March 24, 2020

How Data Classification Eliminates the “Honest Mistake”


It’s happened to everyone: You type the first few letters of your recipient’s name in Outlook and hit Tab, and you don’t realize that your customer credit card lists just went to Melvin, the annoying vendor who keeps spamming you, instead of Melissa in accounting.

Human error may not get as much attention as ransomware, spear phishing, and other cyber threats, but the reality is that careless insiders, not malicious outsiders, pose the biggest risk to data security.

According to studies published by CompTIA and other organizations, human error (on the part of management, employees, and partners) is to blame for more than half of all data breaches—and it’s been that way for more than half a decade. Some of the most common human errors that lead to data breaches are sending an unintended recipient a file full of sensitive data, and copying sensitive data to a non-secure location.

How Classification Helps

Data classification—adding visual labels and metadata tags to files—can significantly reduce “honest mistakes” in data security. When users are asked to categorize documents they create in different security classifications, it builds awareness of the importance of data protection throughout the organization.

In combination with rules and policies implemented as part of an automated security workflow, a strong implementation of data classification can all but eliminate common types of honest mistakes, which can have a huge impact on compliance and data security. “Classification is there to change the security culture across the organization,” as one PKWARE classification customer put it.

To learn more about how data classification can help your organization cut down on human error, explore how PK Classification fits into our innovative automated data security workflow.

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