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Organizations are often pressured to choose how to prioritize what is essential in terms of data management. Equally as often, they make rash decisions to comply with industry and regulatory standards. Some prioritize concern with cybersecurity threats and data leaks rather than cost efficiency. Many do not know that data management can protect against cyberattacks while being cost-effective. The growth of big data in the digital world is extraordinary. Developing an efficient data management strategy is key to securing your organization’s data ecosystem.
Data management may seem daunting because of the sheer amount of data being churned out daily. It’s no easy task, but intelligent management technologies and data management best practices can help your organization avoid the consequences of poor data management, leading to high costs and vulnerability to cyberattacks.
Understanding ROT data
There are three types of data: redundant, outdated and trivial data – otherwise known as ROT data. The more ROT data a company has, the higher the risk of falling victim to a cyberattack. Companies can mitigate risk and cut down costs by understanding their ROT data.
Redundancies often occur because of our conditioning to save multiple copies of the same dataset because we have been told it’s best to hold onto everything. Outdated data is just precisely that: data that is outdated and no longer has relevance. Trivial data is data that no longer serves a purpose and takes up space on servers while slowing down processing. Organizations can tackle this problem by knowing what data should be kept, deleted or sorted.
Another challenge that comes with ROT data is data storage – companies run with the conditioning of needing to hold onto data and end up storing it in the cloud. While the cloud might seem like a cost-effective solution, since the cost is very little per gigabyte, ROT data quickly drives up monthly storage fees. In response to this, companies buy disk after disk to support this growth, but then in five years, they run out of space and have accumulated an abundance of disks.
The path to securing your data
First, organizations need to identify what data needs to be retained, whether it is essential to conduct business or to meet the company’s compliance regimes – for instance, financial data for a SOX audit needs to be held onto for seven years. In contrast, GDPR statutes in Europe dictate that user data should be eliminated as soon as it is no longer needed.
You can save your organization copious amounts of money through data archiving methods that sophisticatedly and cost-effectively manage unstructured data. The door also opens for data to be used as a critical corporate asset that can easily be mined and used for benefit. For some businesses, master records or archives of certain sensitive data should be retained as long as they cannot be copied or viewed by unauthorized actions.
Intense security event monitoring and authorization is also good practice. This helps identify access controls that are incredibly useful for securing enterprise data and gives data stakeholders a heads up on incoming threats, latent or introduced data vulnerabilities, and potential privacy or compliance issues.
Organizations can rapidly identify and resolve issues by setting automated data search policies to keep up with current protocols for compliance regimes. A practical example of this is sharing medical data without signed forms or failing to delete account information when it is no longer needed.
Organizations shouldn’t have to turn a blind eye to increased cybersecurity threats and data leaks because they are unaware of cost-effective solutions to data management. Companies should become aware of the data management strategies that help identify data and organize what should be kept, deleted or sorted. In doing so, we change the digital world by securing the data ecosystem. Not only do these help organizations create new value – it is a critical factor in cutting down costs and preventing cyberattacks.
Adrian Knapp is CEO & founder of Aparavi.
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