By Charles Leaver

5 tips for successfully preventing data leakage

Data leaks can occur through many avenues, including unauthorized access to databases, employee negligence or other security breaches. Due to the many ways information loss can happen, companies should be prepared to prevent data leakage at all costs.

The following are several tips any organization can utilize for data leak prevention:

1) Prepare ahead of time
Companies should recognize the data and systems in need of the most protection and employ data loss prevention systems to ensure the safety of their sensitive information, according to a recent report from The Wall Street Journal. Furthermore, thorough background checks should be completed on employees before giving them high level access to secured information.

2) Monitor access and activity
Businesses should keep a close eye on what information is being shared with partners, suppliers and customers, according to Computerworld. Since many companies have a multitude of endpoints, it is vital to monitor the traffic on all networks.

Administrators should especially watch databases, which can contain extremely sensitive information that would be especially damaging to a company if leaked. Computerworld suggested employing database monitoring tools which enable businesses to supervise database access and activity. Such software monitors and notifies administrators of certain database activity, including when an employee downloads, copies, deletes or modifies any information.

3) Encryption
If they have not already done so, organizations should put all sensitive information under the protection of an encryption code, stated Computerworld. While Dark Reading pointed out that some encryptions can blind certain gateway security products, tech-savvy employees can utilize encrypted network transmission methods like SSH/SCP to prevent this problem.

4) Lock down the network
Two of the most common ways data is leaked are through email and the Web, and thus these should be a primary focus for data leak prevention, Dark Reading stated. Whether it’s an employee who accidentally sent an email to the wrong address or a malicious hacker accessing information through a Web portal, having network security that covers these channels is absolutely vital.

5) Endpoint security
In today’s technological age of BYOD, where more employees utilize personal mobile devices for work purposes, endpoint management is an essential part of company security. Computerworld stated businesses should have the ability to centrally control and monitor personal devices connected to corporate networks.

Industry expert Alex Bakman said without such endpoint protection, data breaches can go unrecognized for a long time.

“When it comes right down to it, very few companies have put in place effective controls that enable them to monitor internal systems closely and allow them to follow the movement of data,” Bakman said.

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