Far too many companies don't know what to do with all of their data. Instead of tackling the problem head-on, we revert to our childhood selves and stuff it under the bed hoping mom won't notice. But data, especially unstructured data, needs to be dealt with properly. How can you get your ever-increasing volume of data under control and avoid the risks your data creates?
Four Serious Risks of Storing Large Amounts of Unstructured Data
1. Operational Problems with Unstructured Data
Unstructured data is great at evading detection.Because it doesn't conform to any data standard, it lacks structure. Without structure, it's difficult to search for this data and manage it properly. This is where all of your data headaches begin. When data isn't visible in your organization, it leads to poor decision-making. You have to know your data:where it resides, what it contains, and what it can do.
What happens when you don't have a clear understanding of your data? You might be surprised when your cloud storage bill greatly exceeds your expectations. Perhaps valuable information gets lost in the shuffle and forces your staff to work overtime to recreate or rediscover those rogue files. Employees may make mistakes using outdated files that shouldn't have been on your servers to begin with. But that's just the tip of the iceberg.
2. Misleading Insights from BI Tools
Spending a few extra minutes searching for a file isn't ideal, but it's not going to wreck your enterprise. However, there are much greater risks from having unstructured information hidden in the dark.Making bad decisions could certainly steer your company towards disaster. That becomes commonplace when your BI tools feed you erroneous insights. When it comes to business intelligence, a timeless adage rings true: garbage in, garbage out.If the data you input is of poor quality or is missing key information, the output cannot be relied on.
This is why having a crystal-clear view of your data is so critical. How do you know that you're putting in the right data if you don't even know what data you have? Storing unstructured data in large amounts also creates the possibility of using the wrong data entirely. An outdated data set could cause you to make decisions that are no longer viable. Without an easy way to automate the data discovery process, you'll always be operating in the dark to some degree.
3. Increased Data Theft Risk
The more data you have, the more likely you are to lose some of it to theft. While structured data may be valuable to a thief, unstructured files are where the real gold nuggets can be found. Consider the sensitive information you've sent via email or left in the minutes of a private meeting. Pause for a moment and ask yourself, what file would be the worst for your company to lose? Odds are your answer involves unstructured files. Your proprietary source code for your software? That's unstructured. Your financial statements and international accounts? That's also unstructured.
Most of the data you care about is going to be unstructured, so you need a reliable way to keep track of it and secure it. You can't protect something if you don't know it exists. That's why it's so important to have an automated platform that can constantly scan your filesystem to detect any changes and help you discover data hiding in the darkest recesses of your organization. You can also quickly modify access permissions to batches of files that meet your criteria, which limits your exposure in the event of a data breach and can help you put the clamps on intruders.
4. Violations of Data Privacy Law
This last risk can seriously jeopardize your business. Data privacy laws are expanding worldwide, including here in the United States. Laws like the GDPR and CCPA extend protections to consumers' personal information, which is often nestled away in unstructured files scattered throughout your business. If these files are breached, you could be on the hook for heavy fines and you'll be on the regulators' radar in the future.
Fortunately, you can use an intelligent platform that can identify personal information hidden in unstructured files and apply protocols to ensure those files are compliant with data privacy laws. Aparavi was designed to make unstructured data compliance easy. Our platform has settings for specific data privacy laws that you can apply in minutes, and it'll automatically ensure that any relevant file receives the right treatment.
Data can be an asset but can also be a liability. To make sure it's more of the former and less of the latter, you need to use intelligent automation. See for yourself what Aparavi can do, get a data assessment today.