How Data Classification Helps Organisations Maintain a Strong Data Security Posture

How Data Classification Helps Organisations Maintain a Strong Data Security Posture

The rise of globally dispersed workforces and new work from home requirements are placing extraordinary pressure on every organisation’s cybersecurity. And wherever there is upheaval, cyber criminals thrive. Alongside the devastating health and economic impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, we have also seen an escalation in cyber-attacks. A recent CISO/CIO survey, looking at cybersecurity challenges in large financial services (FS) organisations, revealed that 45% of respondents have seen an increase in the number of cybersecurity attacks since the pandemic began, while almost two thirds had suffered a cyber-attack in the last 12 months.

by Daan Jacobs

Naturally, an increase in cyber-threats puts an organisation at a heightened risk of a data breach, the average cost of which is also on the rise. Although it varies from year to year, latest reports suggest the average cost of a data breach has risen by 10% over a five-year period to $3.86M in 2020. Add in long-term reputational damage to your brand, and you have a good number of reasons why it’s important to ensure that data is appropriately handled, classified, and stored.

In response to the year’s unprecedented challenges, 92% of CISO/CIOs working in FS organisations increased their cybersecurity investment, 26% significantly so, with a focus on investing in secure file transfer (64%) and increased automation (50%) moving forward. This focus is especially important when you consider that users are operating away from the normal office environment, which further increases the risk of data being accidentally shared.

To protect employees and sensitive data, the onus is on organisations to invest in technologies that help stop the inadvertent and accidental misuse of data. The foundations of a strong data security posture start with data classification tools that label emails, documents and files according to their sensitivity and importance to the organisation. Not only does this indicate to the wider technology ecosystem which data security policies to apply, but it’s also a visible reminder to users, helping them understand and correctly handle the different types of data throughout their lifecycle.

Using data classification tools and best practices helps facilitate compliance with regulations such as GDPR, HIPPA, CCPA and more. They also extend the value and effectiveness of other information governance solutions working in the technology ecosystem – adding new levels of intelligence to data loss prevention and data archiving solutions. Data classification enhances the performance of these tools as they read the metadata applied during the classification process to determine how the data should be treated, handled, stored, and disposed of during its lifetime.

The data classification solutions allow users to classify both their emails and documents according to their sensitivity, using both visual and metadata labels. Once labelled the data is controlled to ensure that emails, documents, and files are only sent to those who need to receive them, protecting sensitive data from accidental or malicious data loss.

With remote working likely to remain in place for some time, making sure employees have the knowledge and technology tools in place to minimise the risk of a data breach is more important than ever. Data classification is a core tenet of any good data security plan and now customers can work with one vendor to ensure that their data and employees are well protected.

Founded in 2011, BlueFinch is a boutique firm with a trusted team of experts who offer bespoke security services. We specialise in successfully implementing data exchange and security products for clients around the world. Please click data classification tools for more information on the tools that BlueFinch supports.