Data Discovery Features Make DLP Smarter

By Lawrence Walsh  |  Print this article Print


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Data loss prevention (DLP) technology remains relatively immature, as most products on the market only address the risk of known data in motion. New data discovery features are making DLP products smarter by helping organizations find data where it lives.

Data loss prevention (DLP) or, as it was originally called "data leak prevention," has been more of a promise than a reality. Many of the products on the shelf today are designed as the data equivalents of antivirus pattern matching to detect the emailing or streaming of common data sets, such as Social Security and credit card numbers.

The challenge for DLP vendors is their technology is basically limited by the same challenges posed to automated encryption and data policy enforcement tools; that they can catch simple data sets that are easily recognized, but have a difficult time detecting complex data strings and data sets that are more contextual in nature. As with earlier attempts to stanch the flow of sensitive information outside the perimeter, the challenge remains how to effectively classify the data without completely relying on the user to self-select.

Need remains the necessity, though, as reported by The Burton Group in its new report "Enhancing Compliance and Audit with Database Activity Monitoring," in that DLP vendors are now adding discovery tools to their products. Rather than just having DLP wait for data to go into motion to determine if it should be blocked, new DLP discovery tools are hunting sensitive data at rest and helping security administrators apply appropriate classifications.

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Lawrence Walsh Lawrence Walsh is editor of Baseline magazine, overseeing print and online editorial content and the strategic direction of the publication. He is also a regular columnist for Ziff Davis Enterprise's Channel Insider. Mr. Walsh is well versed in IT technology and issues, and he is an expert in IT security technologies and policies, managed services, business intelligence software and IT reseller channels. An award-winning journalist, Mr. Walsh has served as editor of CMP Technology's VARBusiness and GovernmentVAR magazines, and TechTarget's Information Security magazine. He has written hundreds of articles, analyses and commentaries on the development of reseller businesses, the IT marketplace and managed services, as well as information security policy, strategy and technology. Prior to his magazine career, Mr. Walsh was a newspaper editor and reporter, having held editorial positions at the Boston Globe, MetroWest Daily News, Brockton Enterprise and Community Newspaper Company.

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