With priorities fully defined, it is now time to start the actual integration.

The first stop is deploying the DLP tool itself. This tends to come in one of a few flavors – and keep in mind that you often need to license different major features separately, even if they all deploy on the same box. This is the heart of your DLP deployment and needs to be in place before you do any additional integration.

  • DLP Server Software: This is the most common option and consists of software installed on a dedicated server. Depending on your product this could actually run across multiple physical servers for different internal components (like a back-end database) or to spread out functions. In a few cases products require different software components running concurrently to manage different functions (such as network vs. endpoint monitoring). This is frequently a legacy of mergers and acquisitions – most products are converging on a single software base with, at most, additional licenses or plugins to provide additional functions.

Management server overhead is usually pretty low, especially in anything smaller than a large enterprise, so this server often handles some amount of network monitoring, functions as the email MTA, scans at least some file servers, and manages endpoint agents. A small to medium sized organization generally only needs to deploy additional servers for load balancing, as a hot standby, or to cover remote network or storage monitoring with multiple egress points or data centers.

Integration is easy – install the software and position the physical server wherever needed, based on deployment priorities and network configuration. We are still in the integration phase of deployment and will handle the rest of the configuration later.

  • DLP Appliance: In this scenario the DLP software comes preinstalled on dedicated hardware. Sometimes it’s merely a branded server, while in other cases the appliance includes specialized hardware. There is no software to install, so the initial integration is usually a matter of connecting it to the network and setting a few basic options – we will cover the full configuration later.

As with a standard server, the appliance usually includes all DLP functions (which you might still need licenses to unlock). The appliance can generally run in an alternative remote monitor mode for distributed deployment.

  • DLP Virtual Appliance: The DLP software is preinstalled into a virtual machine for deployment as a virtual server. This is similar to an appliance but requires work: to get up and running on your virtualization platform of choice, configure the network, and then set the initial configuration options up as if it were a physical server or appliance.

For now just get the tool up and running so you can integrate the other components. Do not deploy any policies or turn on monitoring yet.

Directory Server Integration

The most important deployment integration is with your directory servers and (probably) the DHCP server. This is the only way to tie activity back to actual users, rather than to IP addresses.

This typically involves two components:

  • An agent or connection to the directory server itself to identify users.
  • An agent on the DHCP server to track IP address allocation.

So when a user logs onto the network, their IP address is correlated against their user name, and this is passed on to the DLP server. The DLP server can now track which network activity is tied to which user, and the directory server enables it to understand groups and roles.

This same integration is also required for storage or endpoint deployment. For storage the DLP tool knows which users have access to which files based on file permissions – not that they are always accurate. On an endpoint the agent knows which policies to run based on who is logged in.