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Data Auditing Best Practices: File Analysis and Tagging/Classifying Sensitive Data

Utilizing file analysis can potentially reduce the costs organizations with ten terabytes or more spend on data management by up to a third. This process gives organizations the ability to discover and classify your data before you can take action and determine if it should be migrated, deleted or archived.

There are a few types of files that often comprise a large portion of unnecessary data. Identifying and addressing these “usual suspects” that are often easy targets for archiving or deletion can result in cost savings. These include:

  • Documents with the keywords “Archive,” “Final,” or “Draft”
  • Data duplicated between file share systems and SharePoint environment
  • Unsupported data: files bigger than 10GB, non-supported files, drawings and more
  • Files older than 18 months can be low value and ideal for archiving
  • Newsletters

There are many more usual suspects that Certified Microsoft Partners, such as AvePoint, can help organizations identify and address to help lower their migration cost s and improve their data management during their digital transformation.

Tagging and Classifying Sensitive Data

It is also important to understand where the business’s data resides currently (that is, whether on-prem or in the cloud) and what solutions are in place to protect it. Governance, compliance and any regulatory needs should also be considered to determine what data can move to the cloud (including which type of cloud and datacenter can be used, and where). Likewise, businesses also need to identify what information needs to stay on-prem

It is also important to evaluate the business’s current cybersecurity and governance policies to determine if they are applicable and appropriate for the new cloud or hybrid environment. Now is the time to identify what changes or updates need to be made to reflect the state of the business, as well as how to communicate policy changes to employees if needed.

Data should be tagged by ownership, purpose, audience and sensitivity level. Its classification should be judged based on:

  • Where should it live?
  • Who should have access?
  • Is it a record?
  • Does it have high business impact?

Sensitive data that needs to be secured includes regulated data, such as export-controlled data; sensitive data, such as personally identifiable information (PII); or classified data, such as intellectual property. Specific examples of sensitive data include bank account numbers, tax file numbers, passport numbers and more.

Identifying other data management needs

Now is also the time to determine how to transfer customized solutions or apps from the old system to the new. In some cases, migrating custom business apps to a new platform is straightforward, but more often there is some additional coding and rebuilding required. For businesses that don’t have any custom apps, now is also the time to identify if any will be needed for the digital transformation to be effective, either in offering employees the necessary functionality or to integrate disparate systems

Finally, devices also need to be considered. As work becomes more mobile and anywhere access increases in demand, data management systems will need to be able to control access while providing users with a streamlined, consistent experience no matter where they are or what device is being used to get their work done. This means that VPN and single sign on solutions will need to be considered for a variety of devices, from smartphones to tablets, and to laptops.

Partners can be particularly useful when analyzing data and network solutions. Certified Microsoft Partners can help advise on which data to move. They can also automate the process of sorting, categorizing and tagging data to clean up the data that has accumulated over the years. In addition, partners can help with custom apps and extending Microsoft’s out-of-the-box capabilities, such as extending governance, backup or cybersecurity policies.

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