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April 2, 2024
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 min read

Data Loss Prevention (DLP) for Service Now

Guide on how to discover, classify, and protect sensitive data in ServiceNow with Strac DLP

Data Loss Prevention (DLP) for Service Now
Calendar Icon White
April 2, 2024
Clock Icon
 min read

Data Loss Prevention (DLP) for Service Now

Guide on how to discover, classify, and protect sensitive data in ServiceNow with Strac DLP


In 2023, a news report revealed a misconfiguration in ServiceNow, a popular software used by 80% of Fortune 500 companies. This Access Control Lists (ACL)- related misconfiguration could potentially lead to unauthorized access to sensitive data, which could have serious consequences for businesses, such as regulatory fines and loss of stakeholder trust.

Security is a major concern for organizations using ServiceNow, as it is vulnerable to cyber threats such as hacking, phishing, and unauthorized access. Internal factors like accidental data sharing or mishandling further compound these risks. Integrating ServiceNow with other enterprise systems can quickly escalate isolated incidents into company-wide crises, making strong security measures essential. This makes the case for implementing robust security frameworks, of which Data Loss Prevention (DLP) stands as a cornerstone.

DLP is not just about safeguarding data; it's about enabling responsible management of ServiceNow's data assets in alignment with the organization's data governance and compliance frameworks. By detecting and preventing potential data breaches and unauthorized access, DLP serves as a proactive measure to enforce data protection policies automatically. This is crucial for minimizing the risk of human error and ensuring compliance with stringent regulations like GDPR and HIPAA.

Understanding Sensitive Data In ServiceNow

ServiceNow is a popular cloud-based enterprise platform, not just for streamlining operations and enhancing customer service but also for its critical role in managing sensitive data. This capability underscores the necessity for stringent security measures to protect such data against unauthorized access and cyber threats.

Types of sensitive data managed within ServiceNow:

  • Personal Identifiable Information (PII): PII refers to any type of data that can be used to identify an individual, such as their name, social security number, address, and contact details.

Read: How to Ensure PII Protection with Advanced Security Measures?

  • Protected Health Information (PHI): PHI is a category of sensitive information that includes any health-related data linked to an individual under the HIPAA regulations. This may include details about their health status, medical treatment, or payment for healthcare services. 
  • Financial information: Credit card numbers, bank account details, and financial transactions for billing and purchasing purposes.
  • Employee details: Information related to employment, including salaries, performance reviews, and personal employee records.
  • Corporate information: Confidential business information, trade secrets, strategic plans, and intellectual property managed within the platform.

Common sources of data leakage in ServiceNow:

  • Misconfigured access controls: Poorly configured permissions can enable unauthorized users to access sensitive data.
  • Insecure integrations: Connections between ServiceNow and other systems without adequate security can leave sensitive data vulnerable.
  • Phishing and social engineering attacks: Malicious individuals may use deceitful tactics to access confidential information within ServiceNow.
  • Insufficient data encryption: Not implementing proper data encryption measures at rest and during transmission can leave sensitive information vulnerable to attacks.
  • Lack of employee training: One of the major reasons for data breaches in companies is the lack of employee training on data protection best practices. Employees may make mistakes or be negligent without proper knowledge and awareness, leading to potential security risks and breaches. Regular training sessions can mitigate these risks significantly.

Ensuring Compliance and Data Protection in ServiceNow

ServiceNow is required to comply with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which enforces data protection and privacy for individuals in the European Union (EU) and the European Economic Area (EEA). This involves implementing mechanisms for data consent, data subject rights, and data breach notifications.

Compliance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) is necessary for healthcare-related data within ServiceNow. This law requires strict controls to safeguard medical information and maintain the privacy and security of protected health information (PHI).

Failing to comply with regulations like GDPR and HIPAA can have significant consequences for businesses. This includes financial penalties, with potential fines of up to 4% of annual global turnover or €20 million for GDPR violations and $1.5 million per year for HIPAA violations. 

Non-compliance can also damage a company's reputation, eroding trust among clients and partners and potentially impacting long-term business relationships. Legal and compliance issues may also disrupt business operations by requiring existing processes or systems changes, leading to operational delays and additional costs.

ServiceNow's inbuilt DLP functionalities 

To ensure data protection, ServiceNow has built-in features such as Role-Based Access Control (RBAC), which limits data access to authorized users based on their roles. The platform also has Audit Logs that track user activities and provide an audit trail for compliance.

Challenges with ServiceNow data protection:

  • Manual data detection: One drawback of ServiceNow is its lack of advanced DLP features. This means there are no built-in enterprise-grade DLP, data classification, or content filtering capabilities. As a result, automatically identifying, classifying, and protecting sensitive data can be challenging. Without these advanced tools, organizations will have to rely on manual efforts for data identification, which can be time-consuming and prone to errors.
  • Insufficient data protection measures: Traditional solutions are designed for on-premise networks and devices and may not be suitable for platforms like ServiceNow. Implementing these solutions can be difficult and may not provide the flexibility, accuracy, or user-friendly environment required for effective data protection.
  • Insufficient DLP Protocols: One of the main concerns for businesses without proper DLP and content filtering is the risk of data breaches and compliance issues. This puts sensitive information at risk and could lead to consequences for not following regulations such as GDPR and HIPAA. Organizations commonly use ServiceNow to handle customer support tickets, which may unknowingly include sensitive information like PII or PHI. Without sufficient DLP protocols, this confidential data could potentially be accessed by unauthorized personnel. A developer could unintentionally embed API keys or credentials into the ServiceNow instance during integration development. Without proper content filtering and classification systems, these confidential details risk being exposed.

Organizations often rely on third-party DLP solutions designed for cloud environments to address these challenges. These solutions offer more advanced features such as data classification, leak prevention, and compliance capabilities, filling in the gaps left by ServiceNow's native functionalities and ensuring higher data protection and regulatory compliance.

Selecting the right DLP solution for ServiceNow

Identify your data protection needs

When selecting a DLP solution for ServiceNow, it's important to understand the types of data you handle. This includes Personal Identifiable Information (PII), Protected Health Information (PHI), financial records, and proprietary business information. Knowing these specific data types can help you choose a DLP solution offering customized protection mechanisms to secure sensitive information.

1. Define your security objectives

Are you looking to prevent data leaks, safeguard against internal threats, comply with regulatory requirements, protect intellectual property, or a combination of these? Knowing your specific security goals will help you select a DLP solution with the right capabilities.

2. Understand ServiceNow's architecture and integration capabilities

Before implementing DLP, get acquainted with the technical setup of ServiceNow, including:

  • API endpoints for integrating
  • Configuration and customization options
  • Data storage and flow processes

Ensure the DLP solution is suitable for ServiceNow's APIs and allows for smooth integration without interrupting existing workflows.

3. Evaluate DLP solution features

When evaluating a DLP solution, consider features such as real-time monitoring for timely risk detection and mitigation. Look for automated response capabilities that quickly block any unintentional sharing of sensitive data and alert administrators to potential breaches. The DLP solution must provide customized policies to accommodate your company's specific data protection requirements and follow all regulatory guidelines. Additionally, it should be easily adaptable to support the growth of your expanding ServiceNow environment.

4. Compliance and regulatory considerations

Ensure that the DLP solution supports regulatory compliance for important data protection laws, such as GDPR, HIPAA, and others relevant to your industry. Look for a solution that offers comprehensive reporting and audit trails to facilitate compliance verification and audits.

5. Trial and testing

Before fully implementing the DLP solution in your ServiceNow environment, conduct a comprehensive pilot test to assess its effectiveness, ease of integration, and compatibility with your current workflows. Ensure also to consider the quality of support the vendor offers during this time. Thoroughly assess the solution's performance, usability, and efficiency in real-world scenarios.

6. Cost consideration

Evaluate the total cost of ownership, including:

  • Initial purchase price
  • Implementation and integration costs
  • Staff training expenses
  • Ongoing maintenance and support fees

Opt for a solution that offers the best value in terms of features, support, and long-term usability.

Checklist for selecting the right DLP for ServiceNow

Data protection needs:

  • What types of sensitive data does your ServiceNow instance handle?
  • How is this data currently protected and managed?
  • What are your primary data protection and compliance needs?

Security objectives:

  • What are your main objectives for data loss prevention?
  • Are there specific threats or vulnerabilities you need to address?

Technical compatibility:

  • Can the DLP solution seamlessly integrate with ServiceNow's API and architecture without disrupting existing workflows?
  • Does the solution support customization to match your specific workflows and processes?

Features and capabilities:

  • Does the solution provide real-time monitoring and automatic incident response?
  • How customizable are the DLP policies and rules?

Compliance and Regulation:

  • Does the solution support compliance with the regulations relevant to your data (e.g., GDPR, HIPAA)?
  • Can it generate detailed reports and audit trails for compliance verification?

Trial and evaluation:

  • How did the solution perform during the pilot test in terms of effectiveness and ease of integration?
  • What is the feedback from your IT and security teams about the solution's usability and effectiveness?
  • What level of support and training does the vendor offer?

Cost and ROI:

  • What is the total cost of ownership for the DLP solution, including purchase, implementation, and ongoing maintenance?
  • Does the solution offer a good balance of features, support, and cost?
  • How does this investment align with your budget and expected return on investment (ROI)?

Strac DLP for ServiceNow

Strac SaaS DLP (Data Loss Prevention) and Endpoint DLP protect businesses by discovering (scanning), classifying, and remediating sensitive data like SSN, Driver's License, Credit Cards, Bank Numbers, IP (Confidential Data), etc. across all SaaS apps like ServiceNow, Jira, Zendesk, Salesforce, communication channels like O365, Slack, GWorkspace (Gmail, Google Drive), Email, and endpoints like Mac and Windows.

Key features of Strac's DLP solution include:

  • Discover, Classify, and Protect sensitive data: Strac's AI detects sensitive data with accuracy and precision across volumes of unstructured texts and documents.
Schedule a demo with Strac today to safeguard your ServiceNow environment!
  • Remediate Sensitive Data: Strac provides remediation actions like redaction, blocking, alerting, and encryption. Strac's redaction replaces sensitive data with a link to Strac's secure Vault.
  • API integration: With Strac, you can leverage Strac's RESTful APIs for custom integrations alongside user-friendly no-code options for a flexible and efficient DLP deployment.
  • Dashboard and Analytics: Strac's dashboard offers detailed visualizations of data discovery and remediation activities, providing insights into data flow and security status.
  • Achieve Compliance & Comply with Regulations/Privacy Laws: With Strac, comply effortlessly with major regulations like PCI, SOC 2, NIST CSF, HIPAA, GDPR, CCPA, and India's DPDP, safeguarding against legal and financial penalties.

Founder, Strac. ex-Amazon Payments Infrastructure (Widget, API, Security) Builder for 11 years.

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