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March 2009

Data classification best practices: Techniques, methods and projects

The process of data classification is not something that comes naturally to us. So why even bother to do it at all? Because it just makes no sense to treat all information as if it has the same security significance (or integrity significance or availability significance). Without making a conscious decision to perform different levels of control on different types of data, you inevitably either treat all data as if it were nuclear waste, carefully securing it to such a degree that nobody can get any work done, or apply no controls whatsoever, ensuring that proprietary and regulated data will get into the wrong hands. A data classification model is a mechanism to optimize the level of security effort, maintaining the maximum possible flexibility while ensuring a proportionate level of control for sensitive data. But how do we do choose a model that is practical and useful? What data classification best practices should we follow? Given that classification is a practice we borrowed directly from military organizations, it's ...

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