Information is a significant asset. The more information you have at your command, the better you can conform to the world around you. In fact, information is usually one of the most significant assets a company possesses. Information distinguishes companies and gives leverage that helps one company become more successful than another.
Companies typically prefer to deploy more resources to control data that has higher sensitivity. The USA government, for example, uses a five-level classification system that arises from Unclassified data (everyone can see) to Top Secret date(which only the most trusted people have access).
Companies identify data in different ways in order to differently control aspects of its handling, such as labeling (whether headewers, footers, and watermarks define how it should be managed), distribution (who gets to see it), duplication (how copies are created and managed), release (how it is presented to outsiders), storage (where it is stored), encryption (if needed), disposal (whether it is shredded or strongly wiped), and ways of transmission (such as e-mail, fax, print, and mail).
Organizations may have secret information, such as research and development plans, strategic corporate data, road maps and earnings reports, that is meant for private use on a need-to-know basis. Loss or theft of private data could break the privacy of individuals, decrease the organization’s competitive advantage, or cause damage to the organization.
The greater your security controls are that secure all these various kinds of information, the better the level of access that you can safely give to authorized parties who want to use that data.
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