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August 9, 2023
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 min read

Network DLP vs Cloud DLP vs Endpoint DLP

Explore key differences between Network DLP, Cloud DLP, and Endpoint DLP. Discover the best data protection strategy for your organization's unique needs.

Network DLP vs Cloud DLP vs Endpoint DLP
Calendar Icon White
August 9, 2023
Clock Icon
 min read

Network DLP vs Cloud DLP vs Endpoint DLP

Explore key differences between Network DLP, Cloud DLP, and Endpoint DLP. Discover the best data protection strategy for your organization's unique needs.


Data loss prevention tools protect sensitive data from security breaches and ensure compliance with key regulations such as SOC 2, PCI DSS, HIPAA, and other regulatory standards. 

There are 3 types of DLP: 

  • Network DLP monitors data in transit within the network.
  • Cloud DLP secures data stored and shared in cloud environments, including SaaS applications, cloud storage services, and cloud-based databases. 
  • Endpoint DLP solutions protect critical data on laptops, cellphones, and tablets.

Choosing the right network-based DLP solution depends on the organization's requirements, but understanding the differences between these three approaches can help make informed decisions regarding cybersecurity measures.

In the first quarter of 2023, a staggering 6 million data records were compromised globally due to various data breaches, and it’s only going to get worse. 

Data leakage and security breaches are growing concerns for businesses in today's digital landscape. Companies have turned to Data Loss Prevention (DLP) solutions to combat these risks. However, with different DLP options available - network DLP, endpoint DLP, and cloud DLP - it can be challenging to determine which is best for your organization.

This blog will explore the differences between network, endpoint, and cloud DLP. We will delve into their unique features and use cases so that you can decide what's best for your organization.

What is DLP?

Organizations depend on data loss prevention (DLP), a full arsenal of tools and procedures, to protect critical information from loss and breaches. DLP guarantees that businesses comply with key regulations such as SOC 2, PCI DSS, HIPAA, and other top standards and provide protection.

DLP can also protect endpoints, networks, and cloud services in business digital environments. Since data exists in diverse contexts at various phases, the tools and solutions required to protect it may alter correspondingly.

Why do you need DLP?

Keeping sensitive data secure is a constant worry. You never know when a data breach might occur, putting your business at risk for costly consequences.

Here are 3 main reasons why you need a DLP:


Extrusion is a serious threat where cybercriminals aim to steal sensitive data by breaching the security parameters of businesses. They employ various techniques, including code injection, malware, and phishing

One notable example is the WannaCry ransomware attack in May 2017. It infected 230,000 computers across 150 countries, earning the infamous title of the largest malware attack in history. The attackers exploited a vulnerability in older versions of Windows to encrypt files and demanded a ransom in exchange.


Organizations take data loss very seriously. However, since data thieves keep getting more sophisticated every day, they frequently find new ways to access networks. Companies face mounting pressure to keep looking for new threats actively. 

Here are 2 types of intrusion attacks.

Inside threats

Inside threats can pose a significant risk to companies, as employees may deliberately try to cause harm from within. These individuals carry out the attack independently or seek assistance from external sources. The danger lies in the fact that they already have access to company data and potentially sensitive information like personal details, social security numbers, taxation details, etc. These attacks are more dangerous compared to attempted breaches from outside the organization.

In 2016, a UK-based technology firm, Sage experienced a breach due to an insider threat. Employees misused their internal login credentials to access data from around 200 to 300 customers without proper authorization. As a result, Sage's shares dropped by 4%.

Unsafe BYOD policies

Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies have helped numerous industries operate more effectively. However, some industries have either not adopted BYOD or poorly deployed and maintained BYOD solutions.

BYOD, unfortunately, makes it easier for employees to accidentally share sensitive information through their personal mobile phones and tablets. They may not be aware of the data security level within the device or during data transmission.

Accidental disclosure

Accidental information sharing can pose a significant company risk, jeopardizing data security. One favored tactic data thieves employ is social engineering, wherein the attacker carefully studies the target organization and selects an unsuspecting victim among its employees. The attacker then engages the victim unknowingly in their plans, coaxing them into inadvertently divulging sensitive information.

41 million customer records were leaked in Target's 2013 credit card data leak, which cost the company $18.5 million. A third-party vendor inadvertently compromised critical system credentials, leading to a security breach in Target's payment systems. This allowed hackers to exploit vulnerabilities, gain access to the customer database, install malware, and steal customer information.

Key stages to DLP

Key stages to DLP

Data analysis 

➡️ Invest in a Strategy: Develop an in-depth strategy for analyzing data within the organization. Ensure that every bit of data transmitted or stored is well-documented, verified, and classified.

➡️ Identify Sensitive Data: Recognize sensitive data within networks, systems, and storage repositories, such as personally identifiable information (PII), financial data, intellectual property (IP), and other confidential data. This step should be an ongoing process to accommodate new data types and locations.

➡️ Use Data Discovery Tools: Utilize advanced tools to analyze data repositories for patterns and phrases signifying private information. Adopting a multi-modal approach ensures thorough data scanning, eliminating potential blind spots related to BYOD (Bring Your Own Device), cloud-based storage, and vendor data.

Implementation of rules and policies 

➡️ Formulate and Enforce Policies: After identifying sensitive data, implement clear and robust monitoring, and security policies to prevent data loss and breaches. Define how this data is used, accessed, and transferred, including through channels such as email, online uploads, and USB transfers.

➡️ Prevent Unauthorized Transfers: The primary goal is to prevent data from leaving the organization's network without proper authorization. DLP solutions can implement encryption, access controls, and data masking to enhance protection.

➡️ Compliance Alignment: Ensure that the rules and policies are in alignment with relevant regulatory compliance requirements. Regularly review and update them to keep up with changing regulations.

Incident response 

➡️  Prepare for Potential Breaches: Despite best efforts, data breaches can still occur. A robust incident response plan must be part of the DLP system, detailing specific procedures for different types of incidents.

➡️  Alert and Investigate: When a potential data loss event is detected, the DLP system must promptly alert relevant stakeholders and, if applicable, regulatory authorities. Prompt investigation and action can mitigate potential damage.

➡️  Post-Incident Analysis: Includes a thorough review of the incident to learn from the event, followed by enhancements to the existing DLP strategy. It's vital to understand the root causes of the incident and adapt strategies to prevent future occurrences.

Parameters Network DLP Cloud DLP Endpoint DLP
Scope Monitors data in transit within the network.

Ex: Emails, web traffic, and file sharing
Monitors data transmitted and stored in SaaS apps and cloud environments.

Ex: SaaS applications like Microsoft 365, Slack, Google Workspace, Dropbox and databases in cloud-based platforms like AWS or Azure.
Monitors data on individual devices and endpoints.

Ex: Laptops, smartphones, tablets, and USB drives.X$
Data protection Safeguards information against unauthorized access and breach within the organizational network. Guarantees compliance with data protection rules and prevents data exfiltration. Provides security for both stored and transmitted data in SaaS and cloud environments. Protects sensitive information while using any SaaS or Cloud apps. Minimizes the risk of data loss in the event of device theft or illegal access by protecting data on laptops and other devices outside the organization's network. Promotes data confidentiality and safeguards intellectual property.
Deployment Installed at the network gateway for real-time packet inspection and filtering API-based or proxy-based integration with cloud platforms or cloud storage services to track data access and activity. Installed as software agents or programs on particular devices or endpoints to implement security protocols locally.
Scalability Can be complex to scale as it might involve significant hardware and software changes. Easily scalable with the growth of cloud usage, providing flexibility as needs change. Scalable but may require robust device management systems to ensure consistent application across all devices.
Precision May require careful tuning to balance protection with usability. Can’t scan attachments or complex unstructured documents. Offers fine-tuned control with SaaS and cloud apps, tailored to particular applications and data types (including documents of all kinds - pdf, jpeg, images, screenshots, audio files, word docs, excel spreadsheets, etc. Less accuracy for complex data
Maintenance Requires regular updates, tuning, and monitoring to remain effective. Easy to maintain as it is managed by SaaS/Cloud DLP providers, reducing the maintenance burden. Implementation and maintenance are costly, challenging, and time-consuming.
Benefits Protects data from breaches and unauthorized access. Provides centralized management and security for cloud-stored data. Provides data security beyond the organizational network.
Challenges Challenges include complexity and potential high cost. Dependency on cloud provider may lead to potential latency or compatibility issues. But for popular SaaS and Cloud services, it is not a problem. Managing multiple endpoints, ensuring consistency, and handling remote devices can be complex.
Use-cases Safeguards sensitive information as it moves across the network. Protects data in cloud applications such as SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS. Offers data security for staff devices beyond the organizational network.
Example Use Network DLP to,
  • monitor outgoing emails and traffic
  • monitor sensitive information like credit card and social security numbers.
  • Prevent unauthorized access, and accidental data breaches, assuring data protection compliance.
The healthcare sector uses Network DLP to track data between medical devices and the main server. It ensures patient data is safe during transmission and prevents hacking attempts from accessing sensitive medical data.
Use Cloud DLP to,
  • Track data submitted to its cloud-based inventory and order management system.
  • Safeguard client payment information and
  • Minimize data leakage while synchronizing data with third-party service providers.
Organizations use cloud DLP
  • To efficiently monitor and control access to confidential client data in cloud-based collaboration solutions such as Google Drive and Microsoft SharePoint.
  • It prevents unauthorized disclosure of customer data.
Use Endpoint DLP on employee devices,
  • To protect critical research data. It prevents using USB storage devices and unauthorized cloud services.
  • To avoid data leaks and protect intellectual property rights.
IT service providers implement Endpoint DLP on company-issued smartphones to safeguard client data accessed remotely.

Network DLP vs Cloud DLP vs Endpoint DLP - Why each one matters?

Network DLP, Cloud DLP, and Endpoint DLP each play a vital role in securing sensitive data within various environments. Let's delve into why each solution matters.

Network DLP

Network DLP is a vital security solution that monitors data in transit inside a company's network. Its main objective is to protect data from unwanted access and leakage while transmitting between network endpoints. Here's why Network DLP is important:

  • Network DLP ensures that data moving across the organization's network is not intercepted or accessed without authorization. This prevents data breaches and guarantees information confidentiality throughout transmission with strict data protection compliance.
  • It is also capable of detecting and preventing insider threats, thereby protecting critical information.

Cloud DLP

Cloud DLP is a powerful solution that secures data stored and shared in cloud environments, including SaaS applications, cloud storage services, and cloud-based databases. 

Here's why Cloud DLP matters:

  • Cloud DLP is a valuable tool for maintaining control over sensitive data and preventing any potential leakage during collaboration and file sharing in the cloud.
  • By safeguarding data across different cloud applications, it ensures regulatory compliance. Cloud DLP also extends data security beyond the confines of your organization's network, making it an indispensable tool for businesses with remote employees and geographically dispersed operations.

Protect your sensitive data and reduce security risks with Strac. Avoid data breaches and ensure compliance effortlessly.

Key Features: 

☑️Redact sensitive data and documents across all SaaS platforms: Gmail, Slack, Zendesk, Salesforce, Google Drive, etc. 

☑️Safeguard your cloud platforms like AWS and Azure instantly. 

☑️Instantly detect Personally Identifiable Information (PII), Protected Health Information (PHI), and sensitive data. 

Our advanced machine learning technology ensures privacy impact assessments (PIA) accuracy. With our constant weekly upgrades, enhance your data security like never before! 

Endpoint DLP

Endpoint DLP solutions protect critical data on individual devices and endpoints such as laptops, cellphones, and tablets. Here's why it matters:

  • In today's remote workplaces, employees often use devices beyond the corporate network to access data. Thanks to Endpoint DLP, you can be certain that your sensitive information is safe on these devices. See what Strac users has to say,
Source G2
  • Endpoint DLP also helps prevent data theft through removable media such as USB drives. It also safeguards against unauthorized data transfer through email or cloud services on employee devices.
  • Endpoint DLP is especially essential for businesses that deal with proprietary information, carry out research, or work with confidential documents. It protects intellectual property, ensuring data confidentiality.


Whether you choose 

  • a network-based DLP solution for comprehensive visibility and control over data movement,
  • a cloud-based DLP solution for flexible and scalable protection, or 
  • an endpoint-based DLP solution for securing data on individual devices, the choice ultimately depends on your organizational requirements. 

However, understanding the differences between these three approaches to data loss prevention can help you make informed decisions regarding your organization's cybersecurity measures. 

Connect with us today to secure your data!

Want to learn more about DLP?

Give these articles a read:

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

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