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Data Discovery and Classification: Working Hand in Hand

by Ellen Zhang on Thursday June 20, 2019

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From heightened visibility into your data to helping you meet compliance regulations, linking Data Discovery and Data Classification together produces many security benefits for your organization.

The boundaries of the enterprise are becoming diffused. You have data on the network, on the endpoint, and on the cloud. Enabling visibility into your data flows is a critical first step to understanding which data is at risk for theft or misuse. You need to know what data you have, where it's located, and why that data exists in order to properly protect it. This is where data discovery and data classification come into play.

Data Discovery is an important foundation to gain that knowledge of the what, where, and why of your data. Data Classification allows you to create a scalable security solution. Such solutions as file tagging can be used across platforms from Windows to Mac and also enables you to tag files across the endpoint, network and cloud. This in turn gives you visibility into data across all of your infrastructures so you can apply the appropriate policies. The video clip below is taken from our webinar, Why Data Classification Should Drive Your Security Strategy, and is presented by Tony Themelis, Digital Guardian's VP of Product Management. You can watch the full webinar here.

The benefits of the linkage between Discovery and Classification include:

1. Increased Visibility Into Your Data

The notion of discovery is multi-dimensional: discovering something about a file (where did it start life and where does it flow to), and discovering something inside a file, which is a more traditional approach. Discovery identifies opportunities for classification, such as where data can be abused and where there are security gaps, to enable secure business processes as opposed to completely blocking business workflows.

2. Limiting Scope

If you've got a certain amount of data that is flowing or egressing through network uploads, USB, email, etc., discovery helps limit the scope of data you're looking at to only classified data. With this limited scope, you can focus your infosec resources on the most important data. Discovery and classification de-emphasizes unclassified data, but because you're always monitoring both classified and unclassified data, you will still be able to detect misuse of unclassified data.

3. Supporting Compliance

Classification is critical in a compliance environment because you are able to find data such as PHI or PCI that are subject to regulations. Through discovery, you want to make sure that data doesn't exist in non-compliance locations and you want to make sure that when it moves, it does so in controlled and appropriate ways.

Tags: Webinars, Data Classification

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Ellen Zhang

Ellen is the Acquisition Marketing Manager at Digital Guardian, with nearly half a decade of experience in the cybersecurity industry. As the company's SEO and PPC manager, Ellen has spent numerous hours researching information security topics and headlines.