Proofpoint Email DLP: Product overview

Expert Bill Hayes examines Proofpoint Email Data Loss Prevention, a specialized DLP product that's part of Proofpoint's cloud-based Information Protection suite.

Some data loss prevention products focus on specific segments of an enterprise infrastructure, such as email or cloud applications. Proofpoint offers one such product as part of its Information Protection suite of cloud-based security offerings.

Proofpoint Email Data Loss Prevention offers integrated data protection for email and attachments and is designed to stop accidental data exposure, as well as to prevent third-party attacker or imposter attacks via email. The data loss prevention (DLP) product can be used in conjunction with other Information Protection suite products such as Proofpoint Data Discover and Proofpoint Email Encryption.

Proofpoint Email DLP features

Proofpoint Email DLP includes more than 80 predefined security policies that are designed to automatically detect, classify and block email messages that may contain malicious content and links.

While the product focuses on blocking external threats, Proofpoint Email DLP also works toward preventing organizations' employees from leaking sensitive corporate data through email, either accidentally or intentionally. The product's Smart Send tool doesn't simply block outbound emails, but allows users to remediate policy violations and educates them on the specifics of the security policy.

In addition, built-in, policy-based email encryption allows for the exchange of sensitive data with customers and business partners, and the Digital Asset Security feature and managed dictionaries provide automatically updated policies.

Identification and analysis

Proofpoint Email DLP relies heavily on its ability to analyze the content of emails to prevent sensitive data from leaving an organization without proper authorization. The Digital Asset Security feature detects unstructured content in email messages and is designed to identify and analyze sensitive data, such as financial information, personally identifiable information and healthcare data.

According to Proofpoint, the Digital Asset Security feature automatically fingerprints sensitive content and can match the content, either fully or partially, with data on the network, even if it is a different file format than the email content.


Proofpoint Email DLP leverages managed dictionaries, which, in the realm of DLP, are a set of predefined regular terms. Enterprises can set up dictionary terms based on the regulations and compliance requirements they need to follow. For example, an organization can set up a managed dictionary that will identify Social Security numbers and payment card numbers and develop policies and remediation measures for those terms. If Proofpoint Email DLP detects those numbers in outgoing emails, the product can then simply block the message, remediate it or encrypt the sensitive information using Proofpoint Email Encryption.

Additional features for Proofpoint Email DLP include generating integrated reports for incidents and potential policy violations and creating policies that route blocked emails to the user, the enterprise security and IT team, the human resources department or other destinations for remediation.


Proofpoint Email DLP is a specialized product that provides DLP capabilities for enterprise email only. The product is part of Proofpoint's larger, cloud-based Information Protection suite, which includes complimentary products for email discovery and encryption. The suite and its component products are designed to be deployed within 90 minutes.

Proofpoint Email DLP covers data in transit for Simple Mail Transfer Protocol traffic, but it does not cover endpoint, mobile or cloud data. The product is designed to scale for both small and medium-sized businesses, as well as large enterprises. It can be applied to both on-premises email programs and cloud-based email services, and it can run on hardware, as well as virtual appliances.

Organizations interested in pricing and licensing terms should contact Proofpoint or an authorized Proofpoint reseller for more information. 

Next Steps

Learn the basics of data loss prevention technology

See how DLP can help your company protect its data

Know these criteria before deciding on DLP

This was last published in May 2017

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