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Content-aware data loss prevention is a data loss-prevention measure that involves awareness of the context or content that is being protected.
Data loss prevention (DLP) involves the use of tools that safeguard data against data leaks or data breaches in various stages: while the data is in transit, in or outside of a network, at rest or in storage. With content-aware DLP, DLP systems work on the basis of what type of data they are applied to, and where that data is going.
Data loss prevention works in different ways. It may involve content filtering tools, encryption or other methods. For instance, cloud encryption gateways that encrypt data as it leaves an internal network are often advertised as including DLP tools. With content-aware DLP, systems would work differently for different types of data. For example, a system that applies a label to sensitive financial data and encrypts it differently from other data may be considered a content-aware DLP system.
Some IT experts have broken down content-aware DLP into a few different categories: for example, enterprise content-aware DLP, described as a "sophisticated detection technique" that allows companies to "address their most critical data protection requirements" or, in other words, triage data protection; "DLP lite" products, which do less and have fewer features; and "channel DLP" tools, which are incorporated into specific channels and operations.