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Making Information Classification Easier

Making Information Classification Easier

4 Minute Read

Data clutter is probably bogging your organization down. Here’s what you can do to fix it.

Information hoarding is one of the biggest problem organizations face today. This, in turn, leads to data sprawl and information management inefficiencies.

Information classification and categorization can help to solve this problem by organizing information assets within an agreed glossary — thereby enabling effective and efficient prioritization of information governance policy across quality, security, access, privacy, storage and retention.

Thwarting Human Nature

People habitually hoard data and information and advances in technology and storage capacity have only exacerbated the issue. Eliminating the need to delete transitory records has given rise to the vague and ambiguous ‘might need it someday’ filing system — often resulting in numerous redundant copies without appropriate classification or categorization stored within the organization's information estate.

Information classification can help to significantly reduce an organization’s data clutter, while at the same time improving the recency and, access and accuracy of data storage. By working to offset people’s worst data storage habits, it can help with:


Information classification can assist users by displaying and / or managing the inclusion of visible markings in digital documents or their printed output. This makes it easier to determine where the information belongs and what it pertains to.

Sensitive Data Inventory

Organizations can use information classification to better track and locate documents which contain risk-sensitive or compliance-related material. 

Protection Automation

Information classification can form the basis for automating information-handling policy and compliance enforcement.

Access Control

information classification can form the basis for access policy enforcement. This ensures documents are viewable only by specific users or groups of users and in a specific context or environment.

Flow Control

Organizations can use information classification in context to evaluate whether data should flow from an environment to another. Also, whether the data requires automatic protection prior to flowing to a specific destination.

File Analysis Support

Organizations can leverage a range of file analysis products to assist with information classification. These solutions can perform much of the leg work analyzing, indexing, searching, tracking and reporting on file metadata and content — enabling organizations to act quickly and delete, modify or adequately archive files based on identified criteria. File analysis also provides detailed metadata and contextual information, enabling better information governance and organizational efficiency for unstructured data management.

  1. Use file analysis in conjunction with information management policy and retention best practices as part of a holistic information governance strategy.
  2. Consider specific projects or use cases when choosing file analysis tools.
  3. Evaluate the data presentation / visualization capability and the level of metadata and content analysis as the top two selection criteria of a file analysis solution.
  4. Select the file analysis tool that will scale to handle your environment — but ensure it does not create burdensome overhead for the live environment.
  5. Leverage Gartner’s Three Rings of Information Governance approach to review and group information assets.

Help the hoarders and help your organization. Reduce the size of your information estate by better classifying your data. The cost savings and business process efficiencies this generates will offset the costs of file analysis software and create positive business outcomes for your organization.

Tomorrow’s technology is shaping business today. For more information about MNP’s data services, please contact Paul Witherow, Partner, Digital Government, at [email protected].


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