Marketers should strategize for data loss prevention: Ironport study

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As data loss continues to grow, prevention is a serious issue for companies, according to a new report by e-mail services firm Ironport Systems Inc.

In a new report titled "Data Loss Prevention Best Practices, Managing Sensitive Data in the Enterprise," IronPort Systems, a business unit of Cisco, delineates best practices that companies can use to prevent leaks and to be compliant.

"We are seeing more and more complications in being compliant with data loss prevention," said Tom Gillis, SVP of marketing at IronPort Systems. "We focus on data in motion, or data that is transferred over the Internet and came up with a set of best practices for companies to follow to make sure that their information is not being stolen."

Whether it's e-mail, instant messaging, a Web site form or a file transfer, electronic communications that are unmonitored have the potential for confidential information to be stolen. To address these issues, Ironport created a best practices checklist to help marketers deal with these systems.

The first step towards solving the data loss problem is to develop an understanding and inventory of the types of sensitive data that exist within the organization and what policies are needed to control and enforce how that data can be shared.

Secondly, the report urges marketers to focus on all areas of data loss prevention starting with the most vulnerable areas.

In addition, the report encourages marketers to use data loss prevention software that tracks policy violations and includes multi-protocol monitoring and prevention, content-level analysis of all major file and attachment types, selective blocking and/or quarantining of messages and automatic enforcement of corporate encryption policies. This software should be unobtrusive, so that consumers need not concern themselves with any extra steps.

Finally, according to the report, a data loss prevention platform should include detailed reports of all suspected violations. Administrators and policy officers should have the ability to receive reports outlining detected violations including information such as the message sender, contents, attachments, intended recipients and information about the violating content.

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