Trial lock

This Research is for Members Only

Not a member? Unlock a free sample of our research now!

Already a member?

Sign in now

Security icon

Define and Develop a Data Classification Program

Simplify data classification for broader visibility into your security program.

Unlock a Free Sample

View Storyboard

Solution Set Storyboard Thumbnail


  • Charles Tatosi Chavapi – Information Security Manager, Debswana Mining Industry
  • Ken Dewitt – IT Director, Navajo County
  • Jim Finlayson – IT Director, City of Grand Junction
  • Lian Guan – Enterprise Information Management Advisor, Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation
  • Diane Kelly – Information Security Manager, Colorado Judicial ITS
  • Leon Letto – Senior Technical Sales Engineer, AirWatch
  • Jim McGann – VP, Marketing and Business Development, Index Engines, Inc.
  • William Mendez – Information System Security Officer, City of Miami
  • Ian Parker – Head of Corporate System Information Security, Risk, and Compliance, Fujitsu Services
  • Claudiu Popa – President & CEO, Informatica Corporation
  • Doug Waram – Director of IT, County of Wellington
  • Chris Whiting – Solutions Architect, APA Group
  • 3 anonymous contributors

Your Challenge

  • Huge volumes of data, in all different types, make data discovery a daunting task. With such backlogs of information, it can be difficult figuring out where to start classification.
  • Ad hoc classification systems may lack consistency and accountability. Which formal classification system is right for you?
  • End users are one of the weakest links in data security. Relying on end users to accurately classify and handle sensitive information requires significant awareness and training.

Our Advice

Critical Insight

  • Avoid analysis paralysis. Classifying all your data at once may not be feasible. Start small, quantify your results, report it to management, and then go back and tackle a larger portion.
  • Data is dynamic. Data, by its nature, does not stay static. A piece of data’s criticality will peak, but strategic reassessment will eliminate over/under protection of data. Data classification must be a program, not a project.
  • Classify what matters. Focus the program on data whose classification is measurable, auditable, and manageable.

Impact and Result

  • Formalize the data classification initiative with the proper policies and handling standards, as well as a structured steering committee to ensure accountability and consistency.
  • Understand where your data lives and what controls are implemented to protect the data. Make sure the protection is proportional to the sensitivity and criticality of the assets.
  • Understand what tools are available to implement an efficient data classification program – whether provided from a third party or done in-house. Know how and when to revisit classifications to keep them up to date.

Research & Tools

Start here – read the Executive Brief

Read our concise Executive Brief to find out why you should define and develop a data classification program, review Info-Tech’s methodology, and understand the four ways we can support you in completing this project.

1. Define the requirements

Formalize your data classification steering committee, classification scheme, and documentation.

2. Discover the data

Perform data discovery to understand where your most sensitive data resides.

3. Implement data classification

Perform data classification and draw out valuable insights to drive strategic security decisions.

Guided Implementations

This guided implementation is a six call advisory process.

Guided Implementation #1 - Define the requirements

Call #1 - Formalize the Data Classification Steering Committee

Formalize data classification documentation

Guided Implementation #2 - Discover the data

Call #1 - Plan for data discovery
Call #2 - Ease the task of classification

Guided Implementation #3 - Implement data classification

Call #1 - Fill in the Data Classification Inventory Tool
Call #2 - Analyze results
Call #3 - Maintain and optimize the program

Search Code: 78924
Published: October 22, 2015
Last Revised: February 17, 2016