In the information age, "loss prevention" is no longer limited to reducing theft along the supply chain and in retail or office locations. Our most sensitive assets are more likely to be found in databases, email, and files -- rather than in boxes, filing cabinets, and warehouses. From customer lists, payment information, and corporate financials, to product and engineering plans -- the lifeblood of any enterprise is found as much in electronic bits on networks and laptops as in offices, retail stores, manufacturing plants, and shipments.
Although we've long recognized the importance of our digital assets, in recent years it has become increasingly difficult to effectively protect them. We can't simply lock the data away behind walls and guards -- much of its value is directly tied to our ability to easily and seamlessly use it throughout our organizations, and any security that interferes with business process is likely as damaging as the loss it's intended to prevent.
To meet these challenges we have seen the emergence of a new technology: Data Loss Prevention. DLP is designed to protect information assets with minimal interference in business processes. It provides new insights into how information is used, and enforces protective controls to prevent unwanted incidents. It's not perfect, and no technology can completely eliminate information loss, but in combination with appropriate security processes DLP can reduce risk, improve data management practices, and even lower certain compliance costs.