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Fortra's Data Classification and Digital Guardian's Secure Collaboration Integration


Secure Sensitive Data Wherever it Goes

Employees send emails, create documents, and upload files to internal servers  and cloud applications every day, and the volume of data is growing exponentially. How can you ensure that sensitive data remains secure without burdening your end users with time-consuming and confusing workflows? Fortra's Data Classification Suite and Digital Guardian Secure Collaboration (formerly Vera) integrate to provide an end-to-end solution to help organizations find, categorize, secure, and track the data they have. The data classification DCS provides, combined with Digital Guardian's zero trust secure collaboration, enables employees to work and collaborate more freely, both internally and externally, without having to worry about understanding what is or is not confidential and what needs to be encrypted.

The Challenges 

In today’s distributed enterprise, data is everywhere: in on-prem share drives, in the cloud, on desktop devices, and on employees’ mobile devices. So, understanding what data you have, and where it’s located, has never been more difficult—or more important. This becomes even more critical if that data is sensitive. But how do you define what data is sensitive and what isn’t? Almost anyone knows that personal information such as social security numbers, addresses, phone numbers, insurance numbers, personal health data, or bank account numbers is confidential. However, when it comes to company-specific information like business plans, product roadmaps, design files, product documentation, and intellectual property, it is not always as straightforward.

It’s this type of information that typically presents the greatest challenge for organizations to deal with. Categorizing and protecting this data proactively, consistently, and accurately compounds this challenge, as failure to do so represents a real security risk. Likewise, context is crucial for accurate data classification and in the end, the most effective way to keep information protected is to employ a strategy based on a combination of people, process, and technology. 

Data Classification: The Foundation of Effective Data Protection 

Data classification is an integral part of the Information Lifecycle Management (ILM) process—so much so that data classification is really considered the foundation of any data security solution, both within the corporate firewall and in the cloud. You can’t protect your data when you don’t know enough about the contents of files to handle them properly. Once a user has created a file or an email, a classification solution scans the file to accurately identify the sensitivity of the data and apply visual labels and metadata that can be read by the entire security ecosystem. Then a policy engine determines what actions to take. The classification process  can be guided (asking the user to confirm the recommended classification level), automated (applying the classification level automatically, without user input), or simply done manually. Not only does data classification provide organizations with the ability to make more intelligent and conscious decisions about how data is used and handled, but in an age of growing regulatory compliance requirements, it is a critical tool in demonstrating compliance and remaining compliant. 

Secure Collaboration: Control Over Your Most Sensitive Data 

Secure collaboration solutions enable organizations of all sizes to protect their sensitive data by encrypting the file and then providing the ability to track, audit, and manage the policies securing the data anywhere it goes. So confidential data stays protected, no matter what device, person, cloud, or application it travels to. Most importantly, a Secure Collaboration solution will ensure that your sensitive data is protected even when it travels outside of your organization. This is a must for industries or job functions (such as finance or legal) that frequently require external collaboration with information that would be most detrimental to the organization if a breach were to occur. Should data fall into the wrong hands either accidentally or maliciously, The tool will allow you to revoke access to the file in real-time. In today’s hyper-competitive business climate, the ability to maintain control of your data, manage who can access and modify your sensitive files, and track your intellectual property is critical. The Digital Guardian Secure Collaboration solution provides the peace of mind that your security policies will stick with your most important data.

How it Works

An organization might have a policy that mandates that any files determined by DCS to be classified or sensitive must be secured by Digital Guardian before they can be shared over email or via cloud. In this scenario, once DCS tags a file with a “Restricted” classification, it then leverages Digital Guardian to secure the file. Digital Guardian's Secure Collaboration encrypts the file, adding the access controls and any other specific policies that are tied to that “Restricted” classification. DCS also embeds unencrypted classification metadata in the header of the secured file, resulting in a protected file with machine readable classification information. The file is now encrypted, but other security products such as  a data loss protection software (DLP) or a cloud access security broker (CASB) are still able to read the metadata that contains the classification value.


DCS and Digital Guardian Secure Collaboration together employ a powerful combination of best-of-breed classification and file-level security. This helps organizations to better understand and categorize the data they have, as well as secure that data wherever it travels. Both technologies also complement other security solutions used to protect data at rest and the flow of data, such as CASB and DLP. And since both solutions are a part of the Fortra Data Security Suite, you gain the advantage of working with a single vendor for all your data-centric security needs. All of this serves to dramatically improve an organization’s overall security posture to protect against data breaches and having sensitive data fall into the wrong hands.