What does data classification mean for enterprise security?

Data classification is a simple but effective way to bolster your organisation's cybersecurity, while playing a large part in your data strategy

Data is very multifaceted, and organisations will surely have a data checklist that can be unscrolled for miles. To add to that checklist is data classification. If you aren’t overly familiar, or just haven’t got around to it, it may please you to know that it allows you to shoot two birds with one stone.

As well as being a valuable player in your data strategy, data classification can bolster your organisation’s security.

Let’s firstly remind ourselves of what data classification actually is (though it’s pretty much what it says on the tin). In particular, data classification is the organisation and categorisation of your enterprise’s data. In doing so, you make your data easier to find and retrieve.

However, it doesn’t stop there. Although categorisation makes it easy enough, you can streamline locating further by tagging data. This way, you don’t even need to sift through your categories. Instead, you can simply search using your tags.

For those of you who need to do a little data cleansing, you’ll also be pleased to know that data classification can help you do so along the way. More specifically, it eliminates data duplicates, so as to not bog down your search or clog up your storage. With less duplicates floating around, you’re one step closer to cleaner data.

A classy security solution

While data classification has its many perks, one in particular is that it heightens your security. This is because it gives you better control of your data; you know exactly where it resides or, if not, how to find it.

Data classification also enables you to compartmentalise your assets based on its sensitivity. Such categories could be public, restricted, confidential – whatever works for you. Another consideration when compartmentalising is the size; the larger the data store (such as a database), the worse the impact of the unauthorised disclosure.

By divvying up your assets into the relevant categories, you can better delegate resources to the data that needs heightened protection. However, where do you start?

Data classification is not just for the IT team to handle. At the end of the day, it is up to seniors at your organisation to make the decisions regarding the status of your data. Once they have decided what needs protection, its up to both the seniors and the IT team to draw up a data classification policy. Then, you always have a point of reference when new data enters your arena. Furthermore, it’ll make your lives a lot easier going forward if you have this properly outlined from the get-go.

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