July 19, 2023
 min read

How to Create a DLP Policy ? Steps & Best Practices

Learn everything about Data Loss Prevention Policies and how they could safeguard your business from possible cyber threats.

July 19, 2023
 min read

How to Create a DLP Policy ? Steps & Best Practices

Learn everything about Data Loss Prevention Policies and how they could safeguard your business from possible cyber threats.


  • Data Loss Prevention (DLP) policies are guidelines and procedures designed to protect sensitive data from disclosure, use, or access.
  • DLP policies are important for protecting sensitive information, ensuring regulatory compliance, safeguarding intellectual property, preventing reputational damage, adapting to remote work environments, and preventing insider threats.
  • DLP policies involve data classification, endpoint protection, network monitoring, data loss prevention software, incident response planning, and regular audits and policy reviews.
  • Creating an effective DLP policy includes identifying and prioritizing data, establishing security policies, implementing technological solutions, educating and training employees, monitoring and auditing, incident response planning, and regular evaluation and improvement.
  • Best practices for establishing a DLP policy include executive support, risk assessment, collaboration and communication, data encryption, data retention and disposal policies, user training and awareness, and continuous improvement.

What is Data Loss Prevention (DLP) Policy? 

Data Loss Prevention (DLP) policies refer to a set of guidelines and procedures designed to protect sensitive data from disclosure, use, or access. To say otherwise, the primary function of a DLP policy is to prevent data loss, whether done intentionally or accidentally. 

DLP policies, further, include implementing proactive measures and controls. These policies have a range of strategies and involve technological solutions, employee training, and ongoing monitoring to ensure the highest degree of security of valuable data assets. 

How can a DLP policy protect your business?

Termed as “the new oil”, data across organizations now hold more importance than ever before. This includes data from purpose-centric organizations that work with sensitive customer information, proprietary trade secrets, and other crucial aspects of the business. In scenarios, such as this, businesses need to understand that data plays a pivotal role in driving operations and maintaining a competitive edge over others. 

However, one cannot overlook the risk of data breaches and information leaks which have been at an all-time high. This has led to the creation and regularization of laws called the Data Loss Prevention (DLP) policies.

In this article, we at Strac help you explore what DLP policies are and why they are so important. Additionally, we find out how these policies work, along with the steps and best practices for creating an effective DLP policy. 

What Makes DLP Policies Important?

Losing crucial information can lead to severe consequences. Substantial financial penalties and potential criminal repercussions are just two of it. Additionally, it can lead to inflicting significant harm on an organization’s operations and may even lead to its closure. 

A notable example of this is the curious case of Equifax. In 2017 the company lost personal and financial data and records of more than 150 million people. The company’s failure to promptly address the vulnerability and the subsequent delayed breach disclosure compounded the damage. Consequently, in July 2019, Equifax was fined a staggering $575 million. 

On the other hand, critical data losses also put executives at risk. For instance, executives could face dire professional consequences due to data loss incidents. One such notable incident involves top executives of Target who had to resign their way out. 

Some of the important factors that qualify as the key driving force of DLP Policies are as follows:  

1. Protecting Sensitive Information

Sensitive data, such as Personally Identifiable Information (PII) and financial records, are prime targets for cybercriminals. DLP policies play a vital role in safeguarding this information, mitigating the risk of data breaches, and protecting customers and organizations from potential harm.

2. Regulatory Compliance

Numerous industries face strict data privacy and security regulations. DLP policies help organizations adhere to these rules, such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) in the United States or the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the European Union. Compliance not only prevents legal complications but also ensures the organization is handling sensitive data responsibly.

3. Safeguarding Intellectual Property (IP)

For many organizations, their intellectual property, including trade secrets, patents, and proprietary information, is their most valuable asset. DLP policies are crucial in preventing unauthorized access or disclosure of these materials, thus safeguarding an organization's competitive edge.

4. Preventing Reputational Damage

Data breaches can have severe reputational consequences, potentially leading to customer attrition, financial losses, and legal actions. With robust DLP policies, organizations can protect their brand reputation and maintain the trust of their stakeholders.

5. Adapting to Remote Work Environment

With the rising trend of remote work and BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policies, ensuring secure data handling has become more challenging. DLP policies are essential in managing these evolving workplace dynamics without compromising on data security.

6. Insider Threat Prevention

Not all data breaches are from external actors; sometimes, they can be due to careless or malicious insiders. DLP policies help identify and mitigate such insider threats by monitoring data usage and controlling access.

How Does DLP Policy Work?

Usually, DLP policies involve the know-how of technology, processes, and employee awareness to ensure comprehensive protection of sensitive data. 

Here are the primary components for the effective working of DLP policy

  • Data classification: An effective DLP policy begins with data classification. In this step, organizations must classify their data based on its sensitivity and value. Eventually, this classification helps prioritize protection efforts and allows more focused controls and blocking of unauthorized devices. 
  • Endpoint protection: Endpoint protection comes into the picture when vital electronic devices such as computers, mobile phones, or laptops are employed. In such scenarios, DLP policies prevent data leakage through measures like encryption, blocking unauthorized devices, or blocking access controls. 
  • Network monitoring: One of the most employed strategies of a safe, secure network is to monitor traffic in and out of the organization’s network infrastructure. This allows network administrators to detect real-time suspicious activities, unauthorized transfers, or attempts to access sensitive data; leading to better security measures. 
  • Data loss prevention software: Data transfers or leaks end when specialized DLP software finds a spot in the organizations. This specialized software takes up a bigger role by implementing content inspection, contextual analysis, and machine learning algorithms to identify sensitive data and enforce security policies. 
  • Incident Response Plan: An effective DLP policy includes a comprehensive incident response plan. This component outlines steps to take in the event of a data loss or breach, including minimizing damage, recovering lost data, and preventing future incidents.
  • Regular Audits and Policy Review: Technologies, threats, and business needs evolve over time. Regular reviews and audits of the DLP policy ensure its effectiveness and relevance. They help identify gaps, improve strategies, and comply with the new regulations.

Steps to Create an Effective DLP Policy

Steps to create an effective DLP policy

The creation of an effective DLP policy involves a lot of careful planning and consideration. Following steps share the steps in detail:

  • Identify and prioritize data
  • Establish security policies
  • Implement technological solutions
  • Implement technological solutions
  • Educate and train employees
  • Monitor and audit
  • Incident Response Planning
  • Regular Evaluation and Improvement

1. Identify and prioritize data

The very first step in making an effective DLP policy is identifying and prioritizing data involved in the entire process. Diving deeper, the process involves conducting a comprehensive data inventory to identify and classify the data types within the organization. The data is prioritized based on protection efforts, data sensitivity, and value.

2. Establish security policies

Once you are thorough about the type of information your database contains, it becomes crucial to establish security policies. These policies should be clear and concise while open to acceptable data usage norms, meet encryption requirements, and contain incident regulations and best practices. 

3. Implement technological solutions

Next, it comes to implementing technological solutions based on the established security policies discussed above. Some of the common practices include deploying data loss prevention software, endpoint security tools, network monitoring systems, and encryption solutions. 

4. Educate and train employees

One of the most pivotal practices in data security and its policy development is educating and training the staff. The process begins with making them aware of the subject and stretches to how important documents are handled, recognizing potential threats, and the security protocols attached. 

5. Monitor and audit

Establishing practices and making employees aware of the rigorous solutions is half battle won. The principles must be monitored while the activities should be thoroughly followed to identify vulnerabilities or policy violations. Monitoring and auditing activities ensure that the rules are tightly followed, identify flaws in the current guidelines, and make better policies in future. 

6. Incident Response Planning

Data breaches are unpredictable, so having a planned response outlining the steps is necessary for all aspects. Under such circumstances, clear roles and responsibilities should be assigned. Next, ensure communication channels for swift and effective responses. 

7. Regular Evaluation and Improvement

Since the processes are monitored and audited continuously, DLP policies should be periodically updated to adapt to evolving threats and technologies. 

7 Best practices for establishing a DLP Policy

To establish an effective DLP policy, organizations should consider the following best practices:

  • Executive Support
  • Risk assessment
  • Collaboration and communication
  • Data encryption
  • Data retention and disposal
  • User Training and Awareness
  • Continuous Improvement

1. Executive Support

Most organizations miss out on having executive support and hence fail to respond to cyber threats in the best way possible. Experts suggest obtaining executive buy-in and support for the DLP policy. Further, ensure that senior management understands the importance of data protection and provides the necessary resources for its implementation.

2. Risk assessment

Conduct a thorough risk assessment to identify potential vulnerabilities and prioritize focus areas. Notably, the assessment should not miss out on any possible threat (both internal and external) along with the vulnerabilities within the organization’s infrastructure. 

Security Risk Assessment

3. Collaboration and communication

This includes establishing cross-functional teams involving team members from IT, security, compliance, and legal to ensure collaboration and alignment in implementing the DLP policies. On the other hand, it is advised that regular communication channels should be established to share updates, address concerns, and provide training and support. 

4. Data encryption

Implement encryption measures for sensitive data at rest and in transit. Encryption helps protect data even if it falls into unauthorized hands, providing an additional layer of security.

5. Data retention and disposal

Establish clear policies and procedures for data retention and disposal. Regularly review and delete unnecessary data to minimize the risk of unauthorized access or breaches.

6. User Training and Awareness

We at Strac ensure that a DLP policy is only as effective as the people who implement it. Regularly train employees on the policy's details, why it's important, and their role in supporting it. Ongoing education helps create a culture of security within the organization.

7. Continuous Improvement

Use monitoring, auditing, and feedback mechanisms to regularly evaluate and update the DLP policy. The digital landscape is constantly evolving, and your DLP policy should adapt accordingly.


This comprehensive guide is all you need if you’re looking for data security solutions. It covers data loss prevention (DLP) policies and important aspects of data privacy. Strac eliminates the highest degrees of risks with its proprietary AI-based solutions and hence is loved and used by companies of all sizes. For more information on Strac, visit  Strac DLP (Data Loss Prevention) - Redact (Mask) PII

Explore more DLP and Cloud Access Security solutions:

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Strac provides end-to-end data loss prevention for all SaaS and Cloud apps. Integrate in under 10 minutes and experience the benefits of live DLP scanning, live redaction, and a fortified SaaS environment.

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

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