Over the past two decades, identifying and preventing data loss has been a growing challenge for cybersecurity, risk management, compliance and executive teams with much of the focus being placed on external threats. That emphasis began to turn inward in recent years as studies revealed that employees account for as much as 43% of all data loss, mostly  attributed to human error.

Yet as shocking as that statistic is, it predates COVID-19. The global pandemic greatly exacerbated the issue, forcing organizations to operate remotely, upending traditional corporate controls, and exposing new weaknesses in corporate data management and protection practices.

According to a 2020 Digital Guardian study reported on security site DarkReading.com “…employees copied company data to USB drives 123% more than before the pandemic’s onset, with 74% of that data marked as “classified.” Data egress over email, USB, and cloud services leaped 80%, with more than 50% of that data marked as “classified.” Accompanying the spike in data copying is a 62% increase in malicious activity on corporate networks and servers, with a 54% bump in incident-response investigations.”

These challenges have prompted many organizations to search for more sophisticated and effective methods to protect their data from both external and internal threats. Unsurprisingly, the most promising solutions are leveraging machine learning, deep learning and natural language processing (NLP).

Those of you who have been following Topos Labs are probably aware that we have built a market leading NLP platform called Gracie. Although Gracie was not conceived as a data loss prevention tool, the market is pulling her in that direction. It turns out that Gracie’s ability to interpret human text with granular precision and context makes her an investigators’ best friend. Remarkably, she catches things like source code, sensitive corporate materials, or carefully guarded customer data being sent via email. She can even spot Personally Identifiable Information (PII). Gracie automatically reads and prioritizes documents at lightening speed, helping to reduce risk and ease the burden on overwhelmed investigation teams. Think of Gracie as a content intelligence radar.

Liam Kelly, our director of product marketing, just produced a brief video which touches on this subject. Take a look and let me know what you think.

Happy viewing. Stay safe.



Stephenson is the co-founder and CEO of Topos Labs, a Boston-based cognitive computing company. Connect with him on LinkedIn, Twitter or Email.