Data is everywhere.
You hear those words so often that it’s becoming a cliché, but you can’t deny the truth of it. There was a time when there were only hard copies of files – someone typed them up, maybe photocopied them a few times – but they were easier to trace and control. Bob from the finance department down the hall had the latest version, and you went to him to get it. Today, the reality of information sharing paints a vastly more complicated picture.
When I create a document, I do it in several steps. I generate a draft, send it around to a few people for an initial review, and then incorporate their feedback into the next version. From there, I may call it complete and send it to my boss for final review. I may then send the completed revision to its final audience via email, post it in SharePoint, or save it to a network drive (among numerous other options). And what about the other people with whom I shared it? Did they download their own copies to save their changes? Did they send it to someone else within the company to get their take on it? Did someone save it to the Cloud to read at home later? That information that started as a single file may now exist in many places. It’s pretty obvious how quickly our data footprint expands.
What about some of the external factors impacting your data? Options for data storage are expanding, with cloud storage becoming more common, and the costs to store data are rapidly decreasing. Combined, this means that everyone has cheaper and easier access to huge data storage locations.
Let’s go back to the document I wrote. Can you guess whether I had sensitive information in that file? Did it contain intellectual property (IP)? Personal information (PII) or health information (PHI)? Or was it a summary of our recent TITUS@Ten celebration? You might be able to guess by the file name, but the point is you never want to have to guess – and you certainly don’t want highly sensitive information treated like public content.
Here is some food for thought: IBM reports that 75% of the enterprise data we create is unstructured, while Gartner finds that number to be 80%. Regardless of which stat you believe, most of your data is unstructured and therefore more difficult to accurately identify. This is why if you ask CISOs about their biggest data concerns, the one that rises to the top is how little they understand their full data footprint – what is it, where is it, and who has access to it.
Come visit TITUS at RSA next week (booth 1215) where we will be making an exciting announcement regarding the identification and protection of your large stores of unstructured data. If you can’t make it out to beautiful San Francisco in person, don’t worry- just keep your eye on our blog and we’ll be bringing the excitement to you!