.

What Is DLP And Where Do You Need It?

The application DLP depends on your organization's needs. What is DLP in the healthcare industry? DLP means the prevention of patient data from leaking out. Keeping patient information as private is a good practice. But some organizations like insurance companies need access to this data. Your DLP solution should be to restrict access to patient data to only people that need it.

What is DLP in the corporate network? DLP prevents your company’s sensitive information, like trade secrets from leaking out. You don’t want the public to know about your next killer application, do you?

What is DLP for the average Joe? DLP prevents the leaking out of your personal identifiable information or PII. This includes your social security number, email address, and phone number among others. An attacker can use your information to commit identity theft. They could then do all sorts of malicious things using your credentials.

As you can see, DLP has a lot of applications in different fields. There are also three types of data state. Refer to the next section for a full discussion of this topic.

What Is DLP And How Can You Apply This?

A data state refers to the condition of data whenever it is in use by a computing device. Here are the three types of data states:

1. Data in rest - This refers to data that is in storage. What is DLP and how does it apply to this scenario? Loss or leakage of data is avoidable through encryption. An attacker can’t do anything to your data if they can’t decipher it.

2. Data in use - This refers to data currently in memory that will be later used by the system or other programs. What is DLP and how does it apply to this scenario? Data in memory is vulnerable to threats like memory-scraping malware. Using software capable of memory scraping detection is a must thing to do.

3. Data in transit - This refers to data transmitting over a network or whenever it is in motion. What is DLP and how does it apply to this scenario? Data is vulnerable to man-in-the-middle attacks whenever it is in transmission. Using software capable of countering network sniffing attacks prevents this scenario from happening.

You now know what is DLP and its applications in computing. You will now learn some DLP solutions in the next section.

What Is DLP Solution?

A DLP solution is the application of DLP technology either in your network or to its endpoints. What is the difference between network and endpoint DLP solutions? Network DLP protects the data on your organization’s network. This includes your company email, web apps, and data transfer programs. What is DLP and how it applies in a network setting? Network DLP protects your organization's sensitive data from leakage. It’s like putting a perimeter fence around your company network.

Endpoint DLP protects the data on your organization’s endpoints. This includes the devices connected to your network. Your boss’ laptop, employee smartphones, and guest tablets are some examples. What is DLP and how it applies to endpoint devices? Endpoint DLP ensures that these external devices won’t leak your organization's data. It’s like putting each device inside a container. Your mind is at peace as these devices won’t be able to leak out sensitive information from your network.


You now know what is DLP. You’ve also learned the three different data states which are data in use, data in transit, and data at rest. You’ve understood as well the difference between network DLP and endpoint DLP.

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