Data Classification

Explore how our solutions help organizations better categorize, label, and protect data, while delivering interactive training to your users, and reducing business friction 

What is Data Classification?

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Data classification is the process of labeling data according to its type, sensitivity, and business value so that informed choices can be made about how it is managed, protected, and shared, both within and outside your organization. 

Every day, businesses are creating more and more data. Data gets saved, employees move on, data is forgotten, and lost. Valuable information sits on your file servers and document stores, not protected and unrecoverable because no-one knows it exists, let alone where to find it. 

By organizing data into categories, organizations have more control, making data easier to locate and retrieve, which is of particular importance when it comes to risk management, compliance, and data security. 

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Why Prioritize Data Classification?

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Increasing regulation, legislation, and compliance – and the growing risk of data breaches – are some of the biggest challenges impacting the data security of organizations today. But all too often, data lacks context, users are bombarded with too many false positive alerts, and accidental breaches occur. At the same time, compliance regulations are making organizations more responsible for the protection of their data.

Today, data is prolific and good data governance is an ever-growing requirement, as is securing sensitive data against accidental and inadvertent loss, which could lead to a data breach. From the moment data is created, it becomes a liability. Data costs firms money to store and poses a risk if it inadvertently falls into the wrong hands.

Here at Fortra, we recognize the importance of protecting data and can provide a suite of data security solutions that help organizations regain control by identifying and classifying all the different data types, from public, to sensitive financial data and personally identifiable information (PII). We see data security as an ecosystem where classification is one of the core tenets and the foundation of any good security strategy.

How Data Classification Helps

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Modern data classification solutions combine visual labelling with labels applied to the file’s metadata to protect and control use. These labels enhance the performance of third-party technology solutions to determine how a piece of data should be treated, handled, stored, and finally disposed of.

Data classification streamlines the load when it comes to handling data, as well as enhancing data security and compliance – making your investment in security applications work harder. Once data has been classified, organizations can confidently continue their data security journey.

Data classification benefits your business by:

 

 

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Identifying and protecting data.

Identifying and protecting data wherever it is located.

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Data protection regulations.

Aiding compliance with global data protection regulations including, but not limited to, GDPR, CCPA, HIPAA, CMMC, ITAR,  and CUI.

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Data security solutions.

Driving downstream data security solutions such as Secure Collaboration, Data Loss Prevention, Encryption, and more.

10 Classification Mistakes to Avoid

 

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The 4 Common Levels of Data Classification

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Depending on its level of sensitivity or value to the organization, the type of classification given to data determines a number of things, including who has access to that data and how long it should be retained. Typically, there should be four base levels when it comes to initially categorizing and labeling data: 

Data/information that is freely used, reused, and redistributed with no restrictions on access or usage. Examples can include press releases, brochures, and published research. 

Data that is strictly accessible to internal employees/personnel who are granted access. Examples can include company memos, internal communications, and marketing research.

Data that requires granted access and/or authorization and should be contained within the business or specifically permissible third-parties. Examples can include PII, and IP. 

Data that is highly sensitive with use limited on a need-to-know basis. If compromised or accessed without clearance, this could result in criminal charges, heavy legal fines, and irreparable company damage. Examples can include trade secrets, PII, health information, and data protected by federal regulations. 

Are 4 levels of classification enough?

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While these base categories might offer a place to start in your data classification journey, it’s highly likely it won’t be where you end up. There are many reasons why normal business practices within organizations will typically require a greater level of depth to the way data is classified to conform with data security policy. For example: 

Broad classification labels will invariably need to be broken down into sub-categories, such as “Confidential – PII,” “Confidential – Finance,” “Confidential – IP,” etc.  

New local or global data protection regulations, such as CUI and ITAR

Retention and reporting requirements vary when business operate in multiple jurisdictions.

Merger and acquisition activity demands changes in business structure. 

Diversity in business operations drives a need for policy changes (e.g., new product, service, division etc.). 

The ability to support changes in supply chain and business processes, for example, interoperability with partner classification schemes. 

Ensuring adaptability for different end-user communities (for example, based on skill set or granted access).

Support interoperability with new systems and toolsets.  

Fortra’s Data Classification helps categorize, label, and protect your data

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Fortra's Data Classification allows organizations to enhance their data security, deliver interactive training to users, and reduce business friction. Our solution is built to fit individual customer requirements. We’ll plan out and implement a solution relevant to your users and your business, helping you protect what really matters: Your data. 

Data classification allows your users to assign a visual label to the data they create, so that informed decisions can be taken about how it is managed, protected and shared, both within and outside of your organization. 

Data Categorization

Big data, data governance and data management – these are everyday challenges for all organizations today. Data categorization helps you identify the context as well as content of data, and critically extends classification beyond the security domain to ensure you a holistic view of data.

Security Labeling

Sensitive data is important to identify, to ensure the right people have access to the right data. However, sensitivity is just one dimension of data classification. In order to get the full potential from data classification, and value from your data, you need to combine categorization with security labelling. Fortra has the unique data classification tools to show you how. 

Data Protection

Classification turns visual labels into metadata, which can be used to both enforce your company’s security policies and drive other technologies, such as data loss prevention, secure collaboration, and archiving solutions. 

The result is streamlined business processes with data security at the core, reducing risk and improving security culture. 

Our Solutions

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Fortra’s data classification provides a flexible solution tailored to specifically fit the individual customer requirements or circumstance. Because a “one size fits all” approach doesn’t work for every individual organization, we will work with you to advise on current legislation such as CCPA, GDPR , and more, and what that means for your business. We’ll plan out and implement a solution relevant to your users and your business, helping you protect data, reduce business friction, and train employees on security best practices.

Fortra’s data classification solutions are built from the ground up, to comply with current and future needs. Our specialist tools have the capacity and flexibility to provide a comprehensive and user-friendly solution that works in line with your controls and business processes, and which will classify and protect your data in line with industry standards.

There are no limitations on the types of policies you can support using our data labelling and classification, and your business can leverage metadata across your data security ecosystem, adding accuracy to the data protection tools you already use. Once you know what your data is and where it is stored, you can then protect it according to its business value, giving you a stronger data protection posture AND competitive advantage.

Our best-of-breed data classification solutions enable organizations to effectively manage data, streamline operations and proactively respond to regulatory change.

Fortra's Data Classification Suite

Robust data classification, identification, and reporting - plus the option to deploy our SaaS products and add discovery for data at rest, mobile classification, and intelligent protection leveraging machine learning.

Fortra's Data Classification

 

Fortra's Classifier Suite

Robust data classification within standard Office applications on both Windows and MacOS, as well as reporting - plus the option to add discovery for data at rest or mobile classification.

Classifier Suite

Award-Winning Data Protection

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Badges 2023 Gold
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2023 Cybersecurity Excellence Award Winner 

In recognition for our enterprise data and protection, Cybersecurity Excellence named Fortra the 2023 winner for: 

  • Data Classification 
  • Data Leakage Protection​ 
  • Data Security Platform 
  • Data-Centric Security 
  • Digital Rights Management 

Why Fortra

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Fortra's acquisition of both Boldon James and Titus in 2020 created the deepest and widest pool of data classification expertise in the industry, making us the primary place for the specialist knowledge needed to identify, label and control your data. We have over 35 years of data classification experience, working across the entire spectrum of data sensitivity, so however important your data is, we have the capability to protect it.

Whether you are operating in a highly regulated industry or controlling data usage, securing your data against cyberattack or needing to ensure personal records do not end up in the wrong hands, Fortra has a solution that will fit with your business.

Classification Enhances Your Data Protection Strategy

Alongside data loss preventionsecure collaborationmanaged file transfer, and other data security solutions, classification should be deployed to provide seamless protection for business-critical data from creation to destination.

During the content inspection process, Fortra's DLP tools recognize different classification markings and automatically enforce the appropriate policies.

They also ensure protective markings remain in place as the data moves throughout the network or leaves the organization, precisely flagging activity which contravenes security policy.

Files being sent or received securely through managed transfer benefit from an additional layer of data loss prevention and protection from cybersecurity threats.

How protected is your data?

Meet with one of our experts to assess your needs, and we'll walk you through our solution.

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