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4.5 min read

How to Measure Data Loss: Everything You Need to Know

Frustrated woman in an office leaning head against wall
Written by
Phil Guerin
Published on
November 23, 2022

How to Measure Data Loss: Everything You Need to KnowData loss prevention (DLP) is a set of tools and processes used by your organization to ensure that sensitive data is not lost, misused or accessed by unauthorized users. But what exactly happens when data is lost, and is there a way of measuring that?

Assessing the cost and reputational impact of data loss on your business can feel more like an art than a science, especially when, in most cases, those costs aren’t tangible.

In this blog, we take a look at everything your business needs to know about measuring data loss, from how your business loses money from data loss and what metrics you can use to gain a better understanding of the success of your data loss prevention strategy.

How data loss costs your business

Data loss has both tangible and intangible costs for your business. Here are just a few of the top ways in which data loss will impact the finances of your business.

Reputational damage: Data loss can have a significant impact on the reputation of your business. While these losses are difficult to estimate, reputational damage can have a dramatic impact on your ability to make new sales and retain existing customers.

Response costs: When your business suffers data loss, you likely have a response strategy to minimize the impact of that loss. This means your business will spend money on additional things that are unaccounted for in your finances, such as internal labor, ongoing operational expenses and supplier fees.

Loss of productivity: Data is critical to the operations of your business. Losing data can cause huge disruptions in your day-to-day operations, impacting your team’s productivity levels. This is another difficult cost to calculate as it can be difficult to estimate just how much data loss impacted the operations of your business.

Fines and court cases: Your business is regulated to protect sensitive data by the local governments in which data is collected, stored and used. Data loss can put your business in breach of those laws, leading to fines and the costs associated with lengthy court cases.


How to measure data loss and the success of your data loss prevention strategy

In the vast majority of cases, measuring data loss can feel impossible because most of the impacts are intangible. There’s no real way of measuring the impact that data loss has on your brand’s productivity, nor is there any real way of measuring the reputational damage inflicted from damage loss.

That’s why, measuring data loss typically comes down to measuring how your data loss prevention strategy is performing.

To help you do that, we’ve listed some of the key metrics to analyze:

#1 - The mean time to respond to DLP alerts

If you have cybersecurity technology that alerts you when there is a potential data theft, calculating the mean time to respond to those alerts can help you gain a better understanding of how effective your cybersecurity strategy is at preventing data theft. The quicker your response times are, the more effective your business likely is at mitigating data loss.

#2 - Number of policy exceptions granted in a given time period

Access to sensitive data should only be permitted for authorized users. This can significantly mitigate your cyber risk and prevent unauthorized users from accessing data. However, in some cases, you might need to grant exceptions. Understanding the number of exceptions granted over a specific time period will help your business to better understand its risk levels. The more exemptions you are granting, the more vulnerable sensitive data is.

#3 - The number of unmanaged devices on your network

Do you have unmanaged devices which process and store sensitive data across your network, whether they are file shares, endpoints or servers? All of these devices and digital assets expand your attack surface and make your business more vulnerable to data loss.

#4 - Number of data residents not classified

Data classification is a critical step in identifying where sensitive data resides and setting guidelines on how to manage it based on the data privacy regulations it falls under. If you perform an audit and find you have data that is unclassified across your network, it’s likely that your business has a significant lack of visibility into data risk.

5# - Benchmark your risk

When building a data protection strategy and aligning to data privacy compliance requirements, establishing a risk baseline so that you can better understand your company’s overall risk is a top priority. To do this, you need insights into the sensitive data that your business has, its value based on data classification and how your different data needs different protections based on its value.

To gain these insights that help you improve data visibility and control, you need a platform that can help you pinpoint potential breach costs in real-time. That’s where the Cavelo platform can help.

Our data protection platform has been designed to ensure businesses gain full visibility into what data they have and where it lives, simplifying data loss prevention, data protection and regulatory compliance. It can help you benchmark your breach risks and costs so that you can improve your data protection and compliance processes over time.

Are you looking to enhance your data loss prevention strategy and better measure data loss? Rform today.

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