- Huge volumes of all different types of data make data discovery a daunting task. With such backlogs of information, it can be difficult to figure out where to start classification.
- End users are one of the weakest links in data security. Ensuring their ability to accurately classify and handle sensitive information requires significant awareness and training.
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Data classification is a huge undertaking, and the process is never really finished, as new data is created daily. However, the stress can be managed by following these tips:
- Avoid analysis paralysis
Classifying all your data at once may not be feasible. Start small, quantify your results, report them to management, and then go back and tackle a larger portion. For many, it may be best to focus on classifying new data as it’s created. Once the process is smoothed out, then move on to classifying legacy data.
- Remember that data is dynamic
Data, by its nature, does not stay static. A piece of data’s criticality will peak, but strategic reassessment will eliminate under/overprotection of data. Data classification must be a program, not a project.
- Classify what matters
Focus the program on data whose classification is measurable, auditable, and manageable.
Impact and Result
This blueprint will help you to understand where your data lives and who has access to it so that you can develop an appropriate data classification system by conducting interviews with data owners and by incorporating vendor solutions to make the process more manageable and end-user friendly.
- Formalize the data classification initiative with the proper policies and handling standards, as well as a structured steering committee to ensure accountability and consistency.
- Understand where your data lives and what controls are implemented to protect it. Make sure the protection is proportional to the sensitivity and criticality of the assets.
- Understand what tools are available to implement an efficient data classification program – whether provided by a third party or done in-house. Know how and when to revisit classifications to keep them up to date.