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Chapter 1. Assessing Risk > Data Classification

Data Classification

When you think of classified data, you think of spies, right? That is pretty close to what we’re talking about here. Odds are you don’t have national secrets on your hard drive. You do, however, have data on your hard drive that is personal, private, or sensitive to you and your family. Many people are banking online, buying from online stores, balancing checkbooks, and preparing taxes on their computers. If you have a digital camera, you might also have some photos on your hard drive—not necessarily sensitive, but possibly hard to replace. Some things you value might be as simple as the saved game data of your favorite game.

I’m not advocating that home users should spend a large amount of time classifying data when thinking about security. Even a business might not need to do a great deal of classifying. You should, however, think about what data is important and how important it is to protect. If no data on your computer is worth protecting, you don’t need security. With that in mind, you don’t need a complex classification system, but rather one intuitive enough to use without causing confusion. You can try the following categories:


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