10 Best Data Loss Prevention (DLP) Tools for 2021 - Spiceworks (2023)

Data loss prevention (DLP) software is a software application that mitigates the risk of data loss (both inadvertent and malicious) due to insider threats or negligence, external attacks, or natural disasters. It does this by providing visibility into the company’s data landscape, its correlations with other enterprise systems, and patterns of utilization, instituting multiple measures to ensure that a company has consistent access to data in its entirety and integrity. This article shares the top 10 data loss prevention tools in 2021.

Table of Contents

    • What Is Data Loss Prevention Software?
    • 4 Must-Have Features for Data Loss Prevention Tool Selection
    • Top 10 Data Loss Prevention (DLP) Software for 2021

What Is Data Loss Prevention Software?

Data loss prevention (DLP) software is a software application that mitigates the risk of data loss (both inadvertent and malicious) due to insider threats or negligence, external attacks, or natural disasters. This is done by providing visibility into the company’s data landscape, its correlations with other enterprise systems, and patterns of utilization, instituting multiple measures to ensure that a company has consistent access to data in its entirety and integrity.

As data volumes grow and enterprises become more connected, data is at risk of being lost due to innumerable factors. Modern enterprises are now ramping up their investments in DLP using sophisticated tools to protect against insider and external threats, so much so that the DLP market is expected to cross the $2.5 billionOpens a new window mark this year.

Data loss prevention tools are no longer a one-size-fits-all category. There is increasing specialization, where each tool offers a unique set of features with its own value proposition. Further, the IT decision-makers (ITDMs) will have to drill down their priorities and sharpen their security needs.

  • Do they want to secure their endpoint devices individually?
  • Is data loss a concern, or is data theft a bigger cause of worry?
  • Is data hosted in a single environment, and if yes, is an environment-specific data security solution more applicable?

Answering these questions at the very outset will help ITDMs navigate a crowded DLP software landscape and make the right choice.

Also Read: What Is Data Loss Prevention (DLP)? Definition, Policy Framework, and Best Practices

4 Must-Have Features for Data Loss Prevention Tool Selection

Cyberthreats are evolving at a frightening pace, making DLP tools vital for CISOs to keep up. It is easier for malicious entities to find vulnerabilities across your many digital touchpoints spread across the premises, cloud, and IoT in a connected world. The global pandemic adds another layer of problems, as employees are more likely to fall for phishing emails, clickbaity malicious websites, and other scams.

Data loss prevention tools help to:

  • Maintain resilient data records that follow all the necessary compliance norms.
  • Ensure data security and privacy, minimizing the risk of a breach.

In today’s mature landscape, your decision to deploy DLP will depend on your business needs and the scope of your digital footprint. But, apart from this, organizations must look for the following features:

1. Cloud support: On-premise data archiving isn’t enough for modern digital ecosystems. You need a flexible data loss prevention tool that can support your cloud and hybrid environments, as well as on-premise assetsOpens a new window . This is particularly true in 2021 when so many of us work from home and use cloud-based data exchange channels.

2. Advanced analytics: The tool should be able to surface insights on data usage, user behavior, and security risks if any. Analytics helps in anticipating vulnerabilities before they become a full-fledged vector, ripe for data theft. The analytics engine should ideally plug into multiple data sources and streams to enable holistic coverage.

3. Data classification: This is one of the foundational features of any data loss prevention tool – automatically scanning huge information stacks to classify data as per the degree of risk/sensitivity. More sophisticated applications will even include AI/ML to organize data more accurately, attaching labels based on the patterns learned before.

4. Integration with your favorite endpoints: The endpoint portfolio of every company is different. A utility services provider might rely on ruggedized handheld devices to share data from on-field work sites. A 100% remote contact center might use laptops and AV peripherals, with their own data security needs. The DLP tool must seamlessly integrate with these endpoints, either natively or through APIs.

A modern data loss prevention platform will combine data security with resilient data archival (to protect against loss and not necessarily theft), giving you an end-to-end solution.

Also Read:What Is a Data Catalog? Definition, Examples, and Best Practices

Top 10 Data Loss Prevention (DLP) Software for 2021

The following list (in alphabetical order) covers anti-data theft mechanisms and pure-play data loss prevention tools that focus on secure archival. All of the tools we mention are highly rated by users on G2, representing the best that 2021’s market offers.

Disclaimer: These listings are based on publicly available information and include vendor websites that sell to mid-to-large enterprises. Readers are advised to conduct their own final research to ensure the best fit for their unique organizational needs.

1. Arcserve UDP

  • Overview: Arcserve UDP claims to combine “every data protection capability you need” under one roof.
  • Key features:
        • Data loss and downtime prevention for cloud/on-premise workloads.
        • Data recovery validation for shorter downtimes.
        • Storage optimization by freeing up 20X more capacity.
        • VM and bare-metal recovery for faster data restoration.
  • USP: Arcserve UDP lets you choose between a public and private cloud environment for data storage on AWS, Azure, Cloudion, Eucalyptus, Fujitsu, or the company’s own systems. The University of Cambridge used this DLP tool to reduce backup times by 85%.
  • Meant for: Arcserve UDP is ideal for mid-sized-to-large companies with a sprawling digital footprint, looking to centralize data management.
  • Editorial comments: Arcserve’s primary focus is backup/archival and restoration to keep the business running without interruptions. And it does this exceptionally well – it can connect with your entire digital ecosystem across the cloud, local, virtual, hyper-converged, and SaaS systems. You can choose to back up to an on-premise data recovery site (with NDMP backup and file archiving) or use the cloud. However, this data loss prevention tool has limited cybersecurity capabilities.

Also Read:Top 10 Data Governance Tools for 2021

2. Barracuda Backup

  • Overview: Barracuda’s data loss prevention tool specializes in data protection with some degree of security capabilities.
  • Key features: Its features cover three core areas:
      • Backup: You can store a duplicate data instance offsite to protect against local disasters and data loss. Barracuda offers unlimited cloud storage that lets you scale data assets with ease. All data goes through 256-bit AES encryption, and data is backed up every 15 minutes to enable near-continuous protection.
      • Recovery: Barracuda Backup comes with multiple restore options, including bare metal restoration and faster, image-based restoration. The LifeBoot feature allows users to leverage Barracuda Cloud Storage as a booting environment if the main virtual environment is experiencing downtime.
      • Management: Barracuda Backup has a centralized management console with role-based admin access. You can leverage the solution as an all-in-one physical appliance or in a pure software format.
  • USP: The tool’s USP is its instant replacement promise. If a company faces its disaster event on-site, Barracuda preloads the latest data and configuration settings into a replacement unit to be shipped on the next business day. This gets your systems up and running at the earliest.
  • Meant for: Companies working with (and relying on) huge data volumes like healthcare, banks, etc., would do well to consider Barracuda Backup as an important DLP tool.
  • Editorial comments: As the name suggests, this DLP tool is geared for comprehensive data backup and speedy recovery after a disaster/loss. This comes in handy in case of ransomware attacks, as you don’t need to pay ransom to retrieve your data. Like Arcserve UDP, Barracuda Backup is compatible with all your data sources and channels for holistic protection. On the flip side, the on-premise management console for Barracuda Backup isn’t as feature-rich as the cloud management portal.

3. Code42

  • Overview: Code42’s flagship product, Incydr, helps protect data from insider threats and quickly respond in case of a breach. Rather than archival/backup, Code42 targets data theft use cases.
  • Key features: Incydr comes with a variety of features:
      • Detection: It connects with endpoint devices, cloud, and email to mitigate insider risk through a file, vector, and user behavior-based analysis.
      • Investigation: You can drill down into user profiles, specific file events, and risk indicators to identify your top security priorities.
      • Response: Incydr integrates with SIEM systems to raise security events and automate responses.
  • USP: This DLP tool has an impressive search functionality that lets you analyze every file event from the last 90 days in a few seconds.
  • Meant for: If you’re in a sector where employees regularly deal with high-value, sensitive information (research firms, investment banks, intellectual property managers, etc.), Code42’s Incydr deserves a look.
  • Editorial comments: Code42 offers many benefits. Apart from data theft protection, it lets you preserve files indefinitely for legal purposes, even after an employee has left the company. Its SIEM integrations (Splunk, Sumo Logic, LogRhythm, and Exabeam) make it easier to find correlations between different security events. However, you will have to invest in a separate external threat protection system as well as a backup and archival system because of Incydr’s highly specific use case.

Also Read:What Is Data Governance? Definition, Importance, and Best Practices

4. Endpoint Protector by CoSoSys

  • Overview: Endpoint Protector aims to secure data activities performed on employee endpoint devices across different operating systems. It fits into windows, mac, and mixed multi-OS environments with ease, which covers Android smartphones.
  • Key features: Endpoint Protector is a one-stop DLP tool, with:
      • Content analysis: It inspects both the content and the context to control/restrict data exchange.
      • Data encryption: It enables the enforced encryption of USB storage via password access.
      • eDiscovery: It conducts thorough eDiscovery to encrypt or delete sensitive data as needed.
      • Device management: It controls device usage based on vendor ID, serial number, and other parameters.
  • USP: The solution offers excellent coverage for remote workers, a critical industry need in 2021. It enables “outside network” and “outside hours” data security policies to restrict employee access, and your sensitive data stays safe even when employees are working offline.
  • Meant for: For large companies like Samsung, Toyota, Philips, and Western Union (some of their customers) with a globally distributed workforce, Endpoint Protector is a widely compatible, non-intrusive tool that intersects security and employee productivity.
  • Editorial comments: You can install Endpoint Protector as an on-premise data loss prevention tool by hosting on a virtual appliance. You could also deploy it on a public or private cloud at a deployment region of your choice. But some users have reported issues with sales and license renewals due to the lack of resellers in every region.

5. Google Cloud Data Loss Prevention

  • Overview: Google Cloud DLP is meant for Google Cloud power users who want to strengthen data asset resilience and scale their cloud-based infrastructure.
  • Key features: Unlike other solutions on our list, this data loss prevention tool is designed for a specific environment – and does an excellent job protecting it:
      • InfoTypes: It has 120+ built-in infoTypes ( a master data management enabler) to help you scan, discover, and classify data. Support for Google Cloud Storage, BigQuery, and Datastore is natively available.
      • Tools: There are tools to mask, tokenize, and transform sensitive data elements for structured and unstructured formats. You can confidently utilize data for analytics and AI without compromising on privacy.
      • Customization: You can customize the business rules – with custom data types, adjustable detection thresholds, etc., to fit your business needs.
      • Serverless architecture: Google Cloud DLP has serverless architecture to help scale quickly without hardware or effort investments.
  • USP: It has a handy API to prevent personally identifiable information breach, which could be relevant for most companies.
  • Meant for: Those with robust in-house technical expertise and already on the Google Cloud should consider this as their first choice for DLP investment.
  • Editorial comments: Google’s DLP tool extends well beyond its own product family, connecting with external content libraries with a little integration effort. However, it requires more technical know-how to deploy than most of the competing data loss prevention tools on this list.

Also Read:What Is Data Security? Definition, Planning, Policy, and Best Practices

6. McAfee Total Protection for DLP

  • Overview: McAfee Total Protection for DLP brings together this security giant’s premier offerings in the data security space.
  • Key features:
      • McAfee Data Loss Prevention Discover: For content classification and sensitive data identification in the enterprise.
      • McAfee DLP Prevent: For executing security policies across data in motion, mobile endpoints, email, and other sensitive vectors.
      • McAfee Data Loss Prevention Monitor: For monitoring data in motion with real-time analysis and incident reporting.
      • McAfee Data Loss Prevention Monitor: For securing your endpoints and edge devices with cloud-to-device DLP (Windows, macOS, and OS X).
      • MVISION ePO: A cloud-based portal for managing DLP violations and reporting incidents.
  • USP: This is a full-featured solution.
  • Meant for: McAfee Total Protection for DLP is worth the investment if you are a mid-sized-to-large company experiencing rapid growth in the digital era.
  • Editorial comments: Total Protection for DLP is a comprehensive answer to most of your data worries, and we’d expect no less from McAfee. It combines advanced content classification Opens a new window at rest, in motion, or in use, with the company’s rich legacy of security innovation. On the flip side, this software focuses on data loss more than data leaks. If security is one of your primary use cases, take a look at McAfee’s Complete Data Protection offering as well, which includes data encryption and FileVault/BitLocker management, in addition to DLP.

7. Nightfall.ai

  • Overview: Nightfall is among the industry’s first cloud-native data loss prevention tools, integrated with all your virtualized data stacks across Google Cloud, Azure, Microsoft Dynamics, as well as SaaS apps like LinkedIn, Workday, and many more. Its AI and ML capabilities set it apart, bringing extremely high accuracy rates to content classification.
  • Key features: You can use Nightfall to:
      • Discover sensitive data: Includes pre-built APIs to monitor data from hundreds of cloud-native sources without agent intervention.
      • Classify data: Offers advanced ML to label structured and unstructured information in more than 100 file formats.
      • Set up data protection workflows: Drives workflow automation for file quarantines, security alerts, data deletion, and similar DLP events.
  • USP: Nightfall has an impressive volume of out-of-the-box integrations. You can connect Nightfall with popular collaboration apps like Slack, Outlook, and SharePoint, monitoring every channel of data exchange. This extends to data infrastructure environments and software families like Oracle, SAP, Salesforce, etc.
  • Meant for: Companies relying on a diverse (and ever-growing) SaaS library would do well to invest in a data loss prevention tool like Nightfall, addressing emerging needs.
  • Editorial comments: One feature that sets Nightfall apart from its competitors is its AI and ML engine. It has a deep learning-based classifier that conducts contextual analysis to classify unstructured and ambiguous data accurately. But you may be disappointed to find out that there is no option for on-premise deployment, an essential feature for some companies.

8. Spirion Data Privacy Manager

  • Overview: Spirion Data Privacy Manager enables DLP coverage on the cloud, on-premises, via endpoints, and for any Open Database Connectivity (ODBC) infrastructure. It is similar to Nightfall but can be deployed as a Saas platform or an on-premise solution Opens a new window depending on what you need.
  • Key features:
        • Comprehensive scanning for data within and outside of the enterprise parameter.
        • Pattern matching and contextual analysis for less than 2% false negatives/false positives in content classification.
        • Workflow setup for data discovery, classification, and remediation processes.
  • USP: The solution’s console hub is hosted on Azure (AWS option available), which you can access through any browser. This makes remote management of DLP easier than ever before. Further, Spirion uses power BI analytics to provide robust reporting capabilities on DLP.
  • Meant for: Mid-sized organizations with moderate-to-advanced data requirements can use Spirion with confidence, enjoying healthy coverage in cross-platform ecosystems.
  • Editorial comments: Spirion Data Privacy Manager works with Windows, macOS, and Linux Systems (unlike Endpoint Protector, which supports Android as well) – ideal for multi-OS work environments. You can also connect cloud applications like G-Suite, Box, Sharepoint, and Microsoft 365 and on-premise applications service. But the tool has a steep learning curve, as understanding all the automation and setting up processes can be complex initially.

Also Read:What Is Enterprise Data Management (EDM)? Definition, Importance, and Best Practices

9. Symantec Data Loss Prevention by Broadcom

  • Overview: Last year, Broadcom acquired Symantec for $10.7 billion, bringing the latter’s industry-leading security solutions under its portfolio. This includes Symantec Data Loss Prevention — a tool for combating data exposure and theft.
  • Key features: The solution covers nearly every DLP essential, including:
        • Applying stringent Data Loss Prevention policies to cloud apps.
        • Accelerating incident response via behavioral analytics.
        • Complying with dynamic regulations like GDPR, PCI, HIPAA, and SOX.
        • Restricting suspicious applications.
  • USP: Symantec Data Loss Prevention is leveraged by companies with valuable IP, which require sophisticated protection – like one of its customers, Citrix Systems.
  • Meant for: Symantec Data Loss Prevention blocks 142 million threats every day, making it an excellent choice for companies looking for a loss+theft prevention tool.
  • Editorial comments: Like most solutions in its category, this DLP tool supports contextual analysis, automated workflows, data loss prevention on the cloud, and data privacy compliance. Where it really stands out is security. Symantec Data Loss Prevention safeguards data from malicious apps with threat-aware protection. You can leverage the providers’ recognized threat intelligence to stop user-installed apps from accessing sensitive data. However, there is no native Linux installation, so you would have to work with customer support to set up Symantec Data Loss Prevention services on Linux manually. This could be an issue for multi-OS environments.

10. Trend Micro XDR

  • Overview: Trend Micro XDR offers a data loss prevention, detection, and response bundle that works across all your attack vectors. Data exchange across endpoints, emails, networks and the cloud are carefully monitored to minimize the risk of data loss.
  • Key features:
      • Built-in threat intelligence: Includes the Trend Micro Smart Protection Network to dynamically update your rules database.
      • Root-cause analysis: Speeds up investigation by allowing agents to visualize the entire chain of events across multiple security layers.
      • SIEM connector: Forwards alerts into your SIEM environment, revealing deeper correlations.
  • USP: This DLP tool’s biggest USP is its advanced analytics capabilities. You don’t need to invest in additional BI integrations – Trend Micro XDR correlates data across the digital environment to send you the most relevant alerts.
  • Meant for: For companies that require a clear visual map of data events, with an accurate understanding of different contexts, Trend Micro XDR is the way to go.
  • Editorial comments: XDR is available in several deployment formats – such as Apex One (advanced capabilities for 10% of licensed users) and Managed XDR, including Trend Micro’s professional services. On the flip side, this software may not meet very complex data archival and secure storage use cases on the flip side.

As leading vendors find their specific and specialized niche in an increasingly mature market, it is vital to narrow your search. The broader concept of DLP is now giving way to more use-case-specific definitions like prevention of data exfiltration, content monitoring/filtering, information leak prevention, and protection against traditional data loss.

DLP involves a sizable investment, and depending on your scale, you could face vendor lock-in during the initial months. That’s why it is critical to carefully analyze your business use-case (working with technical and non-technical stakeholders) and lay down clear expectations. A good rule of thumb is to look for integration-friendly, hybrid environment DLP tools that you can configure as per your context.

Which data loss prevention tool would you recommend to our readers in 2021? Tell us on LinkedInOpens a new window , TwitterOpens a new window , or FacebookOpens a new window . We would love to hear from you!

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