By Jane Ann Harrison
Client Engagement Director, Bernstein Data
The importance of tagging data is becoming more and more crucial for companies due to increased privacy law requirements and the ability to comply with those regulations. Gone are the days of keeping everything just in case you might need it,
especially any kind of personal data. The near future is pointing to companies being required to dispose of personal data once retention requirements and regulatory obligations have been met. Having extremely long retention requirements for
data, without a legitimate business reason, will be a hard sell especially regarding personal data.
Tagging content is a key component in not only classifying and protecting sensitive information such as PII, but also in managing the lifecycle of information. In order to ensure compliance with company policy, such as a Records Retention Schedule, and dispose of information once retention requirements and regulatory obligations have been met, organizations must take the frst step to identify the record types and apply retention requirements based on their records retention schedule. Tagging
data with security classifcations allows a company to be able to protect sensitive and confdential information, applying safeguards to what needs to be protected at a higher level. For example, the tagging of personal data can enable a company to locate that sensitive data quickly and easily in order to meet requirements that stem from privacy laws.
If you don’t know where your sensitive and personal data sits, how can you appropriately protect it and defensibly dispose of it? Therefore, the frst step is to fnd and tag that sensitive data to meet regulatory obligations for managing and protecting it.
While the tagging eforts for Security Classifcations are very important and help to drive Data Protection eforts and the ability to comply with privacy laws regarding personal information, tagging data against the records retention schedule and applying retention to data is incredibly important in managing the lifecycle of information. Data Discovery tools have the ability to locate and tag for both security levels and for applying retention timeframes. The data discovery tool will be dependent on the needs of the organization and its business requirements.
Managing the lifecycle of information per the records retention schedule enables organizations to defensibly dispose of information that is no longer required to be retained for regulatory obligations or business needs. Data minimization can be achieved by appropriately tagging data by record type and applying retention and disposal processes to the data.
Consistently applying and following retention and disposal processes enables organizations to only retain the information they need to run the business and are legally required to retain. Eliminating volumes of information that are not needed also improves operational efciencies by being able to fnd the right information at the right time, controls the cost of storage and discovery eforts, and reduces risk by ensuring compliance with company policy and regulatory obligations.
Before we are able to protect data, comply with privacy laws, and defensibly dispose of information no longer needed, we have to go through the process of identifying and tagging content. Tagging data is the foundational component that will enable organizations to meet regulatory obligations and efectively manage the information life cycle.
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