June 23, 2010, 1:23 PM — NATIONAL HARBOR, MD. -- The good, the bad and the ugly of data-loss prevention tools and technologies got a solid once over from Gartner analyst Eric Ouellet, who spared no punches during his presentation on the topic during the first day of Gartner's Security & Risk Management Summit.
DLP content-filtering, where the vendor options typically include a network-based appliance, host-based software and a discovery tool, in many cases remains a high-priced technology that organizations often spend a lot for in components that don't even get fully deployed over a two- to three-year timeframe, Ouellet said.
And although the corporate move to DLP is typically sponsored by the risk or financial office, the IT department drives the technology rollout but without engaging the business divisions enough. However, strong participation from divisions such as human resources and finance is needed in order to effectively set up policies and interact with employees whose data-sharing behavior is being monitored by the DLP hardware or software in use.
"DLP is an IT technology but it's not managing IT data, it's managing compliance," Ouellet said. DLP may focus on sensitive customer information such as payment-card data or healthcare records from being transmitted in an unauthorized way, such as without encryption, or DLP may try to monitor for loss of important intellectual property.
"Organizations underestimate the need for the involvement of non-IT business units," Ouellet said. In many instances, it's not really appropriate for IT people to be in the middle of looking at what DLP systems can report about data compliance issues, but the practical use of DLP monitoring sometimes doesn't make it into the hands of the right business people, he noted.While vendor DLP products are improving in terms of the number of false positives they generate in comparison to two years ago, "pricing is still at a premium," Ouellet said.
This is especially true when it comes to the DLP network appliance and discovery tools in the more sophisticated systems he categorized as "Enterprise DLP," in which DLP software agents, network and discovery tools are used throughout the enterprise for a comprehensive review from a common dashboard.
Acquisitions are based on a lot of detailed and sometimes confusing component costs that quickly add up to a high bill, with consulting and professional services ranging from $10,000 to $250,000 and three-day training costing $2,500 to $3,500 per student, he said. Maintenance costs might typically be 18% to 25% of costs, so multi-million acquisitions costs are easily possible for DLP. Ouellet said he even reviewed an acquisition a client was considering that listed an eye-popping 28% maintenance fee.