Why has data classification become so popular recently?

A year ago, data classification was of minimal importance. No Twitter hashtags, no research coverage, hardly any mentions in the media. Fast forward to now and it seems as if everyone is talking and writing about the topic. And for good reason.

Gartner recently released its prestigious Hype Cycle reports for 2018. In seven reports dealing with data management, Gartner points to data classification as a “highly transformational emerging technology” that “must be an ongoing aspect of changing organizational behavior within the data-driven culture.” (MinerEye is featured in the reports as a key vendor.)

So what’s behind this rise to prominence? To start, GDPR has played a substantial role. As Gartner said in another report, “You can’t protect what you don’t know you have”, and in yet another report, “Understanding what sensitive data is, and where it is, is a prerequisite for effective security and data privacy compliance.”

It’s a pretty basic proposition: if a customer wants to enact their right to be forgotten, you first need to identify what this is data and where it resides so you can erase it.

Another key factor is the continued migration to the public cloud, which has played a key role in increasing the importance of finding and classifying sensitive data. Gartner actually advises organizations using Google Cloud, AWS and Azure to consider deploying third party tools for data discovery and classification.

The question is, why now? Data has been moving to the cloud for a number of years, and GDPR was right around the corner a year ago. Why has data classification become popular literally overnight? The missing secret sauce is technological innovation. More precisely – the incorporation of AI technology.

Before the recent integration of AI and machine learning into data classification, full and rapid data discovery and classification wasn’t possible. Companies simply had no practical way to continuously scan extremely large data sets.

Once the new technology burst onto the scene, data discovery classification suddenly became really useful for many tasks around the office; from data management to security, privacy and risk management.

You can say this is a classic case where innovation creates the market (to a large degree, anyway). Gartner actually wrote a report about it, titled, “Address GDPR Compliance with AI Applications”.

With so many different areas in the enterprise requiring and benefiting from data classification, we welcome the opportunity to share with you our knowledge in this field and help you address these issues.

 

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