Data Loss Prevention in SharePoint: Best Practices and Strategies

By JJ Rosen July 19, 2023
Data Loss Prevention in SharePoint: Best Practices and Strategies

Data loss prevention is an essential aspect of data security that organizations must prioritize. It involves implementing policies and procedures to prevent sensitive data from being lost, stolen, or compromised. With the increasing threats to data security, data loss prevention has become more critical than ever before.

SharePoint is a popular collaboration platform that allows organizations to store, share, and manage data. It provides a range of features and functionalities that make it ideal for organizations of all sizes. However, with the increasing amount of data being stored on SharePoint, it has become more vulnerable to data loss and security breaches. As a result, data loss prevention has become a crucial aspect of SharePoint management.

Implementing data loss prevention policies and procedures in SharePoint can help organizations protect their sensitive data from loss or theft. It involves identifying and classifying sensitive data, monitoring data usage, and enforcing policies to prevent unauthorized access or sharing of data. With the right data loss prevention strategies in place, organizations can ensure the security and integrity of their data on SharePoint.

Understanding Data Loss Prevention

Data Loss Prevention Basics

Data loss prevention is a set of tools and policies that help organizations prevent sensitive information from being disclosed to unauthorized parties. These tools can be used to monitor and control data in motion, data at rest, and data in use. Data loss prevention policies can be used to detect and prevent unauthorized access to sensitive data, as well as to prevent accidental data leaks.

To implement data loss prevention, organizations need to identify the sensitive data that needs to be protected. This can include personal information, financial data, intellectual property, and other types of sensitive information. Once the sensitive data has been identified, organizations can create policies that define how the data should be protected.

Data loss prevention policies can be used to monitor data in real-time, as well as to scan data at rest. These policies can be used to detect and prevent unauthorized access to sensitive data, as well as to prevent accidental data leaks. Data loss prevention policies can also be used to enforce encryption and other security measures to protect sensitive data.

Microsoft Purview Data Loss Prevention

Microsoft Purview is a cloud-based data governance solution that includes data loss prevention capabilities. With Microsoft Purview, organizations can create policies that define how sensitive data should be protected. These policies can be used to monitor data in real-time, as well as to scan data at rest.

Microsoft Purview includes a variety of built-in policies that can be used to protect sensitive data across Microsoft 365 services such as Teams, Exchange, SharePoint, and OneDrive accounts. These policies can be customized to meet the specific needs of an organization.

In addition to data loss prevention policies, Microsoft Purview also includes tools for data discovery, data cataloging, and data lineage. These tools can be used to identify sensitive data, track data usage, and ensure compliance with data protection regulations.

Overall, data loss prevention is an essential component of any organization’s data protection strategy. By implementing data loss prevention policies and tools, organizations can ensure that sensitive data is protected from unauthorized access and accidental leaks. With Microsoft Purview, organizations can take advantage of powerful data loss prevention capabilities to protect their sensitive data across Microsoft 365 services.

SharePoint and Data Loss Prevention

At our organization, we recognize the importance of protecting sensitive information within SharePoint. To achieve this, we have implemented data loss prevention (DLP) policies that allow us to identify, monitor, and automatically protect sensitive items across our site collections.

SharePoint DLP Policies

SharePoint DLP policies are a set of rules that are defined and applied to identify and protect sensitive information within SharePoint. These policies can be created and managed from the SharePoint admin center or using PowerShell.

To create an effective SharePoint DLP policy, we need to understand the different components that make up the policy. These components include policy rules, policy tips, actions, and exceptions. By configuring these components, we can define the conditions under which sensitive information is identified and protected.

Sensitive Information in SharePoint

Sensitive information within SharePoint can include anything from financial data to personal identifiable information (PII). To protect this information, we need to identify it and apply appropriate protection measures.

One way to identify sensitive information within SharePoint is by using DLP queries. These queries can be used to scan SharePoint site collections for sensitive information based on predefined conditions. Once detected, we can then apply protection measures such as blocking access or encrypting the data.

Another way to protect sensitive information within SharePoint is by using sensitivity labels. Sensitivity labels can be applied to documents and other content within SharePoint to classify them according to their level of sensitivity. This classification can then be used to apply protection measures such as encryption or access restrictions.

In conclusion, SharePoint DLP policies are an essential tool for protecting sensitive information within SharePoint. By understanding the different components of these policies and using tools such as DLP queries and sensitivity labels, we can effectively identify and protect sensitive information within our organization.

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Working with DLP Policies

When it comes to data loss prevention in SharePoint, DLP policies are a crucial aspect to consider. These policies help us identify, monitor, and protect sensitive information in SharePoint. In this section, we will cover the basics of working with DLP policies.

Creating DLP Policies

To create a DLP policy in SharePoint, we need to follow a few steps:

  1. Go to the SharePoint admin center.
  2. Click on “Policies” in the left-hand menu.
  3. Click on “Data loss prevention” and then “Create a policy”.
  4. Choose the type of information to protect and the actions to take when sensitive information is found.
  5. Set up the policy tips and alerts (more on this in the next section).
  6. Save the policy.

It’s important to note that DLP policies can be complex, so it’s essential to plan ahead and involve stakeholders to ensure the policy is effective.

Policy Tips and Alerts

Policy tips and alerts are essential components of DLP policies in SharePoint. Policy tips are notifications that appear when users are about to share sensitive information, while alerts notify administrators when sensitive information has been shared.

To set up policy tips and alerts, we need to follow these steps:

  1. Go to the SharePoint admin center and click on “Policies”.
  2. Click on “Data loss prevention” and then select the policy we want to edit.
  3. Under “Policy tip settings,” we can customize the message that appears when users are about to share sensitive information.
  4. Under “Alerts,” we can set up notifications for when sensitive information is shared.

It’s important to note that policy tips and alerts can help us identify potential security risks and take action before any data loss occurs.

Policy Tips

Here are some policy tips to keep in mind when working with DLP policies in SharePoint:

  • Involve stakeholders in the planning process to ensure the policy is effective.
  • Regularly review and update the policy to ensure it’s up-to-date with the latest security threats.
  • Train users on the importance of data security and how to identify and handle sensitive information.
  • Use clear and concise language in policy tips to ensure users understand the risks of sharing sensitive information.

By following these policy tips, we can ensure our DLP policies are effective in preventing data loss in SharePoint.

Protecting Sensitive Information

At our organization, we take data loss prevention seriously. SharePoint is a powerful tool for sharing information, but it’s also important to ensure that sensitive information is protected. In this section, we will discuss how we protect sensitive information in SharePoint.

Sensitive Information Types

To protect sensitive information, it’s important to identify what types of information are considered sensitive. At our organization, we use Microsoft Purview Data Loss Prevention (DLP) policies to identify and protect sensitive items. These policies can use classification properties or item properties to identify sensitive information types, such as credit card numbers, social security numbers, and confidential company information.

Information Protection

Once we have identified the sensitive information types, we can take steps to protect that information. SharePoint provides several tools for protecting information, including:

  • Permissions: By setting permissions on sites, lists, and libraries, we can control who has access to sensitive information.
  • Encryption: SharePoint can encrypt data at rest and in transit, ensuring that sensitive information is protected.
  • Data Loss Prevention: As mentioned earlier, we use DLP policies to automatically protect sensitive items across Microsoft 365 services and other cloud apps.

Compliance

Compliance is an important consideration when it comes to protecting sensitive information. SharePoint provides several features to help us maintain compliance, including:

  • Auditing: SharePoint can track and log user activity, allowing us to monitor who has accessed sensitive information.
  • Retention Policies: We can set retention policies to ensure that sensitive information is retained for the appropriate amount of time and then disposed of properly.
  • eDiscovery: SharePoint provides tools for eDiscovery, allowing us to search for and retrieve sensitive information as needed for legal or compliance reasons.

In conclusion, protecting sensitive information in SharePoint requires a multi-faceted approach that includes identifying sensitive information types, using information protection tools like permissions and encryption, and maintaining compliance through auditing, retention policies, and eDiscovery. By taking these steps, we can ensure that our sensitive information is protected and secure.

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Data Classification and Labeling

Data classification and labeling are essential components of any data loss prevention strategy. By categorizing data based on its sensitivity, we can better understand how to protect it and prevent unauthorized access.

Understanding Sensitivity Labels

Sensitivity labels are a critical part of data classification. They allow us to categorize data based on its level of sensitivity, such as public, confidential, or highly confidential. Sensitivity labels can be applied to documents, emails, and other types of content.

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With sensitivity labels, we can control who has access to sensitive information and how that information is handled. For example, we can restrict access to highly confidential documents to only a select group of users or require additional security measures, such as multi-factor authentication, before allowing access.

Mapping and Categories of Sensitive Information

To effectively use sensitivity labels, we need to understand the mapping and categories of sensitive information. Mapping involves identifying where sensitive information is stored and how it is accessed. This can include email, file shares, SharePoint sites, and other locations.

Categories of sensitive information can vary depending on the organization and industry. For example, healthcare organizations may have different categories of sensitive information than financial institutions. Some common categories of sensitive information include personal information, financial data, and intellectual property.

By mapping and categorizing sensitive information, we can better understand where our most critical data is located and how to protect it. This information can also help us develop policies and procedures for handling sensitive data.

Overall, data classification and labeling are critical components of any data loss prevention strategy. By using sensitivity labels and understanding the mapping and categories of sensitive information, we can better protect our data and prevent unauthorized access.

Preventing Data Loss in Microsoft 365

As businesses continue to migrate to the cloud, data loss prevention (DLP) has become a critical concern. Microsoft 365 provides a comprehensive DLP solution that can help us protect sensitive data from being shared or leaked. In this section, we will discuss how to prevent data loss in Microsoft 365.

DLP Rules and Actions

DLP rules are the cornerstone of our DLP strategy. We can create rules to identify and protect sensitive data across Microsoft 365 services, such as Teams, OneDrive, and SharePoint. DLP rules can be based on predefined templates or customized to meet our specific needs.

Once we have defined our DLP rules, we can take actions to prevent data loss. For example, we can block access to sensitive data, quarantine emails that contain sensitive information, or notify users when they are about to share sensitive data.

It is important to note that DLP rules and actions are not foolproof. Users can still find ways to circumvent them, intentionally or unintentionally. Therefore, it is crucial to educate our users about the importance of data protection and provide them with the necessary tools and resources to do so.

Teams and OneDrive DLP

Teams and OneDrive are two popular collaboration tools in Microsoft 365. They allow users to share files and communicate with each other in real-time. However, they also pose a risk of data loss if not properly managed.

To prevent data loss in Teams, we can create DLP policies that apply to Teams chats and channels. We can define rules to detect and protect sensitive information, such as credit card numbers or social security numbers. We can also block file uploads or restrict external access to Teams.

Similarly, in OneDrive, we can create DLP policies that apply to files and folders. We can define rules to detect and protect sensitive information, such as financial data or confidential reports. We can also restrict sharing or prevent users from downloading files to unmanaged devices.

In conclusion, preventing data loss in Microsoft 365 requires a multi-layered approach. We need to define DLP rules and actions, educate our users, and use the right tools and resources to protect sensitive data. By doing so, we can minimize the risk of data loss and ensure that our business remains secure.

Compliance and Regulatory Requirements

As we strive to maintain data integrity and prevent data loss, it is essential to consider compliance and regulatory requirements. These requirements are often industry-specific and can vary from region to region. Failure to comply with these regulations can result in significant legal and financial consequences. In this section, we will discuss the Compliance Policy Center, Industry Regulations, and Requirements.

Compliance Policy Center

SharePoint provides a Compliance Policy Center that enables organizations to manage compliance policies centrally. The Compliance Policy Center allows us to create, publish, and manage policies that help ensure compliance with regulatory requirements. We can also use the Compliance Policy Center to monitor policy usage and track policy violations.

Industry Regulations and Requirements

Different industries have different regulations and requirements that organizations must comply with. For example, healthcare organizations must comply with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), while financial institutions must comply with the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX) and the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA). Failure to comply with these regulations can result in significant legal and financial consequences.

It is essential to understand the regulatory requirements that apply to our organization and ensure that our data loss prevention policies are in compliance with these regulations. We can use SharePoint to create policies that are tailored to our industry-specific requirements.

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To help ensure compliance, SharePoint provides a range of features, including data lifecycle management capabilities, document retention policies, and legal holds. These features enable us to manage content effectively, retain content for as long as necessary, and preserve content that is subject to legal holds.

In conclusion, compliance and regulatory requirements are essential considerations when implementing data loss prevention policies. SharePoint provides a range of features that enable us to manage compliance policies centrally and ensure that our policies are tailored to our industry-specific requirements. By understanding and complying with these regulations, we can help ensure that our organization is protected from legal and financial consequences.

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Advanced DLP Features

As data loss prevention (DLP) policies become more complex, it’s important to understand the advanced features available in SharePoint Server 2016 and 2019. In this section, we’ll cover three key features: deep content analysis, DLP queries, and reporting.

Deep Content Analysis

SharePoint Server 2016 and 2019 use deep content analysis to identify sensitive information in documents, emails, and other content. This analysis goes beyond simple keyword scanning and takes into account the context of the content. For example, a DLP policy can detect a credit card number in a document even if the number is not formatted as a typical credit card number.

Deep content analysis is especially useful for identifying sensitive information in unstructured data, such as email messages and social media posts. By using machine learning algorithms, SharePoint Server can identify patterns in the data that indicate sensitive information.

DLP Queries

DLP queries allow you to search for sensitive information across your site collections. You can create custom queries to search for specific types of information, such as Social Security numbers or credit card numbers. DLP queries can also be used to identify sensitive information that may have been missed by other DLP policies.

DLP queries can be run on a regular basis to ensure that sensitive information is not being stored in unauthorized locations. For example, you can create a DLP query to search for credit card numbers in all site collections and then take action to remove any instances of credit card numbers that are found.

Reporting

Reporting is an important part of any DLP policy. SharePoint Server 2016 and 2019 provide a range of reporting options, including pre-built reports and custom reports. These reports can provide insight into how your DLP policies are performing and can help you identify areas where improvements can be made.

Pre-built reports include information on policy matches, policy violations, and policy effectiveness. Custom reports can be created to provide more detailed information on specific aspects of your DLP policies.

Overall, the advanced DLP features in SharePoint Server 2016 and 2019 provide powerful tools for protecting sensitive information. By using deep content analysis, DLP queries, and reporting, you can create a comprehensive DLP policy that meets the needs of your organization.

How Atiba Can Help with Data Loss Prevention

At Atiba, we understand the importance of data loss prevention (DLP) and the risks associated with data breaches. With our managed DLP services, we can help you protect your sensitive information and keep your business secure.

Our team of experts can work with you to create a customized DLP policy that fits your specific needs. We will help you identify and classify your sensitive information, such as financial account numbers or personally identifiable information (PII). We will also help you monitor your data in motion and at rest, ensuring that only authorized users have access to your sensitive information.

We can set up alerts and notifications to keep you informed of any policy violations or potential data breaches. Our DLP solutions can also help you comply with industry regulations, such as HIPAA or GDPR.

In addition, our managed DLP services can provide you with ongoing support and maintenance. We can help you keep your DLP policy up-to-date and adjust it as needed to address any new threats or changes in your business.

Overall, our goal is to provide you with a comprehensive DLP solution that gives you peace of mind and protects your sensitive information. With Atiba, you can trust that your data is in good hands.

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