Handling Classified Information

Systems for classified material handling have been developed by professionals in this field and perfected over the past 100 years. Mainly, this work was performed at the US government level. As the need increased for similar controls, business borrowed the techniques and adapted them to a somewhat less restrictive environment.

 The first step in the process of limiting access to information is to identify thespecific information to be protected and decide how  limited that access will be.

 In business, three classifications are sufficient for almost every need. Reference to these “levels” of secrecy will be according to their government names—restricted, secret, and top secret. Those in the public sector also classify information according to type, which groups financial data, real estate appraisals, research and development programs, production schedules, and so on.

 One production document might be “restricted,” while another is “top secret.” No matter what the level of classification or the topic caegory under which it is classified, leaks are possible. But because the number of individuals with access to the material shrinks at each classification stage, so that far fewer managers are able to see top secret documents than restricted matter, leaks in higher classifications are usually more easily detected, and those responsible more easily defined.

Make certain your group understands this. While all material which has been classified must be treated with care, documents in the highest secrecy category will most likely cause greater concern of revealed. So these will receive the greatest amount of checking and investigation after a leak is discovered.

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