Testing DLP Policies in Competitive Bake-offs

When companies do competitive bake-offs, they generally apply simple tests. For example, they look for credit card numbers, a customer account number, or keywords.

These tests are not a good indication of how well a product will do in practice, because many policies will end up having to be far more complex.

Here's our suggestion:

  • Ask a variety of vendors what they think your top five most important DLP policies will be. At this point, you're just looking for explanation in ordinary language. For example, "Anything to do with our upcoming IPO can only be viewed by such-and-such people," or "Communications with the media can only be sent from such-and-such departments."
  • Draw up a list of the various policy proposals and put them in order of what you think are the most important.
  • Take the 10 most important and implement them.
  • Run a day's or a week's worth of material against the policies, such as from an email or instant messaging archive, or from a fileshare. Check that you're catching as much offending material as possible, while getting as few false positives as possible.

... David Ferris

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