Every two seconds someone becomes a victim of identity theft in America and last year, identity theft totals amounted to $100 billion. Even thoughmany organizations are expanding security efforts, the number of identity theft incidents is still increasing as thieves continue to change their tact on a daily basis.

Data Loss Prevention (DLP) has become a top priority for federal and state governments as well as industry regulators, whom have enacted laws with monetary fines, forcing organizations to improve protection of sensitive data.

Data leakage incidents cause breached organizations to suffer significant loss. The total average cost of a data breach has reached $92 per record compromised while the average total cost per reporting company was more than $2.75 million per breach and ranged from $165,000 to almost $7.5 million. The cost incurred is more than just the data that has been lost or corrupted as organizations now often pay for credit monitoring services for the impacted individuals. Organizations also suffer a damaged reputation because of laws stating that all security breaches must be publicly disclosed.


Data-at-Rest Vs. Data-in-Motion

Organizations still struggle with the challenge of how to tailor a data loss solution to fit the company’s needs. There are two approaches to information security to help alleviate the situation – “Data-at-Rest DLP” and “Data-in-Motion DLP”.

Growing in acceptance is the Data-at-Rest approach as it is being adopted because of its ability to guard data at its source. This approach refers to data stored on computers, storage devices, or being used by the data owner.

The Data-in-Motion DLP solution refers to protecting data transmitted over a network. It is successful in preventing data from leaving the organization when individuals send information that is unprotected.

While there is no “silver bullet” for all types of threats, data loss can be prevented by understanding the most reoccurring breach type and enacting a solution to best treat the problem, as shown in the table below:


Data Breach

DLP Approach

Hacker (includes malware)


Digital Media (lost/stolen computers, backups, etc.)


Web Content

Data-at-Rest, Data-in-Motion

Accidental Transmission (e-mail, etc.)


Physical Media (lost/stolen papers, etc.)


Dishonest Insider

Policy, Access Controls


Access Controls


Choosing the Right Data Loss Prevention Technique for Your Organization

Preventing the majority of data loss problems, Data-at-Rest solutions allow organizations to be proactive because the technology secures data at its source. Advanced technologies allow core reporting on risk exposure which can create an informative analysis showing the patterns over time. Organizations should periodically clean their systems to prevent data loss at the source because, knowingly or not, employees may have personal information stored in a variety of locations, including emails, databases, websites and desktop files.

Data-in-Motion solutions may stop the transmission or sending of information, but they don’t help the problem at the source. Additionally, employees may feel that this is intrusive or interferes with productivity, if the emails they try to send continually get blocked, for example.

The responsibility for managing discovery and remediation efforts are moving in some organizations from the IT staff to the individual data owners. However, Data-in-Motion solutions usually require a centralized governing system that is run by an IT administrator. With Data-at-Rest solutions, it is important for organizations to empower employees to not only see the problem but to also take action to fix it even though administrators may have management, reporting and remediation capabilities from a centralized console. By transferring the processing power and remediation responsibilities to an entity’s data owner, the organization has the power to inform and educate its employees and positively influence their behavior.

Some Data-at-Rest solutions provide users with options regarding how to handle private information once it is located, including the ability to digitally shred, encrypt, redact or quarantine it. Data-at-Rest solutions help minimize exposure risk, and are often less costly than Data-in-Motion solutions.

Data-in-Motion systems are associated with higher ongoing maintenance costs, software costs, professional services costs and hardware costs as minimum infrastructure requirements for these solutions typically cost from $25K-$150K. Professional services required to configure Data-in-Motion systems can be more costly than the software itself, and the higher level of configuration and customization desired by an organization, the higher the cost.

To maximize the investment, organizations should look at solutions with only software and maintenance costs and minimal hardware requirements. Data-at-Rest solutions can typically be installed on simple pre-existing hardware, and do not require IT professionals to configure and setup the technology. Total cost for a Data-at-Rest solution is often less than half the cost of installing a Data-in- Motion solution.


Reputation, the Bottom Line and Data Loss Prevention 

Studies show that the most common data breaches occur from the loss of digital media (44 percent) and hackers (22 percent). Clearing the information before the loss occurred, these intrusions might have been avoided with a properly implemented Data-at-Rest approach to DLP. The “socially typical” types of data breaches account for 6 percent of all data historically lost, such as employees accidentally emailing sensitive data, showing they are not major sources of data breaching.

Many IT departments do not have the budget to implement both Data-at-Rest and Data-in-Motion solutions even though it may increase their protection. It is important to remember that the greatest threat occurs from unsecured Data-at-Rest breaches. Therefore selecting a security solution that helps protect data at its source will provide the majority of organizations with the best protection for the investment.