As a layperson in a world of information security professionals, it’s sometimes a bit daunting keeping up from a technical perspective. Throughout my career, I’ve tried to arm myself with enough technical knowledge to engage in a discussion, however knew that inevitably, I’d have to bring in the “big guns” when I started to get in over my head.
One thing I always felt confident in discussing though, was the importance of data classification. This to me always made sense – there was nothing technical about the role that data classification played. At least from my seat in the stands.
Data is the lifeblood of any organization – it’s your competitive differentiator and it’s what keeps the lights on. It’s an organizations trade secrets and financial records, it’s customer information; really it’s anything that would be considered valuable to a company and would be devastating if lost or stolen. The argument for me was always, “if you can’t identify what information is important, where it’s located, how it’s being used and where it’s going, how can you be confident you know how to protect it?”.
Data classification is the foundation to ensuring that you’re focusing on protecting the information that matters most. In addition to being a key component to information protection, data classification is increasingly critical for organizations required to maintain strict compliance with regulatory requirements. We continue to see increased focus on leveraging data classification from a regulatory perspective. And as such, more organizations than ever, are required to look at their data differently and be able to clearly identify what it is, so that it can be protected accordingly.
Thankfully, today’s approach to data classification has made the process more achievable for organizations. And in addition to enabling a better understanding of your information, data classification also strengthens the capabilities of downstream technologies, including DLP and encryption solutions, thereby further strengthening your security strategy.
By leveraging a combination of technology along with clear policies and processes, data classification can mature an organization’s overall security and compliance posture, and help protect its most critical assets.
While I still don’t fully understand all the layers of security and the associated technical landscapes, and certainly won’t be taking my CISSP test anytime soon, one thing I do know is that data classification still remains one of the most important and foundational strategies an organization can employ to protect its information.
Just one girl’s not so technical opinion.
Sienna Group, North American Sales Director