Data security is becoming a board-level concern for most businesses that store or use sensitive data.

Malicious third-party actors are becoming more organized, sophisticated, and bolder in their attempts to steal information. The cyber threat landscape constantly evolves, but many companies lag in understanding the threat and their responses.

As the volume and sophistication of cyber threats increase, the financial penalties for data breaches also increase. The broader consequences of even a single data breach can be disastrous for any business. Startups and small to medium-sized enterprises can easily face bankruptcy within one year of a data breach.

The simple reason for most of these (entirely avoidable) data breaches is that obsolete DLP projects fail to prevent them. We’ll explore the most common DLP project problems and examine how to find a comprehensive cybersecurity solution that bypasses existing DLP limitations.

How to Improve DLP Project Implementation

A DLP (data loss prevention) project is a cybersecurity project designed to detect and protect sensitive data and quickly alert IT managers to data breaches.

There are a multitude of potential DLP project pitfalls, and even effective DLP projects are time-consuming and resource-draining enterprises. When you operate a complex IT ecosystem that disperses sensitive data over diverse channels, remote devices, and shadow clouds, you will be hard-pressed to devise, maintain, and update a comprehensive DLP solution.

Too many DLP projects consist of a patchwork of software, tools, and loosely integrated data loss prevention modules. The skill set required to implement and manage these separate functions is considerable.

Many IT managers must rely on freelancers’ and contractors’ expensive (and not always reliable) services. A complex DLP project will rapidly eat into your IT department’s budget and working hours.

DLP Initiative Problems – The Human Factor

Although the typical DLP project is software-based, it is overly dependent on human reliability. There are three main human/DLP interfaces. The first is the implementation and management of the DLP itself by IT professionals.

The second interface is the requirement that ordinary, non-IT-trained employees follow routine security procedures mandated by the DLP.

The third interface is the necessity for understanding and communication between IT departments and the board of directors. Some CEOs and executive directors understand the issues, but most don’t — at least until a crippling data breach occurs.

Problems with DLP Implementation and Maintenance

In our modern work culture, employee recruitment and retention are serious challenges. The situation was exacerbated by the pandemic, working from home, and the recent phenomenon of ‘quiet quitting.’

These issues affect the world of IT and cybersecurity to a lesser extent than some professions, but there has still been a negative impact. Qualified IT staff are acutely aware of the monetary value of their skills and experience. They are quick to change jobs if they see a better opportunity or a new professional challenge.

IT managers are continually responsible for training staff to manage their DLP projects. They must then retain the trained people long enough to justify the original investment of time and effort.

Losing a single team member can potentially disrupt (or create serious vulnerabilities in) a DLP project. IT managers and other qualified staff usually take on additional responsibilities until the vacancy is filled or an external contractor is hired.

Many professions struggle to recruit qualified and motivated staff, but the consequences are seldom as potentially severe. Cybersecurity and vulnerability to data breaches are the Achilles heel of modern business.

Failure to recruit and retain trained people can inhibit growth, cause stagnation, and lower morale in any division within a corporation without leading to the company’s collapse. When DLP projects fail, companies can—and do—collapse.

Employee Breaches of DLP Guidelines

Old-fashioned DLP projects are overly dependent on the cooperation of ordinary employees who do not have a background in IT and cybersecurity. In small companies with a low staff turnover and good communication at all levels, the risks of erroneous or negligent breaches of DLP guidelines are reduced. Employee education initiatives in cybersecurity are often reasonably effective.

In large companies with a high turnover of employees, remote workers, part-timers, freelancers, and subcontractors, the risks of breaches of DLP guidelines are increased. It is far more challenging to implement employee education programs and to keep them continually updated.

Employees may be less invested in the company’s success and don’t care if data breaches occur. In larger companies, the opportunities for hackers and malicious actors grow exponentially – they have more weak links to identify and exploit.

Some people like to break rules and have to be kept in check. Even conscientious and cybersecurity-aware employees can be tempted to circumvent irksome users and logins, share details, and look for security or procedural shortcuts to ease their daily burden and improve their workflows.

Fundamental DLP project pitfalls that have to be overcome include the propensity for human error, negligence, malice, and basic password fatigue. A patchwork of different software cannot provide a comprehensive defense against the human factor in a busy 2020s work environment. A preemptive, software-based approach to sensitive data security that operates 24/7 with zero dependence on human compliance is a prerequisite for effective cyber security.

Is it Possible to Improve Old School DLP Projects?

It’s always possible to improve existing DLP projects. The real question is whether it’s worth investing time and resources in attempting to improve a system built on an obsolete concept.

When IT managers succeed in improving their overall DLP project implementation, they are not eliminating the possibility of a sensitive data breach. They are merely reducing the likelihood of a data breach occurring. In an evolving regulatory environment, where the financial consequences of data breaches are catastrophic, you’re playing Russian roulette with the future survival of your business.

Employee Education and Two-Way Communication

Employee error, negligence (and occasionally deliberate criminality) is one of many DLP projects’ major pitfalls. You can have significant cybersecurity safeguards, but if employees ignore them, they are worthless. The best you can hope for is to rapidly identify data breaches and implement what damage limitation you can. Educating employees can mitigate the risks of data breaches. In any medium-sized or large company, you need the backing of the board, the cooperation of HR, and the support of managers.

It’s not enough to give employees a single cybersecurity presentation. They need regular refreshers and updates, and new hires must be briefed and trained. Employees have to understand why it’s in their own long-term interests to follow security procedures correctly. Even with full accountability, a certain proportion of employees won’t care or will be fundamentally unreliable.

Generate Positive Stakeholder Involvement

A good way to generate positive interest is to offer wider cybersecurity training that also helps employees protect themselves and their families in their private online activities.

Busy people must also be regularly reminded to remain alert to potential phishing scams, colleague impersonations, unauthorized requests, hacks, and approaches by malicious actors.

When stakeholders are not actively involved, problems with DLP projects multiply. Employees must be able to give feedback about how the DLP solutions affect their productivity and morale. Successful DLP project implementation is a two-way street. IT managers must be receptive to — and not dismissive of — negative feedback from colleagues in other departments.

Transform your DLP Project with One-Click Encryption

The bottom line with DLP projects is that they can’t deliver absolute protection against data breaches. You can tinker with them, add new software and tools, educate stakeholders, and recruit outstanding staff—and never be safe.

When IT managers try to defend against malicious actors, they face a universal black hat hacker mindset that says: You have to be lucky every single time. We only have to be lucky once…

Encryption software removes luck from the equation by providing flexible one-click encryption for all sensitive data across your entire IT ecosystem.

An automated scan checks all channels, remote devices, and the shadow cloud. It dramatically improves upon ineffective data classification methods to locate and map all sensitive data (including dormant data) and quantify it in the major currency of your choice.

You can initiate either immediate or delayed one-click encryption on a channel-by-channel basis with equally flexible automated decryption. Even if your system is breached or an employee turns rogue, compromised data will be worthless to any third party.

Even if a hacker manages to steal hundreds of gigabytes of data, they will never be able to read it. Encrypted data has zero resale value to your competitors and is useless for extortion purposes.

Encryption software is transforming how businesses manage their sensitive data and is revolutionizing DLP project implementation. It can take less than 72 hours from software initiation to sensitive data remediation.

Once you’re underway, the software will scan your entire IT ecosystem 24 hours a day, managing your sensitive data and safeguarding your business.