Get your sensitive business data protected using Data Loss Prevention (DLP) with SharePoint 2016

By | January 31, 2017

SharePoint is one of the popular collaborative software environments provided by Microsoft to the enterprises. It helps them in creating, storing and collaborating the business documents for an organization. These documents often contain sensitive business critical information, such as financial data or personally identifiable information (PII) such as credit card numbers, social security numbers, or national ID numbers. In order to comply with business standards and industry regulations, the enterprises must have to protect these from any accidental or deliberate disclosure to someone outside the organization.

This is one of the key business requirements of the enterprises running SharePoint. To make the user experience better, SharePoint sever 2016 provides for implementing the Data Loss Prevention (DLP) policy. With DLP, the user can identify, monitor, and protect the sensitive information available across the site collections automatically and effortlessly.

There are two key aspects to implement Data protection- DLP Query, and DLP Policy. Following is the brief description on these two work:

DLP query

Before creating DLP policy, it is useful to identify the sensitive information which already exists in your SharePoint site collections. DLP query helps the users to determine what and where is the sensitive information which are to be protected using DLP policy implementation. For doing this, the user can create and run DLP queries in the eDiscovery Center.

DLP Policy-

This is created to monitor and automatically protect sensitive information in your site collections. For instance-

•  You can set up a policy that will make the system trigger pop-ups to the users, when they try to save documents containing personally identifiable information. Moreover, the policy can automatically block access to these documents for everyone other than the users who last modified the document, site owner and content owner.

•  You can also set up the policy that allows the users to override the blocking action, and continue to work with those documents. This is done when they can mention proper business justification for doing this.

For creating the DLP query or DLP policy, SharePoint 2016 provides a list of DLP templates that exemplify common regulatory requirements. Each template helps in identifying specific types of sensitive information, e.g. PII (Personally Identifiable Information), ITIN (Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers), or SSN (Social Security Numbers) etc.

As a DLP policy helps protecting sensitive information, it looks for a sensitive information type such as a credit card number. For this, it not simply looks for a 16-digit number, but also examines other key components, such as – Keywords, Internal functions to validate checksums or composition, evaluation of regular expressions to find pattern matches, among others. This way it helps DLP detection process achieve a high degree of accuracy, and also to reduce the chances of erratic results.

As in the case of DLP policy, DLP templates can be used to create DLP query configuring the search for specific types of sensitive information. As it supports Keyword Query Language (KQL), the user can fine-tune the search depending on the specific requirement as well. The query can be narrowed down by selecting a date range, specific authors, SharePoint property values, or locations.

In a nutshell, DLP policy and DLP query ensure the protection the critical business information in your organization from any kind of accidental or deliberate leakage to some outsiders in an effective manner.

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