Do you know where your (unstructured) data lives?

When you hear the word ‘data,’ it might sound fairly innocuous, maybe even insignificant when put into an ‘everyday’ context. But with the right context around that word, your perspective will probably shift pretty quickly. Data is everywhere. It’s the emails you send during your workday. Or the budget spreadsheet you just updated and shared with a colleague for approval. It’s the product specs and blueprints your engineering team is finalizing for the next big product launch. It’s the list of customers (with contact details!) your company currently serves. It’s the details of your work history, personal background and contact details that HR has on file for when you first joined the company.

When you see data in this context, suddenly, it sounds far more valuable than ever.

And that’s what hackers are after: sensitive data that is ripe for the taking, either for personal means, or for some other more nefarious exploit. This data is worth money and/or is damaging in some way to an organization. Perhaps one of the biggest challenges of data is that hackers steal copies, so you sometimes don’t even know if it was taken. And, even if you identify and stop an attack, the data is still in the hands of the bad guys.

With Gartner estimating unstructured data to be 80% of all enterprise data, this is not a small problem.

So, how do we protect all that sensitive data I described above?

The first step is to have visibility over that data. Who owns it and what can they do with it? From there, you can put controls in place and manage accordingly. This may sound straight forward, but it’s a major challenge for organizations. While structured systems, such as SAP and Oracle, typically have assigned owners and are strictly maintained, unstructured data (think SharePoint or email servers) might not have the same oversight.

This is a solvable problem, however. By extending identity governance to unstructured data, you can provide the right access to the right data at the right time. Electing proper data owners keeps data healthy and ensures access requests are granted and rejected appropriately.

For more on how to get your arms around the slew of unstructured data you might be sitting on at your own company, download our eBook, ‘Who Owns Your Data?’ Or, spend some time with our data access governance solution to see for yourself how empowered you can be. Data access governance will leave you feeling confident that access to your sensitive corporate data is secure.