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October 16, 2023
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6
 min read

What is SaaS Data Loss Prevention (DLP)?

Discover the ultimate solution for all your SaaS security needs with SaaS DLP, ensuring comprehensive protection.

What is SaaS Data Loss Prevention (DLP)?
Calendar Icon White
October 16, 2023
Clock Icon
6
 min read

What is SaaS Data Loss Prevention (DLP)?

Discover the ultimate solution for all your SaaS security needs with SaaS DLP, ensuring comprehensive protection.

TL;DR

  • The global cost of cybercrime is projected to reach $10.5 trillion by 2025, highlighting the urgency of robust data protection measures like SaaS DLP.
  • According to a survey by Gartner, 82% of IT leaders believe that cloud-based security solutions, such as SaaS DLP, are more effective than on-premise solutions in protecting data.
  • Data identification and classification, crafting comprehensive data security policies, and educating employees on SaaS DLP best practices and potential risks rank among the practices that can substantially reduce data leaks. 

What Is SaaS Data Loss Prevention?

The rising number of SaaS solutions calls for innovation in security measures. This, indeed, has paved the path for SaaS Data Loss Prevention (SaaS DLP) tools that have become increasingly prominent for safeguarding sensitive information within cloud-based applications. A quick look at the industry tells us that the global cost of cybercrime is projected to reach $10.5 trillion by 2025, highlighting the urgency of robust data protection measures like Data Loss Prevention.

SaaS DLP solutions typically use APIs to connect to SaaS applications and scan data for sensitive information, such as personally identifiable information (PII), financial data, and intellectual property. Once sensitive data is identified, SaaS DLP solutions can take a variety of actions to protect it, such as blocking data from being transferred outside of the organization or encrypting data at rest.

This comprehensive guide delves into the world of SaaS DLP, emphasizing its critical role in SaaS data protection and security. 

Why is a Dedicated DLP Necessary for SaaS Applications?

SaaS DLP is a frontline defense against evolving security threats. As cyber attacks continue to grow in sophistication, it is essential to employ proactive SaaS data protection measures. Regulatory compliance, too, remains a concern for businesses, and SaaS DLP ensures adherence to data protection regulations such as GDPR, HIPAA, and CCPA.

For instance, a recent data breach at a major healthcare provider (HCA Healhcare) exposed patient records, leading to costly legal repercussions. Implementing SaaS DLP could have prevented this breach and the subsequent regulatory fines.

Not all SaaS applications have inbuilt DLP features. Even if it has data classification and protection features, they are not automated. In that case there is a necessity for third-party SaaS DLP integrations that automatically detects, classifies and protects the sensitive data with immediate actions.

SaaS DLP vs. On-Premise Legacy Solutions

Key differences between SaaS DLP and On premise Legacy DLP
SaaS DLP Vs On Premise Legacy DLP

Comparing SaaS DLP to traditional on-premise legacy solutions underscores its advantages. SaaS DLP offers unparalleled accessibility, as it can be accessed from anywhere with an internet connection.

Going by the numbers, according to a survey by Gartner, 82% of IT leaders believe that cloud-based security solutions, such as SaaS DLP, are more effective than on-premise solutions in protecting data.

Next, the scalability of SaaS DLP has emerged as another noteworthy aspect, enabling seamless adaptation to varying data volumes and user counts. Unlike on-premise solutions, which demand physical infrastructure, SaaS DLP is cost-effective and follows a subscription-based pricing model.

Preventing Third-Party Data Breaches with SaaS DLP

A critical concern in the SaaS era is third-party data breaches, where sensitive information is compromised due to vulnerabilities in SaaS applications or associated services. SaaS DLP plays a pivotal role in preventing such breaches.

According to the Verizon 2021 Data Breach Investigations Report, 85% of data breaches involve human errors or social engineering attacks. SaaS DLP can mitigate these risks with,

  • Real-time monitoring
  • Data activity tracking within SaaS applications to identify suspicious behavior indicative of a breach. 
  • Encryption provides an additional layer of SaaS data protection, rendering unauthorized access to data more challenging.

For instance, a financial institution can adopt SaaS DLP and thwart an attempted breach when the system detects an employee trying to download sensitive customer data outside of working hours.

Granular access control ensures only authorized users can access specific data within SaaS applications. Furthermore, behavioral analytics are employed to detect anomalies in user behavior, aiding in identifying insider threats and compromised accounts.

SaaS DLP Implementation Challenges

While SaaS Data Loss Prevention (SaaS DLP) offers significant advantages in terms of data protection, organizations may also encounter several challenges when embarking on their implementation journey.  Here, we delve into the common hurdles faced during the implementation of SaaS DLP solutions and provide insights on how to address them:

1. Integration Complexity

Integrating SaaS DLP with existing SaaS applications and IT infrastructure is complex. Organizations must ensure the integration process is well-planned and executed to avoid disruptions to regular business operations. This challenge can be mitigated by involving experienced IT professionals specializing in SaaS DLP integration.

2. Data Classification Accuracy

Accurate identification and classification of sensitive data are critical for effective SaaS DLP. However, achieving precise data classification can be challenging in organizations with vast and diverse datasets. Inaccuracies in data classification can lead to either overprotection or underprotection of data, potentially hampering business processes.

To address this challenge, organizations should invest in advanced data classification tools and regularly update and refine their data classification policies. Employee training on data classification is also crucial to ensuring data is correctly categorized.

3. False Positives

Overly strict SaaS DLP policies can generate false positives, triggering alerts for legitimate activities. This can lead to alert fatigue and reduced efficiency in incident response. 

Organizations should fine-tune their SaaS DLP policies and rules to minimize false positives. This process involves 

  • identifying and adjusting policy thresholds, 
  • refining content inspection methods and 
  • leveraging machine learning and AI-driven technologies to enhance threat detection and data classification accuracy.

4. Cost Management

While SaaS DLP is often considered cost-effective compared to on-premise solutions, organizations should closely manage subscription costs. As data volumes grow, costs can increase substantially. Implementing cost controls, such as monitoring and optimizing SaaS DLP licensing, is essential. Additionally, regularly reviewing the effectiveness of SaaS DLP measures can help identify cost-saving opportunities.

5. Evolving Threat Landscape

The cybersecurity landscape is in a constant state of flux, with new threats emerging regularly. Organizations must keep their SaaS DLP strategies up to date to address these evolving threats effectively. This involves staying informed about the latest cybersecurity trends, collaborating with security experts, and regularly reviewing and enhancing SaaS DLP policies and technologies.

Navigating these SaaS DLP implementation challenges requires a strategic approach, proactive planning, and an ongoing commitment to data security. And this is where Strac steps in. Strac addresses these hurdles effectively, and allows organizations to maximize the benefits of SaaS DLP while minimizing potential obstacles.

SaaS Data Loss Prevention (DLP) Best Practices

Here are the best practices for SaaS Data Loss Prevention:

  • Data Identification and Classification
  • Data Security Policies
  • User Education
  • Regular Monitoring and Auditing
  • Incident Response Plan
  • Encryption
Best preactices for SaaS data loss prevention
SaaS Data loss Prevention Best Practices

Data Identification and Classification

Effective SaaS DLP begins with clearly understanding your organization's data landscape. By clearly defining what constitutes sensitive data, you can focus your efforts on safeguarding the most critical assets. This process involves considering various factors, such as data type, access permissions, and potential impact on the organization if the data were compromised.

Learn More : Sensitive Data Classification

Data Security Policies

Crafting comprehensive data loss prevention policies form the foundation of SaaS DLP. These policies outline the rules and access controls governing data usage within your SaaS applications. Your policies should also specify what actions are allowed, the circumstances under which data can be shared, and how data should be handled throughout its lifecycle. These policies act as a roadmap for data protection and guide your organization's behavior in maintaining security.

User Education

Employees are often the first line of defense against data breaches. Educating them on SaaS DLP best practices and potential risks empowers them to make informed decisions when handling sensitive information. 

Regular training and awareness programs are crucial components of user education. Employees should be familiar with the types of data they handle, understand the importance of adhering to data security policies, and recognize common tactics cybercriminals use to compromise data. The goal is to create a security-conscious workforce that actively contributes to SaaS DLP efforts.

Regular Monitoring and Auditing

Regular monitoring and auditing of data activities within your SaaS applications allow you to detect and respond to potential threats promptly. Monitoring involves real-time data access and usage tracking, while auditing entails reviewing historical data and access logs. Both practices help identify unusual behavior, unauthorized access, or policy violations. By establishing a proactive monitoring and auditing system, you can address security incidents as they occur and take preventive measures to reduce future risks.

Incident Response Plan

A well-defined incident response plan provides a roadmap for how to react during a data breach. It ensures that everyone in your organization knows their role in mitigating the impact of a security incident. 

Your incident response plan should include clear escalation procedures, communication protocols, and steps for containing and resolving the breach. Regularly test and update your plan to ensure it effectively addresses evolving threats. 

A robust incident response strategy minimizes the potential damage from a breach and demonstrates your commitment to SaaS data protection to stakeholders and regulators.

Encryption

Implementing encryption ensures that even if unauthorized access occurs, the data remains unreadable. It's a critical aspect of SaaS DLP to protect data both in transit and at rest. 

Sensitive Data Encryption

Encryption algorithms transform data into ciphertext, which can only be decrypted with the corresponding keys. Encrypting sensitive data adds an additional layer of security, especially when data is being transmitted over networks or stored on cloud-based servers. 

Ensuring that encryption standards and protocols recommended for cloud-based environments are applied is fundamental to SaaS DLP.

SaaS Data Loss Prevention

These expanded best practices collectively create a robust SaaS DLP framework that safeguards sensitive data, maintains compliance, and fortifies your organization's security posture within the realm of cloud-based SaaS applications. One of the best tools in the segment that hits the pain points hard is Strac. 

Want to learn more about Strac?

Check out our API docs, and to explore more, book a demo now!

Read our other resources on DLP

Founding Engineer. Ex-Amazon Payments Security Engineer for 10 years.

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