Identifying Sensitive Documents

The term “sensitive document” refers to data that an company would not want anyone who is not authorized to see. This data could damage the business if leaked to competitors, or cause harm to individuals if released to the public. This could include anything from a company’s pre-release earnings statements that end in the hands of a competitor to confidential research and development documents being released to the wrong individuals.

Identifying sensitive data within your company is not an easy task. In addition to requiring higher security standards, this data typically must be stored in accordance with the laws like GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation). Your business receives personal information in a variety of ways including from remote employees credit card companies, other financial institutions, call centers and customer service companies, and contractors. You should make an inventory of all your folders, files and mobile devices, as well as laptops and home computers to be sure you understand what information is stored in your company.

It’s important to remember that the files you create can contain hidden meta-data which can expose confidential information. This includes tracking changes, geo-tagging photos, and embedded data in modern file formats. It is a good idea to scrub all of your files and remove this hidden data prior to making them public. This can prevent unauthorised individuals from accessing your confidential information by making it appear like it originated from an inside source.

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