Key Criteria for Evaluating Data Loss Prevention (DLP) Solutionsv3.0

An Evaluation Guide for Technology Decision-Makers

Table of Contents

  1. Summary
  2. DLP Primer
  3. Report Methodology
  4. Decision Criteria Analysis
  5. Evaluation Metrics
  6. Key Criteria: Impact Analysis
  7. Analyst’s Take
  8. About Paul Stringfellow

1. Summary

Data is a precious resource for today’s enterprises, and preventing data loss is of paramount importance. The cost of data loss is significant and its impact wide ranging: it can be technical (with loss of services impacting operations), reputational (impacting relationships and future business opportunity), and/or financial (both loss of business and regulatory fines).

At the same time, organizations can’t just lock their data away. Data needs to be in the right location at the right time. It must be portable and remain available for internal use and external collaboration. However, each location where data must be available are all potential vectors for data loss.

The amount of data and the complexity of managing and securing that data pose a major challenge. To effectively reduce the risk of data loss, organizations need to develop comprehensive usage policies, provide awareness training for their employees, and support these procedures with a data loss prevention (DLP) solution.

Data loss impacts the entire business, so finding the right DLP solution to underpin a data security strategy requires business thinking to solve. Important considerations when evaluating solutions include:

  • Data location: Tools should cover the range of locations where data might exist in an organization. These locations include on-premises, in the cloud, in SaaS solutions, at endpoints, and in mobile devices.
  • Contextual awareness: It’s important that tools apply context to how data is used rather than rely solely on classifications and sensitive data types.
  • Insider risk awareness: Many solutions can identify suspicious internal activity, but not all can take action to mitigate the risk of data loss when suspicious behavior is flagged.
  • Audio/video/image data exfiltration: This is an emerging technology but one that’s becoming increasingly important for DLP tools to support to prevent sensitive data from leaving the organization.

This is the third year that GigaOm has reported on the DLP space. This report builds on our previous analyses and considers how the market has evolved over the last year.

This GigaOm Key Criteria report details the capabilities (table stakes, key criteria, and emerging technologies) and non-functional requirements (evaluation metrics) for selecting an effective DLP solution. The companion GigaOm Radar report identifies vendors and products that excel in those capabilities and metrics. Together, these reports provide an overview of the category and its underlying technology, identify leading DLP offerings, and help decision-makers evaluate these solutions so they can make a more informed investment decision.

How to Read this Report

This GigaOm report is one of a series of documents that helps IT organizations assess competing solutions in the context of well-defined features and criteria. For a fuller understanding, consider reviewing the following reports:

Key Criteria report: A detailed market sector analysis that assesses the impact that key product features and criteria have on top-line solution characteristics—such as scalability, performance, and TCO—that drive purchase decisions.

GigaOm Radar report: A forward-looking analysis that plots the relative value and progression of vendor solutions along multiple axes based on strategy and execution. The Radar report includes a breakdown of each vendor’s offering in the sector.

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