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Discovering How To Perform Email Data Classification

Kacy Howard | February 15th, 2016 | Technology, Tips

In present time, email is one of the most commonly used communication method. It is daily used by the individual and by the organization to send and receive information. With the passage of time dependency on email messages are grown significantly and the message overload problem is occurring.

An email message consists of two parts:

  • Header: The header field consist valuable information to classify an email. It contains information about, Receiver, sender, Date and Subject of email.
  • Body: Emails can also be classified by using important information present in email body or by an attachment. The body part contains the text or HTML message.

Email Data Classification

The reason for Email data classification may vary according to user’s requirement. In general, it can be used to manage and easily handle the email messages however, it may include grouping of email messages together for e-discovery, security and access control of email messages that are relevant to the business.
There are several methods to classify or tagging of emails.

  1. Automatic Method: Classification applied by a computer based on algorithm or rules
  2. Manual Method: Email data classification depends on human decision
  3. Hybrid Method: A combination of human and automated methods

Need of Email Data Classification

Email is an important component of an organization’s data; it comprises the major part of an organization’s communication including internal and external communication. It is a part of organization’s instructed data that need to manage with a classification policy. However email classification is complicated because not all emails messages are equally relevant from the business perspective. Almost 60% of emails are not related to business. So a strategic email classification is needed to handle these non-business related emails. These emails can be classified by email management technologies like email archiving.
You can classify emails according to any email classification policy which include definition, Roles, regulations, procedures etc. The main objective of email data classification may include:
Organizing Email Data Into Groups: Create different folder for different types of emails.
Location: Separate emails according to their location like email received or sent from different countries; US, England, Russia, etc.
Product Specific: In a product company which makes a particular product, emails having the product name in their body or Subject can be collected together.
Managing And Tracking Email Data: Manage emails for access control, retention etc.

  1. Retention Period: Keep email data until a particular date or delete after that date.
  2. Security: To secure secret messages only for authorize access.
  3. For investigation: Separate the emails which need forensic investigation, e-discovery etc.
  4. By classifying email data, you can easily group this data together for forensic, retention, protection etc.

Appropriate Technique for Email Data Classification

As we mention above, there are mainly two ways to classify an emails: Manually and Automatically. In addition, Hybrid method might be considered by combining manual and automatic method.

Automatic or Machine Assisted Method

In Automatic method of classification, a machine (computer) scans an email message headers and body to determine what classification may apply to an email. It always follows a set of rules, procedure or algorithm.
Pros

  • All the emails messages are processed automatically by a machine. Without any human effort, the machine performs the entire complicated task.
  • It follows certain rules and always faithful in applying those rules in process of classification. With the involvement of artificial intelligence a machine can employ its intelligent, learning and adapting logic.

Cons

  • As we all knows that a computer cannot think by its own. Using artificial intelligence also, it can only follow a set of rules or procedure.

Manual or User Applied Method

The manual method of email data classification involves rules and decision of sender or recipient to classify an email. The sender of an email can apply suitable classification on an email message during the time of composition or a receiver need to classify the messages after receiving an email.
Pros

  • A human can think by its own. User can take the best decision to classify an email. Since this method is based on human intelligence so it doesn’t require any set of rules or algorithm.

Cons

  • Human cannot take the decision as accurate as a computer does. Inconsistencies and inaccuracy can occur if the policies are not clear to user. In addition, this process is time consuming and increases the workload of user.

An Alternative for Email Data Classification

You can use any third party tool to classify your email data in an easier manner. Email Forensic Tool is recommended by the experts in order to classify and investigate the emails data. The software supports 20+ file formats. It is an investigation tool having a wide range of features for email data classification and investigation like Search, Auto tagging, Labeling, Bookmarks etc. You can save the searched results and emails can be automatically tagged according to applied filters, rules and patterns. Thus, the tool organizes Email data and simplify investigation.

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