Data Loss Prevention on a Budget: Saving Without Compromise (Strategic Spending Insights)

The deployment of Data Loss Prevention (DLP) systems can be expensive, encompassing not only the cost of software licenses but also the necessary hardware. With hardware prices on the rise, DLP providers are adjusting their applications to be more cost-effective by minimizing resource requirements.

However, the expenses do not stop at hardware; there are numerous other challenges to consider. DLP solutions that minimize additional costs – such as those for hardware, supplementary software, and the like – tend to be more advantageous.

Drawing on my experience with DLP systems, I have gathered numerous insights and would like to share some tips on how to save money.

Some Problems of DLP Systems and How to Save Money When Choosing Them

Optimizing software is a complex, multi-step journey, especially challenging if the software was not built with efficiency in mind from the start. This is a common struggle many DLP vendors face, leading to customers experiencing issues because of flawed or controversial solution architecture. Here are a few problems that DLP systems might have:

1) Inefficient Data Storage

DLP systems are known for their “hungry” nature; they handle massive amounts of traffic and store vast quantities of data, including bulky files like audio, video, and graphics. If left unchecked and everything is kept “as is,” it will not take long to realize that the system always needs more storage space, which seems to be perpetually insufficient. This impacts the software’s performance and digs deep into the customer’s wallet.

What to Consider When Selecting a DLP

A good DLP system should offer a wide range of storage management options, from customizable manual settings and filters to automatic cleaning algorithms that constantly keep the storage tidy.

The importance of having numerous filters, exceptions, and other nuanced settings cannot be overstated here. You should be able to fine-tune every aspect. The system should allow for configurations that, for example, enable video recording exclusively during work hours or opt for audit-only modes without creating shadow copies of files.

Ideally, there should be automated features to prevent storage overflow, such as automatically removing old archived incidents after a certain period. The system must be able to implement deduplication across all data monitoring channels, ensuring that each email and attachment is stored only once, even if they are forwarded or sent to multiple recipients.

Audio and video recordings take up the most space in the archive. The system needs to support a variety of bitrates and codecs to compress these large files. For video, it should be possible to record at a lower quality or in black and white to save space or use a Voice Activity Detection (VAD) algorithm for audio to record only when speech is detected.

Additionally, the system should be able to transfer some files to slower, less expensive disks for long-term storage. For example, you can send archived data, like intercepted communications not regularly used by a cybersecurity expert, to this storage. By using slower, more affordable disks and tweaking the RAID setup, the cost of archiving can be slashed to as much as one-tenth of what it costs for day-to-day storage.

2) Many Servers with Diverse OS and DBMS

Some DLP systems are somewhat like Frankenstein’s creations: they are pieced together from different modules, each handling a specific task. Traffic analysis might be one component, while user activity monitoring is another. Often, these pieces originate from various vendors and are combined to form a single solution. Since they were designed by different teams in different settings, their compatibility is somewhat makeshift. This leads to scenarios where, for example, the system might need two servers (one running Linux, the other Windows) with different database management systems. Add two agents per user computer to this mix, and you have a recipe for doubling the workload on endpoints, which can hamper productivity.

What to Consider When Selecting a DLP

Ensure that the DLP provider has independently developed all components from the start, ensuring they operate cohesively in the same environment and meet security compliance standards. Ideally, even diverse products, like DLP and DCAP, should function efficiently with a single agent, share a server, and run on one operating system and database management system.

3) Agent-Only Data Processing

Agent-based processing can boost the speed of critical actions, like blocking data on transmission channels, a key feature of DLP systems aimed at preventing leaks. Computations via agents grant the system a degree of autonomy and conserve server resources since the server processes only events triggered by security policies. This also eliminates the need to capture all traffic, enabling parallel processing across as many threads as there are PCs involved. However, there are a few caveats. Firstly, you might miss incidents that are not covered by existing policies. Secondly, if not implemented carefully, such an agent could burden user PCs, slowing them down by consuming device resources.

What to Consider When Selecting a DLP

Take a look at how flexible the configuration options are, including where checks can be performed – either centrally on the server or directly on a PC. For example, you should be able to block emails based on their content using either the agents or the server, depending on what suits your needs best at the time. In addition, it is good if the processing of large media files can be transferred to a separate core that works independently without hogging the main system’s resources.

Agents actually improve performance and reduce the load on servers, a benefit that is particularly evident with large corporations. It would be best if you had both options to understand what works best for your situation.

4) Numerous System Administration Interfaces

When DLP solutions first hit the market, vendors usually focus on rapidly expanding their features to support as many data transmission channels as possible. This approach can lead to a scenario where the program operates with five different consoles, with nearly every interception module managed through its unique interface.

What to Consider When Selecting a DLP

Look for a product that brings everything together, both in its desktop and web versions. Analytics and management should be accessible from a single interface.

Also, it is crucial that all components work smoothly on the same server. A powerful server should suffice for both medium and large-scale deployments (up to 1000 PCs), often eliminating the need for a separate storage system.

Having visual metrics is also a big plus, allowing you to effortlessly keep tabs on everything from indexes and databases to server configurations and the search engine’s performance.

More Tips for Cost and Resource Savings in DLP Deployment

– Clustering

Beyond being compact, a DLP system must be stable and perform well, especially for large-scale setups. It is vital for the system to support clustering across all components, allowing tasks to be processed by multiple nodes at the same time.

The idea is that processing smaller chunks of data in parallel speeds things up. This way, every piece of the system can handle multiple tasks. Imagine a company buys a high-powered server specifically for OCR tasks. However, the need to parse a 200-page PDF document might only come up once a month, leaving expensive hardware mostly unused. To avoid such inefficiency, the system could reroute some jobs to the underused server, such as moving some messages from the email quarantine. This approach boosts the efficiency of each part of the system. Moreover, optimizing a DLP system for efficiency is more feasible on VPS hosting, as resources can be dynamically allocated according to the software’s requirements.

– Free-to-Use Options

Getting a DLP system often means shelling out for a paid Windows Server OS and Microsoft SQL Server DBMS. While many clients prefer this setup, it is not obligatory for everyone. You can find a vendor that offers server components compatible with Linux and supports free server OSes. In such scenarios, for example, you can take advantage of free, open-source solutions like PostgreSQL, MySQL, and others.

It would be good if the product could work seamlessly with both a commercial Microsoft SQL Server and a free database management system. This flexibility allows you to leverage any existing investments without the need to spend more on new licenses.

– Strategic Resource Allocation

You may try to team up with cybersecurity companies or academic institutions offering free DLP services or at a discounted rate. Additionally, investing in employee training is crucial for effectively implementing and managing DLP systems, further safeguarding against data breaches while optimizing resource use. Companies could also look into using invoice factoring to improve their cash flow, enabling them to put more money back into their cybersecurity systems and staff.


Implementing a DLP system can be a significant financial commitment for businesses. Customers need to invest in hardware, licenses, and cloud services. However, with strategic data storage and efficient usage, there is less need to upgrade hardware frequently.

A unified system that avoids the pitfalls of piecing together disparate modules from different vendors can reduce the workload on endpoints and ensure compatibility. Opting for a solution that supports both paid and free database systems allows businesses to leverage existing investments without incurring additional costs. Agent-based processing and clustering enhance performance and autonomy. Moreover, choosing a system with a streamlined interface simplifies administration and improves usability.

The key takeaway? Making a wise choice is crucial. It pays to select a DLP system developer known for successful architecture that meets customer needs – especially those looking to economize.

The post Data Loss Prevention on a Budget: Saving Without Compromise (Strategic Spending Insights) appeared first on Datafloq.

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