It is hard to find a business that does not care about its data. Since almost every company nowadays carries a lot of sensitive information like customer’s login and payment details or personal information from employees, data security has become one of the most important questions nowadays. The loss of sensitive data may lead to severe consequences, whether it is a compliance violation, industrial espionage, or accidental mistake.
When it comes to Office 365 data loss prevention, there are multiple ways to lose your essentials. Although, you can find a few methods on how to protect yourself from it. So, let’s dive into it.
What is Data Loss Prevention?
Data loss prevention (DLP) is a set of tools created to protect any important information from being misused and shared illegally. This particular software allows you to create a policy for your regulated, confidential, or business-critical data. Once this policy is violated, the DLP system should immediately react to such incidents with alerts, encryption, or else. It significantly reduces the risk of a data breach, compliance violation (such as the GDPR) and allows you to sleep more peacefully at night.
If you need an example of how much damage data loss can do, take a look at this story. An IT consultant from Carlsbad, California kept a grudge against his former employer. This grudge led him to delete 1,200 of 1,500 Microsoft Office 365 accounts from Carlsbad company’s servers as a revenge. The company lost any access to their emails, documentation, meeting calendars and many more. It costed for the company two days without operating and three months of consequences plus $560,000.
Office 365 has its own Data Loss Prevention system, which is included in the Enterprise subscription. If you are not a fan of in-built solutions, you can always choose a third-party backup solution which may be cheaper and more useful in your specific situation.
However, there are some things that you can do before applying any kind of DLP software. These steps will help you to define your vulnerabilities and come to an understanding of exactly how the data should be stored.
- Check the existing security measures. It is likely that some policies are already applied, so check out the permission limitations, password changing requirements or deleted data storage time.
- Figure out what data you need to keep secure. You may want to document the size, type, location, and format of your data. After that, differentiate between the data vital for business processes and all the rest.
- Once all data is documented, you can revise the access. Your employees or associates shouldn’t have any access to files unrelated to their business functions.
- Stay consistent and vigilant. It is good to understand the risk of human factors and that anything may go wrong at any time. Regular training on cybersecurity will be a good idea.
Inbuilt Office 365 Data Loss Prevention
So, when it comes to creating Office 365 security policies, make sure that it will cover not just email but files and text in SharePoint and OneDrive for Business sites, as well as the other services.
In order to do that, open your Admin center in Office 365 and go to Security & Compliance. Choose Data loss prevention on the left sidebar, then Policy > Create a Policy. Here, you can create your own new policy or use one of the Microsoft prepared templates. Note that Office 365 offers a few pre-built templates for the U.S. organizations like:
- Data subject to the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA)
- Data subject to the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI-DSS)
- The United States personally identifiable information (U.S. PII)
- Data subject to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA)
It may significantly help you to set up a reliable security network. Otherwise, you can go to Advanced Settings and set some specific rules. For example, you may control how many times some certain data can be shared before triggering an alert or block people that may share the access to it.
Here you go — now you can create and apply any security measures that in-built DLP allows within the Office 365 ecosystem. However, you may come to a conclusion that the default DLP is not enough in your case. What should you do then?
Third Party’s DLP
Although Office 365 DLP is a good tool, it still has some limitations. It won’t help against any human mistake, like accidental data deletion. Also, it may be useless against insider threats, incorrect migration, or ransomware. So, external backup may be a strong solution against internal issues.
The main idea behind third-party’s backup tools is to provide even better security service for less money. Modern backup tools allow you to retain your data during indefinite time with different versions of your saved data and saved folder hierarchy. External cloud storage is comfortable when it comes to migration to another ecosystem (like G Suite, for example).
Of course, the final set of tools depends on the software itself, but some benefits are quite common. Usually, the backup tool is just a part of the more significant security platform that provides even more protection solutions. A good example is Spin Technology that has all backup features and offers an advanced ransomware protection built on machine learning algorithms. Such a service may solve your existing security issues for a long time.
As far as data is the lifeblood of any business, it is necessary for everyone to understand how to deal with it properly. It will be even better to automate some policies, limitations, and restrictions to prevent any accidental or intentional actions against any kind of data loss. The more questions you can ask about your data security, the more chances it will stay safe.