Data is gold for those who know how to evaluate it. Big and small, all kinds of companies have one thing in common. They can all be laid to waste if even the seemingly least important data gets in the hands of the wrong person. There is protected corporate data that every company has. This data consists of the company’s biggest secrets and important corporate information. Special care is taken to ensure the safety of such data because with this information, even an amateur can ruin everything you have worked so hard for. High levels of encryption software, firewalls and alarming systems are placed to protect this information. But it is the overlooked data which is the main topic of concern.
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Data such as e-mails, office documents, personally identifying information, material non-public information, intellectual property and financial reports etc. needs to be protected. Such data is scattered everywhere from various computer hard drives, emails, messenger histories, shared folders etc. The term given to such data is unorganized data. Volumes of unorganized data have been growing thrice the size of corporate protected data. Imagine the amount of files we’re talking about here.
Factually speaking, it is such unorganized data that makes up 80% of all the company’s data. It includes Microsoft Word documents, PDF files, and database extracts that contain important information about the companies. Keeping such high volumes of information unprotected is a big risk for exposing potential merger and acquisition plans, competitive intelligence, customer information, proprietary research etc. It’s problems like these that can mean the end of a company. To avoid any such malicious happenings to your company, it is best suggested to take action as soon as possible.
What steps you need to take to protect unstructured data?
The first step to protect such data is to analyze what is important and what is not. Figuring out what passes as sensitive data is the first process of this elongated plan to safeguard your important data. Next comes tracking down each and every bit of this data from all the potential sources it can be found in. This process can be a tad bit tedious, purely because of the sheer mighty volume of such content.
Next you need to find out who has the authority to access this data. You never know when there are rats festering in your company. One of your “trusted” employees who has access to such information could be a mole transporting information to your competitors. Data access with no business justification is what increases the risk of sensitive data being leaked. Technologies have been developed to limit the number of people with access to important information. Only people who have real business with the information should be allowed access to such information.
Hadoop based tools, being larger data tools, are specially formulated to identify, manage and resolve the unstructured information. On the other hand, the conventionally used tools based on technologies like data warehousing, and those for Business Intelligence (BI) are incapable of this. Although they have been supporting the management of unstructured data, and certain IT companies have also constructed such platforms for their own use, through, for example, knowledge management systems; but still the process is not satisfactory, being very expensive and also extremely time-consuming!
Data has been a big part of a business long before even computers were invented. Huge libraries filled with physical documents were managed by companies. Imagine the kind of hassle it would’ve been. However, getting into an establishment, and having enough time to go through all this information, let alone steal it sounds rather impossible. Now fast forward to 2016 where pentabytes worth of data is stolen, modified without knowledge, or erased by mistake daily. Technology has sure made it easier to store information without acquiring real estate. But it has also made it easier for people with bad intentions to break into unprotected or cheaply protected systems to acquire important information.
While data protection has been given top priority since the starting, it’s the structured data that has gained fatherly love from its owners. The unstructured data has been out there floating in the various mediums, waiting to be picked up by someone who values it enough. It’s high time that proper strategies and software were employed to avoid potential theft of data from the company.