Blog Post

What is data classification, and why is it important?



The benefits of data classification and the features of a tool like Microsoft Purview, a unified data governance service.

Data classification organizes data into categories based on its type, sensitivity, value, and usage. Data classification helps organizations at all levels to:

  • Protect sensitive and confidential data from unauthorized access, misuse, or loss.
  • Comply with data privacy and security regulations, such as GDPR, HIPAA, or CCPA.
  • Improve data quality, accuracy, and consistency to increase reliability; enhance data analysis, reporting, and decision-making by making the data more accessible and easily understood.
  • Comply with data privacy and security regulations, such as GDPR, HIPAA, or CCPA.
  • Optimize data storage, backup, and archiving strategies.
  • Improve data quality, accuracy, and consistency.
  • Enhance data analysis, reporting, and decision-making.

Data classification is not a one-time activity but a continuous process requiring regular monitoring and updating. However, data classification can be challenging, especially for large and complex data environments. Some of the common challenges I’ve ran into in the past are:

  • Lack of visibility and control over the data sources, locations, and flows.
  • Inconsistent or missing data labels, metadata, and tags.
  • Manual and time-consuming data classification processes.
  • Difficulty in enforcing data policies and standards across the organization.
  • High costs and risks of data breaches, fines, or reputational damage.

Data classification is also essential for dealing with large volumes of sensitive and regulated data, such as customer information, transaction records, credit scores, and financial statements. Data classification can help enterprise estates to:

  • Prevent data leaks, fraud, or identity theft that can harm customers and the institution’s reputation.
  • Meet the compliance requirements of various regulators, such as the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), or the Federal Reserve.
  • Reduce data storage and management costs by identifying and deleting redundant, obsolete, or trivial data.
  • Improve the data quality and reliability by detecting and correcting errors, inconsistencies, or anomalies.
  • Provide relevant and accurate data to enhance data analysis and reporting capabilities, supporting business intelligence, risk management, and customer service.

How can Microsoft Purview help with data classification?

Microsoft Purview is a unified data governance service that can help organizations discover, catalog, classify, and manage their data assets across on-premises, cloud, and hybrid environments. Microsoft Purview enables organizations to:

  • Automatically scan and catalog data sources, such as SQL Server, Azure Data Lake Storage, Azure Synapse Analytics, Power BI, and more.
  • Apply built-in or custom data classifications to identify and label sensitive or business-critical data.
  • Use a data map to visualize the data lineage, relationships, and dependencies.
  • Search and browse the data catalog using natural language queries or filters.
  • Access data insights and metrics, such as data quality, freshness, popularity, and compliance status.
  • Define and enforce data policies and standards across the organization.
  • Integrate with Azure Purview Data Catalog, Azure Synapse Analytics, Azure Data Factory, and other Azure services to enable end-to-end data governance and analytics.

Data classification is a vital component of data governance and management. It helps organizations protect, optimize, and leverage their data assets. Tools like Microsoft Purview is a comprehensive data governance service that simplifies and automates data classification and other data governance tasks. With Microsoft Purview, organizations can gain more visibility, control, and value from their data.

Original post (opens in new tab)
View comments in original post (opens in new tab)


You rated this post out of 5. Change rating




You rated this post out of 5. Change rating