A Small Business Guide to Data Loss Prevention

Posted by Adrian Ghira, GAM Tech 09-03-2023 04:22 PM

With the demand for Data Loss Prevention on the rise and the global market size projected to reach $56.28 Billion USD by 2030, it’s a sign that it may be a good time for small business owners to consider enhanced data protection measures for their company.

What is Data Loss Prevention (DLP)?
Data Loss Prevention or "DLP" involves protecting data from unauthorized access, unwanted changes, corruption, and destruction. Sensitive information such as client records/personal information, payment info, and confidential businesses reports or other forms of intellectual property are just a few types of data that could be at risk without the right security measures.

Businesses of all sizes implement DLP in an effort to:

  • Minimize the threat of data leaks and loss in the event of a cyberattack;
  • Protect Personally Identifiable Information (PII) of employees and clients/customers;
  • Comply with data protection regulations;
  • Monitor data access and activities within the network and cloud systems.

Common Data Leak Causes
1. Human Error
One of the top causes for data leaks. Employees might disclose sensitive data unintentionally as a result of exposing it in a public network, or by becoming the victim of a social engineering attack. It’s important to note that most cybersecurity issues can be traced back to human error, so adequate employee training is highly advised alongside the implementation of up-to-date cybersecurity technology.

2. Cyberattacks
Hackers can take advantage of an organization’s vulnerable security infrastructure and acquire access to important data. Cyber criminals also target employees and use various techniques such as phishing, baiting, and spamming to introduce malicious software into a device or network.

3. Insiders
Someone within the organization, whether associated currently or previously, with access to or knowledge of secure data sharing it outside the business. This also refers to company user accounts that have been compromised through a cyberattack.

4. Unsecured Stored Data
Storing important business data in unsecured physical and digital locations will also put an organization at risk of data loss. This can include data on personal computers, unsecured personal accounts, public cloud servers, and unencrypted file systems.

Why is DLP Important for a Small Business?
1. Limited Resources
Small businesses may not have access to the same level of security infrastructure as larger organizations, with a lack of preparation putting them particularly at risk for data loss. Cyber criminals know that due to their smaller scale and often limited resources, small businesses can be especially vulnerable to data breaches and other security concerns.

2. The True Cost of Losing Data
The effects of a data breach on a small business can be catastrophic. Not only can it lead to loss of money and damage to an organization’s reputation, but it can also lead to costly investigations and potential legal action. Furthermore, recovering from the breach can be expensive, needing new hardware, software, and staff to be brought in.

3. Regulatory Compliance
Small businesses need to be aware of the legal requirements around safeguarding personal data, which varies depending on state/provide or country. Failing to adhere to these laws can result in hefty penalties, so it is important that companies take the necessary steps to ensure they are compliant.

Adrian Ghira, GAM Tech.