We create mountains of data everyday and about 80 percent of it is unstructured. That means it’s not stored in a database. It’s documents, text messages, emails, videos and everything we create on desktops, laptops and mobile devices that we store locally, remotely or share.
One of the problems of all this unstructured data is most of us don’t know what it is, where it is or who has access to it. Just ask the New England Patriots about text messages that may have started the so-called Deflategate mess. Unless this data is protected, it can and will go anywhere. Fortunately Tom Brady and the Patriots were exonerated, but losing sensitive data caused them a lot of problems.
Unstructured data is on our local devices, on social media sites, in cloud repositories and all over your internal networks and systems. Finding it is hard. Classifying and controlling it is even harder. Making sure that only authorized people can access it, is the hardest.
Byron Acohido, from ThirdCertainty, wrote an article entitled “It’s time to give unstructured data some structured protection” where he discusses some of the problems the New England Patriots and others have with losing unstructured data. Whether it’s a trusted insider stealing sensitive information for profit, like at Morgan Stanley, or a hacker stealing intellectual property, the consequences to your business are the same. If you can’t control access to the data, you will suffer the consequences.
The best way to protect yourself is to classify any newly generated unstructured data that could be sensitive and encrypt it with a dynamic security policy to lock it. Whether you are the New England Patriots or a small business, protecting your sensitive data is critical. That ensures only authorized people can access it, no matter where it is and who is trying to look at it.
Photo credit Steve Baker