(updated on 7/1/2022)
Data classification is fundamentally important to risk management, compliance and data security. Classifying documents accurately can make all the difference in protecting highly sensitive documents on devices that connect to unsecured networks or could be lost or stolen. It can also help determine which documents are unsafe to share externally or even internally.
As such, data classification is the building block for data protection policies and data loss prevention (DLP) rules. Data classification augments and accelerates DLP. Indeed, if you don’t know how sensitive a document is or what it refers to, you can’t protect it adequately.
Below, you’ll find some data classification examples to illustrate the different classification levels and how Proofpoint can help you implement them accurately to supercharge your data protection efforts.
What are the different types of data classification?
Data classification tools organize documents into relevant categories such as confidentiality, sensitivity or even business category. While this classification is based on multiple criteria, most common classification software usually leverages a predefined set of keywords and templates or manually defined rules to label documents.
Once these documents are classified, the data classification levels are correlated to the security measures that organizations need to put in place internally. Data classification can also be translated into tagging to make the data more easily searchable and trackable.
How does Proofpoint stand out with data classification?
At Proofpoint, we have advanced the science of data classification by incorporating both context analysis and content awareness as features in our artificial intelligence (AI)-powered engine. This industry-leading innovation helps ensure much greater accuracy in data classification levels for your document classification and labeling.
Content awareness focuses on the meaning and semantics of a document, offering a baseline for identifying a file’s classification. This includes the grammatical rules of the text, the repeated sequences of words and, more generally, the document’s topic. Content awareness also involves analyzing a document’s content to determine if it includes sensitive information—for example, names, passport numbers or ID information.
In contrast, context analysis looks at the metadata of files, which can be seen as document properties, such as the size, format and path of a document, to determine whether the data is sensitive. Taking the example of the file path, we can identify previously hidden context that can, in turn, be used to fine-tune data classification and improve prediction accuracy.
Proprietary AI technology for fast, accurate data classification
The Proofpoint data classification engine is based on proprietary AI models and algorithms that allow us to provide up to 99% accuracy in our predictions. It can also provide visibility into who is using the data and what actions they’re performing. This information is then used to recertify accesses internally, identify suspicious data sharing externally, and prevent data theft and loss.
Automated data classification using AI also helps ensure that organizations can identify, classify and protect their documents continuously, whether sensitive data is stored on private servers and storage systems or the cloud.
In summary, data classification gives you the necessary information to secure your data properly. Whether your business is a small company or a large enterprise, data classification can help make sense of the mountains of unclassified and unintelligible data stored in your organization’s filesystem.
AI-powered data classification software from Proofpoint allows you to classify data with great accuracy at lightning speed. It scans all your files to identify your sensitive documents and makes sure they’re assigned the correct data classification levels to enable their safeguarding. It even provides risk-prioritized recommendations on DLP policy, including immediate remediations. Deploy it with confidence and get first-class security from Proofpoint.
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