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What is email data loss prevention (DLP)?

Email DLP definition

Email data loss prevention is a cyber security concept referring to the reduction of potential risk associated with email activity that comes from the accidental or intentional leakage of valuable information via email. 

How does email DLP work?

Email data loss can occur through acts by insiders or malicious threat actors. In the former, an individual at an organization may mistakenly or intentionally share valuable data or information with an untrusted or unknown recipient. In the latter, a threat actor who has compromised a system may exfiltrate sensitive data out of the network or even destroy data. In both cases this can be particularly difficult for security teams to manage.

Risks of email data loss

Most forms of email data loss contain a human element. While security training is prevalent at most organizations, humans still have the capacity for error. Also, social engineering attacks pose a security risk that targets human error and is difficult for traditional email security systems to combat. Email data loss can result in the loss of sensitive data such as:

  • Credit card information
  • Account credentials
  • Intellectual property
  • Financial information
  • Health records

How to prevent email DLP?

Security awareness training

Security awareness training is a method of cyber-attack prevention that involves training members of an organization on how to spot common cyber threats and implement the best practices to reduce cyber risk. This can be useful to combat against socially engineered attacks that look to capitalize on human error. 

Outbound email security

Sometimes unsolicited or malicious emails make it through inbound email gateways and into an employee’s inbox. Organizations will benefit from having outbound email security measures that can detect when an email is being sent to an unknown recipient or a spoofed email address, stopping the likelihood of data loss.

Email security for data loss

Data loss from human error or social engineering attacks can be difficult to combat. However, Darktrace’s AI email security uses artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms to prevent, detect, respond to, and heal from email attacks and can be used to defend against DLP. 

Through its unique understanding of you, rather than knowledge of past attacks, Darktrace/Email stops the most sophisticated and evolving email security risks like generative Al attacks, BEC, account takeover, human error, and ransomware.

In a Self-Learning AI model, the AI has the ability to understand the business from the inside out. That way when activity within the business deviates from ‘normal', the AI can identify this behavior and alert the security team. 

AI can also use real-time data to identify and respond to threats quickly, minimizing the potential damage and saving time for security teams who usually have to parse through a high number of flagged emails. 

One of the key benefits of AI email security is that it can detect threats that may go unnoticed by traditional security systems, which often rely on pre-defined rules and patterns to identify threats. With AI, email security can continuously learn and adapt, providing more comprehensive protection against previously unknown email-based attacks.