As a foundational component to Information Lifecycle Management (ILM) data classification is a capability that can define the access, recovery, discovery and security characteristics of an enterprise’s unstructured and semi-structured data. By grouping data into logical categories, classification can assist in addressing business objectives, meeting an ever-increasing number of regulatory requirements and facilitating the secure flow of data in an environment.
Data classification can provide the context for forward-thinking organizations to mature from reactionary data consumption towards an efficient, effective knowledge management capability with the agility to accurately assign value and align data with business priorities. Regulations, business priorities, retention requirements and an organizations technical landscape change over time, and maintaining the flexibility to reflect the dynamic nature of a data’s value is critical.
From a data security perspective and far from being a standalone capability, user-driven, user-assisted and automated classification can significantly increase the return on investment (ROI) on existing and planned data security investments. By providing a context aware decision-making capability that allow for a higher degree of precision and reduction in false-positives, data classification can increase the efficacy of your data protection environment.
Coupled with Sr. Leadership support, adequate user community socialization and process governance, a successful data classification solution that fosters a culture of compliance should exhibit these characteristics:
- Classification options that can easily reflect the simplicity or complexity of an organizations data governance policy that change over time
- Interoperability with the broadest range of complementary technologies to include eDiscovery, data loss prevention (DLP), encryption, analytics (UEBA), retention and storage management, Cloud Access Security Broker (CASB) and other solutions
- Demonstrated ability to increase the ROI of existing and planned investments
- Low total cost of ownership with robust support options
Data classification is a maturing technology that when implemented properly can complement a number of technologies in various capacities in pursuit of a comprehensive data governance program. Along with complementary process maturity, data classification can act as a catalyst to move organizations into a business aligned knowledge management paradigm.