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Information Classification in Information Security

  • Difficulty Level : Expert
  • Last Updated : 19 Feb, 2021

In today’s world, Information is one of the essential parts of our life. In this, we will discuss the categorization of information on the basis of different organizations and different parameters. Information in an organization should be categorized and must be kept confidential and that’s why information security comes into the picture, and it plays a vital role for any organization.

The main reason for classifying information is that not all data/information has the same level of importance or the same level of relevance/critical to an organization. Some data are more valuable to people who make strategic decisions (senior management) because they aid them in making long-run or short-range business direction decisions. Some data such as trade secrets, formulas (used by scientific and/or research organizations), and new product information (such as the use by marketing staff and sales force) are so valuable that their loss could create significant problems for the enterprise in the market. Thus, it is obvious that information is used to prevent unauthorized disclosure and the resultant failure of confidentiality.

Schemes for Information Classifications as follows.

  1. Government Organization
  2. Private Organizations

Levels in Government organization for Information Classification :

  1. Unclassified –
    Information that is neither sensitive nor classified. The public release of this information does not violate confidentiality.
  2. Sensitive but Unclassified –
    Information that has been designed as a major secret but may not create serious damage if disclosed.
  3. Confidential –
    The unauthorized disclosure of confidential information could cause some damage to the country’s national security
  4. Secret –
    The unauthorized disclosure of this information could cause serious damage to the countries national security.
  5. Top Secret –
    his is the highest level of information classification. Any unauthorized disclosure of top-secret information will cause grave damage to the country’s national security.

Levels in Private Organizations for Information Classification :

  1. Public –
    Information that is similar to unclassified information. However, if it is disclosed, it is not expected to seriously impact the company.
  2. Sensitive –
    Information that required a higher level of classification than normal data. This information is protected from a loss of confidentiality as well as from loss of integrity owing to an unauthorized alteration.
  3. Private –
    Typically, this is the information i.e. considered of a personal nature and is intended for company use only, its disclosure could adversely affect the company or its employee salary levels and medical information could be considered as examples of “private information”.

Criteria for Information Classification :

  1. Value –
    It is the most commonly used criteria for classifying data in the private sector. If the information is valuable to an organization it needs to be classified.
  2. Age –
    The classification of the information may be lowered if the information value decreases over time.
  3. Useful Life –
    Information will be more useful if it will be available to make the changes as per requirements than, it will be more useful.
  4. Personal association –
    If the information is personally associated with a specific individual or is addressed by a privacy law then it may need to be classified.

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