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July 19, 2023
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 min read

Data Loss Prevention(DLP) Policy and Best Practices

Discover the essential steps to create a Data loss prevention Policy in to secure PII, PHI and confidential data in saas ,cloud and endpoints

Data Loss Prevention(DLP) Policy and Best Practices
Calendar Icon White
July 19, 2023
Clock Icon
 min read

Data Loss Prevention(DLP) Policy and Best Practices

Discover the essential steps to create a Data loss prevention Policy in to secure PII, PHI and confidential data in saas ,cloud and endpoints


  • 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.

Best Practices for Establishing a Data Loss Prevention Policy

Banner showing Steps to Create an Effective DLP Policy
Steps to create an effective DLP policy

1. Identify Sensitive Data

  • Conduct a Data Inventory: Start by identifying and classifying the types of data your organization handles. This includes personal identifiable information (PII), financial records, intellectual property, and any other data that would be considered sensitive or confidential.
  • Understand Data Flow: Map out how sensitive data moves within and outside your organization. Understanding the flow of data is essential for identifying potential vulnerabilities.

2. Define Your Data Protection Goals

  • Determine What Needs Protection: Based on the data inventory, decide which data is most critical and requires protection. Not all data needs the same level of security, so prioritize accordingly.
  • Set Clear Objectives: Define what your DLP policy aims to achieve, such as preventing data breaches, ensuring compliance with data protection regulations, or protecting intellectual property.
Strac SaaS DLP - Redaction Remediation

3. Develop and Document the DLP Policy

  • Policy Framework: Create a comprehensive policy that outlines the rules for handling and protecting sensitive data. Include guidelines on data access, transmission, and storage.
  • Roles and Responsibilities: Clearly define the roles and responsibilities of employees, management, and IT staff in implementing and adhering to the DLP policy.

4. Implement Technical Controls

  • Deploy DLP Solutions: Utilize DLP software solutions that can monitor, detect, and block sensitive data from being leaked or transferred unauthorizedly.
  • Access Controls: Implement strict access controls to limit who can access sensitive data. Use the principle of least privilege to minimize exposure.
Strac Endpoint DLP - Blocking Remediation

5. Educate and Train Employees

  • Awareness Training: Conduct regular training sessions to educate employees about the importance of data protection and the specifics of the DLP policy.
  • Simulated Phishing Attacks: Run simulated phishing attacks to test employee awareness and preparedness.

6. Monitor and Audit

  • Continuous Monitoring: Regularly monitor data handling activities to ensure compliance with the DLP policy. Use automated tools to detect and alert on policy violations.
  • Conduct Audits: Perform periodic audits to assess the effectiveness of the DLP policy and make necessary adjustments.

7. Respond to Incidents

  • Incident Response Plan: Have a clear and effective incident response plan in place for handling data breaches or policy violations. This should include steps for containment, investigation, and notification.

8. Review and Update the DLP Policy

  • Regular Reviews: DLP policies should not be static. Regularly review and update the policy to adapt to new threats, technologies, and business practices.
  • Feedback Mechanism: Encourage feedback from employees and IT staff to identify challenges and areas for improvement. Implementing these best practices will help create a robust DLP policy that protects your organization's sensitive data from potential threats and compliances issues. It's important to remember that data protection is an ongoing process that requires continuous effort and adaptation to new challenges.


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:

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

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