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Definition

data loss prevention (DLP)

Data loss prevention (DLP) is a strategy for making sure that end users do not send sensitive or critical information outside the corporate network. The term is also used to describe software products that help a network administrator control what data end users can transfer.

DLP software products use business rules to classify and protect confidential and critical information so that unauthorized end users cannot accidentally or maliciously share data whose disclosure could put the organization at risk. For example, if an employee tried to forward a business email outside the corporate domain or upload a corporate file to a consumer cloud storage service like Dropbox, the employee would be denied permission.

Adoption of DLP is being driven by insider threats and by more rigorous state privacy laws, many of which have stringent data protection or access components. In addition to being able to monitor and control endpoint activities, some DLP tools can also be used to filter data streams on the corporate network and protect data in motion.

DLP products may also be referred to as data leak prevention, information loss prevention or extrusion prevention products.

Related term: data loss

This was last updated in October 2014

Next Steps

In this Buyers Guide series, gain a better understanding on how to deploy data loss prevention products and how they work, learn how and when to deploy data loss prevention products, get criteria for comparing and  choosing the right data loss prevention product, hand learn how to create an enterprise data classification policy.

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@dlpsoftware: There is quite more difference between data leak & data loss prevention.
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Thanks for the information!!!

Keep writing :)
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Data loss will always have some risks. In order for your employees to do their jobs some need greater access to the data. In this case if comes down to trust. Can you be assured that they do not load data to removable media and take it out the front door ? IF you have happy employees yo may have no issue. It's the angry disgruntled worker I'd be afraid of.
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The main my research purpose is when customer has to deploying DLP as their one of important compliance tool? Who is the right vendor which will be adapted as major role? How customer makes their own rule set?
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