Mid-market companies underpin many of the world’s leading economies. In Germany, they account for the largest share of the country’s economic output and employ 60% of all workers. In the US, they have almost double the annual growth rate of a Fortune 500 company and are responsible for an estimated 60% of job growth. With annual revenues stretching from $5 million to $1 billion and a workforce of between 100 and 1000 employees, mid-market companies are dynamic engines of economic growth.
When it comes to data protection, however, they face a number of challenges. Unlike SMEs, that may be exempt from compliance with data protection regulations due to their size and revenue, mid-market companies often find themselves falling under their incidence. At the same time, they lack the financial, legal, and technological resources big companies have to comply with data protection legislation and international standards. Nevertheless, the fines are the same for all companies that need to comply with them, regardless of their size.
While big companies may be able to shoulder the burden of €20 million penalties like those issued under the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), for mid-market companies they can prove fatal. Beyond the financial loss, reputational damage is also harder to overcome in the mid-market where customers are spoilt for choice, and organizations risk losing business to competitors. It is therefore essential for them to ensure that they protect their sensitive data and comply with regulations.
How Data Loss Prevention helps with compliance
Data Loss Prevention (DLP) tools have become an essential part of compliance efforts. They help companies discover where data is being stored on their network, how it is being handled by their employees, and allows them to control its transfer and use.
This is beneficial for mid-market companies for a number of reasons. It, first of all, helps them understand what kind of data they collect, and how it is being used, the foundation of any good data protection strategy. By discovering the vulnerabilities within their network, organizations can focus on their specific threats and weaknesses, spending their data security budget more efficiently and thus cutting costs.
Monitoring the use and transfer of sensitive data also allows companies to identify weak security practices among their employees which can lead to more effective, problem-targeted training and more concrete, example-based best policies.
Beyond the advantages of monitoring, DLP solutions are also a powerful control mechanism for the protection of personal data. Companies can define sensitive data based on their compliance needs and limit or block their transfer outside the company network over the internet or through devices connected to computers. Scans of data at rest on company endpoints can also be performed and, if sensitive data is discovered on unauthorized devices, remediation actions such as deletion or encryption can be taken.
Protecting intellectual property with DLP
Mid-market companies don’t have to worry only about compliance and protecting personal data from data breaches. They also need to safeguard their competitive advantage by protecting their intellectual property. Oftentimes, when it comes to the mid-market especially, their innovative edge comes from their proprietary source code or the original content they publish, which is why it is often targeted by malicious outsiders and insiders.
DLP solutions allow companies to design their own policies and define what sensitive data is to them, within the context of their own business needs. At the same time, some solutions come with predefined policies for protecting specific file types associated with intellectual property or source code. By searching outgoing files for different programming languages, for example, DLP solutions can effectively discover and control the movement of proprietary algorithms in and outside the company network.
Many mid-market companies have a wrong impression of DLP solutions: they imagine they are far too complex for their needs and imply long implementation timelines. While some DLP tools do target bigger companies, solutions like Endpoint Protector are granular and allow organizations to pick and choose the tools that best serve their needs. They are also up and running in 30 minutes, sometimes less.
Some DLP solutions are ideal for mid-market companies. They can be run from a single dashboard by a member of their IT department, require little training to use, and can be deployed on multiple operating systems such as Windows, macOS, and various Linux distributions. This means they require minimal manpower to run and are cost-efficient, allowing companies to get the most out of a single investment.
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