Selecting and implementing data protection solutions and processes

A Comprehensive Guide to Building Data Protection Programs: Part 2


In the first part of this data protection program blog series, we outline the initial steps to implementing a data protection program within your environment. The first three phases focus on building your foundation and team, identifying and classifying your data, and defining your specific data protection policies and rules. In this post, we’ll dive into how to select and implement the appropriate solutions and share best practices in monitoring, managing, educating on, and updating your data protection process. So, let’s get started. 

Phase 4 – Select and Implement DLP Solutions 

With the policies and rules defined, data loss prevention (DLP) solutions need to be identified and evaluated based on the requirements previously identified. Conduct a thorough assessment of available DLP technologies, considering factors such as compatibility with existing systems, ease of use, scalability, and the ability to detect both structured and unstructured data. Consider taking part in demonstrations of each of the solutions to evaluate their effectiveness in your specific environment and in performing the tasks outlined in your procedures and rules. 

Once a solution, or solutions, are selected, then it’s time to deploy these into your environment. Implement the chosen DLP solution in phases, starting with areas of highest risk or sensitivity.  Ensure that all relevant systems are covered, including mobile devices and remote workstations, to provide the most comprehensive protection.  

During this phase, the DLP solutions should be integrated with your existing security systems, such as a security information and event management (SIEM) tool, identify and access management (IAM) systems, and encryption tools to enhance your data protection capabilities. You should also automate the sharing of threat intelligence and alerts between systems for seamless coordination.   

Phase 5 – Monitor and Manage Your Data Protection Operations 

Once the proper DLP solutions are in place and integrated with existing toolsets, you will need to set up real-time monitoring. You should implement continuous monitoring capabilities to analyze data usage patterns and detect anomalies that could indicate a data breach or policy violation. These are commonly built-in capabilities of a DLP solution. In addition, implement automated alerts to notify security teams of potential issues in real time. 

Once alerts are automated, it’s important to address your incident response process for such alerts. You should develop a structured incident response plan that includes immediate steps to contain and mitigate data leaks, investigative procedures to understand the breach, and communication strategies for notifying any affected parties and regulatory bodies. 

As part of your incident response process, it’s imperative that you create detailed reports that provide insights into DLP incidents, policy violations, and user activities related to sensitive data. Reporting tools will track trends over time and identify areas for improvement in your data protection strategy. 

Phase 6 – Educate and Train Across the Organization 

While this step isn’t necessarily significant if an organization already has established some forms of user training, it is important to call out to ensure that these policies and procedures are introduced into regular communication and training across all areas of the business. 

During your security awareness training, it will be important to develop engaging training modules that highlight the importance of data security and protection, as well as identify the specific role users play in protecting sensitive information. All employees should then be notified about their responsibilities in safeguarding the organization’s data. The modules should use real-world examples and simulations to help users understand the consequences of data breaches. 

Communicating the new data protection program policies is another step in Phase 6, as these policies should be easily accessible to all users in clear, understandable language. They should be regularly provided to employees and should also be hosted where employees can easily find the most updated policies. You should regularly offer updates on new security threats and best practices for data protection to keep your workforce informed. 

In addition to training and communication provided to your employees, it’s critical that all IT staff and data owners are trained on the specific DLP tools and technologies that were implemented during this process. As these technologies advance, ongoing education should be part of these individuals’ roles and responsibilities. 

Phase 7 – Regularly Review and Update the Data Protection Program 

With the appropriate security policies, toolsets, and training in place, your organization can move to regular auditing and monitoring of its data protection program. Conduct periodic assessments to measure the effectiveness of your data protection program, including compliance rates, the frequency of incidents, and the response time to threats.  

Gather and encourage feedback from all stakeholders, including users, IT staff, and management, to identify challenges and incorporate improvements into the program. As items shift, your organization must stay agile and adaptable to these changes. Embrace innovative solutions and technologies that can enhance your data protection capabilities and align with emerging risks and regulatory changes. 

As changes occur in the regulatory landscape, business operations, or IT infrastructure, it is important to continue to review and update your data protection policies to reflect such changes. Ensure that policy reviews are communicated effectively to all stakeholders across your organization and that training materials are updated accordingly.  

Lastly, stay informed about the advancements across all DLP technologies to assess whether updates or replacements are needed to address new and emerging threats or business changes. Even if your DLP software includes the latest technological advances, ensure the software and solution policies and/or rules are regularly updated to ensure their effectiveness against evolving data security challenges. 


By establishing a solid foundation and team, understanding your intricate data landscape, crafting appropriate data protection policies and rules, implementing robust security measures, and fostering a culture of continuous improvement, organizations can establish a mature data protection program to fortify their defenses against potential data breaches. A mature data protection program is not a destination but a dynamic process that evolves with the organization’s growth, technological advancements, cybersecurity landscape, and regulatory changes. And commitment to this ongoing process is key to safeguarding your organization’s most valuable asset—its data. 

Contact us today if you would like to discuss how we can help your organization build and/or mature your data protection program.