Top Questions to Ask Your Data Classification Vendor

This checklist of questions will help you gain insight into the advantages of Fortra’s Data Classification Suite.


Data classification enables your organization to discover, identify, protect, and analyze your data. As you evaluate different data classification solutions, this checklist of questions will help you differentiate between various offerings and gain insight into the advantages of Fortra's Data Classification Suite (DCS).




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Can I automatically classify files as soon as they are created, moved, downloaded, or modified? In addition to enabling users to classify data, the solution should monitor users’ folders to automatically analyze and classify data the moment it is created in, moved to, or modified within the folders. This includes the interception of files as they are downloaded from web browsers or email. DCS provides the ability to automatically apply classification and protection as files are created, moved to, and modified in local directories and mapped drives (including those synced to Box, Dropbox, and OneDrive). Download sensitive content from websites or cloud repositories and ensure that the file is appropriately classified in its download folder. Try modifying an existing file to increase its sensitivity and ensure that its classification is automatically upgraded.
Can I discover and classify sensitive data in network and cloud repositories? Strengthen your data classification solution with data discovery. Choose a solution that combines data discovery with data classification, so you know what data you have, where it resides, and who has access. DCS provides a complete solution for discovering, classifying, protecting, and analyzing data at rest. The solution scans network and cloud repositories, providing a comprehensive data inventory. DCS automatically classifies the files it discovers, ensuring the appropriate data protections are enforced. Run scheduled scans to automatically classify files based on several factors, including the file properties/attributes, content, and/or metadata. Cloud scanning tests should include Box, Dropbox, OneDrive, and SharePoint Online. Also try automatically quarantining data that has been stored inappropriately.
Can I force users to classify email and documents based on policy? In addition to automated classification, the solution should offer both optional and forced user-driven classification. It should be possible to prompt the user to classify or confirm an automated classification under certain conditions (e.g. when attaching documents to email). Fortra's DCS combines automated classification with human insight. No other classification vendor provides the same level of flexibility and control in balancing automated classification with user involvement. Test that the solution can prompt users to classify in Outlook, OWA, and Office. Confirm that the solution can handle more advanced use cases, such as prompting users to classify only when sending external email or certain file attachments.
Can I capture additional metadata information beyond two levels of classification? Rather than being constrained to only one or two levels of classification, future-proof your classification project with support for unlimited metadata values. This extra metadata can be used to support additional use cases such as retention management. One size does not fit all, which is why DCS provides the widest choice and flexibility in classification and labeling. The Titus classification platform can capture any number of metadata values, which provides value as your use cases expand over time. Test for it by capturing retention-related metadata, such as department, document type, and data owner. Try a combination of classification methods, such as automatically capturing some of the extra metadata fields and prompting users for others.
Can I enable classification and protection on mobile devices? As more and more business is performed from smart phones and tablets, it is vital that data created, stored and sent from mobile devices is classified and protected as it would be from the desktop. DCS enables users to classify email and documents from mobile devices. With direct access to popular cloud storage services, DCS enforces secure sharing policies, such as upload and print, based on classification. DCS also extends Microsoft RMS protection to the mobile device. Test that the solution provides an intuitive method for users to classify email and documents. Ensure that sharing and protection policies can be enforced based on classification. Check to see that the solution can consume RMS protected email and documents.
Do you enhance the value of my existing investments? Rather than choosing a solution that locks you into one security ecosystem, choose one that enhances the value of your existing security investments, including DLP and encryption. Fortra has strong relationships with leading security ecosystem vendors. Our teams work together to ensure successful integrations and ecosystem compatibility. Test for metadata interoperability with existing infrastructure solutions. Look for additional integration points, such as Symantec FlexResponse, McAfee ePO and DXL, Ionic, and Box. Also test that the solution integrates with 3rd party reporting solutions for auditing and analytics.
Can I roll this out quickly and successfully to large numbers of users? Rather than getting bogged down in high-risk, complex projects, or one-size-fits all solutions that don’t truly meet your needs, deploy a solution that has had proven success in large, global enterprises. Leading organizations in over 60 countries choose DCS to classify and protect their most sensitive data. DCS is intuitive and easy to use, with low operational impact on an organization’s technology infrastructure and IT team. Ask questions such as: 1) How long has the classification solution been available in the market; 2) Are there customers who have used it in production, and if yes, for how many years; 3) Are there any classification customers with 100,000+ users?
Do you offer deployment options that meet my requirements, including support for on-premises and hybrid cloud environments? Rather than being forced into a vendor’s deployment model, choose the deployment that best fits your requirements now and in the future. Fortra's DCS was built to support cloud, on-premise, and hybrid mode environments, so that customers have the flexibility to move to the cloud when they are ready. Ask the vendor if their solution depends on cloud components, and if there are on-premises alternatives. For example, is there an on-premises administration option?
Do you provide classification focused support resources to ensure deployment success? Rather than working with a vendor for whom classification is only one piece of a much larger security bundle, partner with a vendor who is focused on data classification and can provide expert guidance for your project success. Customer success is a top priority at Fortra. Our team has extensive data classification experience and can provide: 1) Classification schema and policy development assistance; 2) Configurations to meet specific business scenarios; 3) A detailed deployment methodology including best practices; and 4) Classification-focused support resources to ensure your success. Ask whether your vendor provides classification-focused support resources. Who will you call when you have questions or issues with the software? How familiar are those resources with the product’s classification features, and with classification in general? If the product is new, will support options change as more customers come on board with the solution?
Can you provide an 18-month roadmap with committed release dates, including maintenance updates and feature updates? A classification vendor should be comfortable sharing their roadmap so that you can provide feedback and plan for future capabilities. They should also have a track record of executing on their promises. Fortra is happy to provide customers with roadmap plans, including our vision for classification in cloud environments such as Office 365. Fortra also follows a regular release schedule with frequent maintenance and feature updates. Ask for a roadmap presentation from the Product team, including committed release dates. Also ask for a list of previous releases, including maintenance updates.

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