Researcher Ponemon said that this dilemma explains why many companies are still likely to buy into DLP, despite its difficulty. But they'll use it largely for after-the-fact forensics, not to block data, he said.
What DLP vendors are doing
Some DLP vendors recognize that the DLP task is very difficult and is keeping customers away or limited in how they use the tools. Researcher Ponemon noted that some major DLP vendors — CodeGreen, Reconnex, Verdasys, Vericept, and most notably Vontu, which Symantec bought in late 2007 — have made progress in creating policy-authoring tools that can work. But they all still have a lot of additional work to do to get broad adoption, he added.
Reconnex is also tackling the issue in a second way: It's selling an appliance designed to classify data to help determine where the risks may be. The hope is that such a device, which costs perhaps one-tenth of a full-fledged DLP system, will get companies onto the DLP road more quickly by promising to do less while also being much simpler, said Reconnex's Lakhani.