The 7 Deadly Sins of Cloud Data Loss Prevention

By on Sep 22, 2014

It’s good to learn from your mistakes. It’s even better to learn from the mistakes of others. McAfee (formerly Skyhigh Networks) has some of the security world’s most seasoned data loss prevention (DLP) experts who’ve spent the last decade building DLP solutions and helping customers implement them. So, we thought we’d pick their brains, uncover some of the most common missteps they’ve seen IT make when rolling out DLP in practice, and share them so you can avoid the mistakes of IT practitioners past.

In this piece, we specifically address mistakes when rolling out DLP to protect data in the cloud. So without further ado — the 7 deadly sins of Cloud DLP:

  1. Lust – It’s natural to be tempted by the allure of cloud DLP. However, make sure that your cloud DLP deployment preserves the actual functionality of your cloud applications. You don’t want to break the native cloud applications’ behavior. For example, let’s say your DLP solution has detected sensitive content in Box and enforces it via encryption. Your end users should still be able to preview documents, perform searches, and overall have a seamless experience even with cloud DLP in place.
  2. Greed – Cloud applications can contain enormous amounts of information – in some cases, glittering terabytes of data. However, as with traditional on-premise DLP, there’s no need to try and scan everything all at once. We recommend filtering on user attributes (group, geography, employee type, etc.) as well as on sharing permissions (i.e. externally vs internally) and prioritizing high-risk documents.
  3. Envy – Do your employees envy others who have the ability to do their work and access cloud apps from anywhere they are? Companies are increasingly embracing the BYOD trend, and cloud DLP helps to enable that. Tame the green-eyed monster at your organization by letting cloud DLP catch all activity regardless of where the user is located, what operating system they’re using, and if they’re on-network or off-network – without the hassle of VPN.
  4. Gluttony – Don’t overreach and accidentally intrude on user privacy during your DLP consumption. Security teams oftentimes have access to very sensitive information, but their access should be limited to business traffic. Make sure your cloud DLP practices do not involve sniffing personal traffic (such as employees’ use of Facebook, their activity on personal banking sites, etc).
  5. Wrath – Avoid the wrath of employees and don’t let your cloud DLP solution negatively impact the user experience. Your employees should be able to seamlessly access and use cloud applications and enjoy the rapid responsiveness they’re accustomed to. Forward-proxies, especially when used for scanning a large amount of traffic, can cause lag and performance issues that are visible (and irritating) to the end user.
  6. Pride – Having strong DLP technology, processes, and people in place is something to be proud of. However, not all cloud DLP solutions are created equal. Keep your cloud DLP program running smoothly by avoiding solutions that require you to deploy agents and install certificates – an operational nightmare. And certain cloud apps, such as Dropbox and Google Drive, will detect the man-in-the-middle and refuse to work as designed.
  7. Sloth – This is where it pays off to be a little lazy. Let your cloud DLP provider integrate with your existing enterprise DLP solution. There’s no reason to re-work the efforts you’ve put into the people, processes, and technology. Look for a vendor that will extend your existing on-premise DLP policies to the cloud.

Cloud DLP is rapidly becoming a priority for security and compliance teams. As you evaluate solutions, be sure to keep these mistakes in mind. To learn more about McAfee’s Cloud DLP capabilities, check out our cheat sheet.

Cloud DLP Cheat Sheet

Cloud DLP Cheat Sheet

Download this Cheat Sheet to learn about cloud DLP best practices to ensure your organization meets internal and external compliance requirements.

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McAfee Cloud BU

Learn about cloud threats, the latest cloud security technologies, and the leading approaches for protecting data in cloud services.

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