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Data Classification is a business imperative

Data Classification is a business imperative.

Data classification is the foundation of any good data security strategy and should be considered as the first step to data protection.

The responsibility of securing organisational data needs to be in the hands of anyone who creates it, and not lie solely with the IT department. Unsecured data leaves organisations open to lost intellectual property, significant fines, loss of investor trust, loss of clients, and lawsuits. With the proliferation of data sharing applications, mobile device and remote access, the task of securing data has become too great a responsibility for the IT department to manage effectively on its own.

"Classification is foundational to securing your information as it allows users to quickly and easily indicate the value of the data to the organisation." says Sean Glansbeek, managing director of Seven Days Technologies.

Classifying data provides it with a voice, announcing to both users and security systems the information's value and how it should be handled. When data is classified, organisations can raise security awareness, prevent data loss, and comply with records management regulations.

Classification is effective because it adds "metadata" to the file. Metadata is information about the data itself, such as author, creation date, or the classification. When a user classifies an email, a document, or a file, persistent metadata identifying the data's value is embedded within the file. By embedding classification metadata, the value of the data is preserved no matter where the information is saved, sent, or shared.

"From a worker's perspective, classification forces attention toward the value of the data being used, making employees more aware of the information's sensitivity and how it should be handled, says Sean Glansbeek

As classifications are applied, they can also be added to the data as protective visual markings. When the classification is visible in the headers and footers of an email or document, consumers of the information cannot deny their awareness of the data's value even when printed and their responsibility to protect it.

As information is shared, the classification metadata embedded within the file can be used by data loss prevention (DLP) systems, gateways, and other perimeter security systems to enforce safe distribution and sharing. For example, a DLP system may be configured with a policy that restricts documents classified as "secret" from being transferred via USB to a portable storage device. Similarly, policies which stipulate the necessity to encrypt the most sensitive data can easily be enforced.

As the leading provider of user-based email and document classification solutions, TITUS offers a complete classification management solution for both private and public organisations. TITUS products include:
* Message Classification for the classification of email in Microsoft Outlook, Outlook Web App, Lotus Notes, and mobile devices.
* Classification for Microsoft Office for the classification of Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, and Excel documents.
* Classification for Desktop for the classification of any file type in Windows Explorer, including Adobe PDF, multimedia files, and CAD documents.

See TITUS Classification solutions in action. Click here

"When classification becomes a part of everyday workflow, security awareness and risk mitigating behaviour takes root within the corporate culture," concludes Sean Glansbeek.


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