It’s Like Walking A Tightrope – The Balancing Act of Unstructured Data Risk Reduction

It’s Like Walking A Tightrope – The Balancing Act of Unstructured Data Risk Reduction

Global organizations across every industry have become addicted to the hordes of data they are capable of amassing and storing — particularly unstructured data. On average, unstructured data currently makes up more than 80% of enterprise data and it is growing at the rate of 55% to 65% per year. Like it or not, that eye-catching, shiny pile of glorious unstructured data also comes with the obligation and liability of handling it responsibly and in a timely manner to avoid data risk exposure.

Data has often been compared to the new oil, but in reality, it is the new uranium. The resource comes with great power, but needs to be well protected. 

Ransomware, data breaches, data exposure accidents, insider maliciousness, and any number of other threats can put your organization’s unstructured data at risk. Organizations may find themselves vulnerable because they don’t even know what data they have, why they have it, where it is, or who actually owns it. Here are a few tips for taking control of your organization’s unstructured data risk reduction strategy.

Identify Unstructured Data Owners

Enterprise IT leaders must help maintain transparency and understanding of who has ownership responsibility, control, and authority over their organization’s unstructured data assets and just how those assets can be used. Failure to maintain this precedent can leave organizations vulnerable to data risk liability, compliance failures, and lawsuits. 

It is imperative to formally identify data ownership and a discoverable trail of responsibility and accountability for managing an organization’s unstructured dataset throughout its lifecycle—from creation to deletion, and the usage of that data in between—based on data governance principles. Unstructured data owners must be fully capable to handle the responsibilities they are given and also the fortitude to grant other responsible individuals ownership of data to varying degrees. An established system of rules, clear directives, processes, and behaviors will leave little room for ambiguous decision-making. Instead, it leaves a governance-guided ability to understand possession, define usage directives, set quality standards, and consistently resolve unstructured data issues.

Delete Unnecessary Data 

According to the World Economic Forum, the amount of data generated globally each day is expected to reach 463 exabytes by 2025. With a majority of that data being unstructured, it is most likely that organizations will eventually amass a heaping pile of unstructured data that has become obsolete. 

Enterprise IT leaders are instrumental in establishing their organizations’ data deletion guidelines to support business goals, meet compliance requirements, and minimize excess junk-data storage. It’s extremely tempting to hold on to the volumes of historical data that have outlived their usefulness. Practically speaking, data should only be held for current business purposes and only for as long as absolutely necessary. 

ROT (Redundant, Obsolete, and Trivial) unstructured data should be proactively deleted, and cold data should be archived. Personal data is a touchy subject for most individuals and organizations alike. Stored personal data, should be trimmed dramatically (i.e., delete ex-employee and ex-customer data). In fact, the GDPR guidance suggests that organizations should periodically review stored data to identify and properly address data stored beyond intended use. Slimming down the storage coffers should remain a key initiative for most organizations throughout 2022 and beyond to lessen their risk exposure.

Identify Unprotected Unstructured Data

Organizations must protect their most precious asset—their unstructured data. With data flying through the ether, unprotected unstructured data is a high-risk data asset and extremely vulnerable to breaches. Unstructured data discovery tools are instrumental in identifying unprotected data through workflows which can be designed to scan and discover new data to whatever granularity desired. Through comprehensive monitoring and maintenance, organizations can continue classifying and discovering any new unstructured data as it comes in to make certain sensitive data is being sufficiently protected and the organization’s unstructured data handling policies meet any regulatory and compliance requirements.

Reduce Your Overall Data Risk to Protect Your Organization

Now more than ever, enterprise organizations need robust, high performance unstructured data management tools capable of monitoring and assessing every facet of their risk exposure.

Enterprise organizations continue to rely on Datadobi’s best-in-class-technology products and services provided by our 24/7 expert support team for guidance through the often-murky waters of compliance and data risk exposure management, regardless of the multiple types of storage utilized or where and how many locations, worldwide, at which their unstructured data is stored.

To learn more about how Datadobi’s solutions have mitigated risk for other enterprises, click here