Guest Post from Wesley Budd of Boldon James
One of the best things about my job is when I get to talk to customers about their data classification ‘journeys’. My favourite conversations are with those organisations who really understand the value that data classification can bring them and don’t just see it as the means to an end (compliance, in this case). One such customer is Allianz Ireland – if you’re ever feeling jaded about data classification, call up their Information Security Officer, who is as true a believer as you will ever meet. She just gets it.
Allianz Ireland is part of the Allianz Group, one of the world’s leading insurers. Like all financial services organisations, they handle a terrifying volume of sensitive customer data every day and have a very real obligation to their customers to protect it. Allianz decided that the only way to protect this data was to implement a data classification system that identified information assets and specified their individual need for protection.
While data classification is sometimes seen as purely the concern of IT, Allianz Ireland decided that all employees would need to be aware of data classification and their obligations regarding it. A local Data Classification Security Policy was introduced along with Handling Guidelines, which distinguished between the different classifications with real examples. To support this, they implemented Boldon James Classifier, rolling out to all 625 users in their operating entity.
Allianz Ireland has already seen a massive 130% improvement in their gap audit score against the Group Security Policy and Standards, and a 60% improvement in security awareness. Employees are more aware of the type of information they are dealing with and their obligations to protect this data, and it is hoped that this will be instrumental in preventing data loss in the future.
The icing on the cake is that the Allianz data classification project with Boldon James Classifier was shortlisted for Data Governance Project of the Year in the 2014 FS Tech Awards. If you’re interested in reading more, an interview with the Allianz Ireland ISO has recently been published in Global Banking and Finance Review.