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Top 3 Best Practices of Data Classification to Boost Your Organization’s Security

Data classification helps safeguard sensitive information, ensure regulation compliance, and optimize resource allocation and incident response. The blog recommends determining sensitivity levels for digital assets, focusing on a minimum lovable scope, and periodic auditing of the classification labels. Data classification aims to establish a comprehensive framework for effective data security and management, building trust with customers and partners, and mitigating legal risks.

 Organizing data into specific categories based on its sensitivity and value is known as data classification. This crucial process ensures that information is managed appropriately, promoting efficient data management and security. Defining policies that map digital assets to their respective categories is essential for safeguarding these assets.

Why Data Classification Is Essential for Your Organization

In the rapidly evolving digital landscape, the importance of data classification for organizations cannot be overstated. By categorizing data according to its sensitivity and importance, businesses can effectively safeguard their valuable information assets. Data classification enables organizations to identify and protect sensitive data but also aids in preventing unauthorized access and data theft.

Furthermore, compliance with stringent regulations like GDPR, NCA, and the latest Indian DPDPA 2023 is critical to contemporary business operations. Data classification is pivotal in ensuring adherence to these regulations by helping organizations appropriately manage personal and sensitive data. By implementing robust data classification processes, companies can demonstrate their commitment to data privacy, mitigate legal risks, and build trust with their customers and partners. It serves as a cornerstone for comprehensive data security strategies, fostering a secure environment where businesses can thrive while safeguarding their most valuable asset – data.

Best Practices for Data Classification

Data classification helps organizations enhance security, ensure compliance, and optimize resource allocation. It categorizes data based on sensitivity, allowing targeted security measures, legal compliance, and efficient resource allocation. It also informs lifecycle management and aids in swift responses during incidents, minimizing impact and aiding recovery. Cultivating a culture of awareness among employees is also crucial for overall security. Implementing data classification best practices establishes a comprehensive framework for effective data security and management.

Now that we understand the importance of data classification, let’s look at three best practices when implementing data classification within your organization:

  • Determine sensitivity levels for digital assets:

Your digital assets are unique! What has worked for other organizations may or may not work for your organization. You must understand your digital assets very well. When thinking about the sensitivity levels that would apply to your data, ask a few questions:

  • Who created the digital asset?
  • How valuable is this asset to the organization?
  • What kind of restriction should be imposed on the asset?
  • How will these restrictions impact the end user?

Once you have identified the various data assets and asked the questions above, you can define the various classification labels that match the sensitivity levels of your digital assets. As a best practice, it is recommended to start with four labels: Public, Internal, Restricted, and Confidential.

Here are some of the examples:

Subham blog Classification labels

  • Focus on a Minimum Lovable Scope Rather than Minimum Viable Scope:

While defining the scope for implementing data classification, organizations often make the mistake of thinking one-dimensionally. They often ask questions like “How do I achieve compliance?” and “How do I prevent data theft?”. There is nothing wrong with these questions, but they lack empathy towards the end user. Although perfect on paper, this approach fails to translate due to a lack of large-scale adoption, as the end users do not accept the solution.

Hence, while defining the scope of implementation and thinking of its viability, focus on prioritizing the solution for multiple stakeholders. For example:

  • Ask, “How do I achieve compliance by introducing the least friction to the end user?” Instead of, “How do I achieve compliance?”
  • Ask “Do I know the sensitivity of the data spread across my organization?” before asking, “How do I prevent data theft?”
  • Ask “Which digital asset do I need to protect against data theft?” instead of “How do I protect all my data?”

Asking and answering the right questions will improve end-user experience and ensure organization-wide adoption.

  • Rinse and Repeat:

Implementing data classification is not a one-time activity. It is essential to audit the following points periodically:

  • How is the data distributed across various classification labels?
  • Is the classification as per the organization’s expectations?
  • Do all the stakeholders understand the difference between the sensitivity levels defined?

Understanding the answers to the above questions identifies mistakes in the current implementation and improves end-user experience.

Introducing Seclore Digital Asset Classification

The Seclore data-centric security platform allows enterprises to know, protect, and control their digital assets from one platform without needing additional agents. With the latest product capabilities, Seclore provides expanded visibility and insights and new protection and control features. By adopting a data-centric approach to security, Seclore enables organizations to regain control of their data and allow it to move freely at scale.

Integrating Digital Asset Classification (DAC) within the Seclore platform enables enterprises to achieve comprehensive data security, protection, and control from a unified platform. By leveraging Seclore’s data-centric security platform, organizations can effortlessly integrate and consolidate their classification, rights management, DLP, and SIEM systems, ensuring a better-integrated approach to data-centric security.

Here are a few of the benefits of DAC:

  • Seamless Data Protection and Control: DAC empowers organizations to protect and control their digital assets without sacrificing seamless collaboration and data sharing.
  • Risk Evaluation and Mitigation: DAC helps protect your sensitive information proactively. With Seclore Risk Insights, organizations have a clear view of the current risks and the ability to take action against these risks to prevent data theft and achieve compliance.

Conclusion

Data classification is pivotal for safeguarding sensitive information, ensuring compliance, and securing collaboration. Organizations should customize sensitivity labels, prioritize user-friendly solutions, and continuously refine their classification practice to implement them effectively.

With Seclore’s Digital Asset Classification, you have complete visibility of your sensitive data, the ability to protect and control sensitive data, and the configurability to orchestrate the solution across multiple platforms, taking care of all your data classification needs under one platform.

Subham Mahanta is a Product Manager at Seclore with over 7 years of experience in product development. He enjoys tackling tough problems with a keen eye for detail. In his free time, he finds delight in the game of cricket and is an avid traveler, exploring diverse cultures and landscapes.

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