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Why Data Categorization Is Essential when Creating Security Plans

by on February 8, 2010

Data_security When planning security for a data center many things pop into mind—firewalls, anti-virus software, filtering—but data categorization may not be one of them. Yet, some security experts would argue that building silos for classifying data is the cornerstone of an effective security solution.


As Jason Leuenberger recently wrote for IT World,

“Everything stems from classifying your data, understanding where it flows and is stored, and then placing tactical and strategic security controls in place to mitigate or eliminate risk to the integrity or loss of data…It’s the core of all great information security programs; everything else is turn-key, so spend the appropriate amount of time and thought cycles on being thorough in this area.”

Fred Moore wrote a great article about effectively categorizing dataand improving storage management. In general, data can be divvied up into four categories:

·Mission Critical Data This information is used in key business processes and in applications that customers interact with. It can comprise up to 15 percent of a business’s total data. Losing access to this kind of data means rapid loss of revenue, potential loss of customers and risk to business survival.

·Vital Data This information is important, but need not be recovered instantaneously when disaster strikes.  Company secrets fall into this category, which represents about 20 percent of a company’s total information.

·Sensitive Data Since the inability to access this information won’t break a business, it can be offline for hours without causing a major impact on operations. About 25 percent of a firm’s info is this kind of data.

·Non-Critical Data This category includes information in email archives, legal records, medical information, scientific data, financial transactions and other fixed content. Since swift access to this info isn’t necessary, it’s usually stashed on lower-cost storage solutions, such as on tape drives. About 40 percent of an organization’s data falls into this category.

Once you’ve identified these silos and how the data you manage fits into each one, you’ll be able to more effectively and efficiently manage your data center by ensuring the proper security is applied to the corresponding data.

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