Q: I want to use File Classification Infrastructure--is there anything to help me get started?

A. The File Classification Infrastructure (FCI) component of File Server Resource Manager that was added in Windows Server 2008 R2 is a great feature to enable data to automatically be classified based on location and content. This then enables tasks to be performed (such as encryption, backup, RMS, movement, and more) based on the data's classification. Although it's a great feature, organizations can often struggle with how to get started with FCI.

For Windows Server 2012 FCI, there are now standard, global classifications that are stored in Active Directory (AD) (you need to have run the Windows Server 2012 Active Directory forest preparation) which once enabled using the Active Directory Administrative Center are available.

These give organizations a start in their classification efforts; however, it's still necessary to create rules to classify the data and then tasks to perform actions based on those classifications as none are included as part of the OS.

The good news is Microsoft has a solution accelerator, the Data Classification Toolkit. For Windows Server 2008 R2, it includes built-in classifications (most of the same ones in Windows Server 2012 AD) in addition to templates around key compliance scenarios that include classification rules to classify the data (such as finding social security numbers and credit cards) and then tasks to protect the data using Rights Management Services. You will need to customize the rules and tasks, but they are a great place to get started.

You can get the Data Classification Toolkit from Microsoft, and it's supported on Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 and Windows Server 2012. Once installed, the DCT is installed on your master or staging file server where you can tweak your classification requirements, then export that updated configuration to XML and import it into your other file servers.

In a video, I walk through FCI and the Data Classification Toolkit.