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March 25, 2024

Unstructured Data Protection

If you need to check out a library book on, say, Renaissance Art or Quantum Physics, the Dewey Decimal or other cataloging system makes the process straightforward and predictable. That’s because books are considered highly structured, making them easy to categorize, index, and retrieve.

But what if you need to piece together a story from various digital images, videos, and social media posts? Now you’re dealing with unstructured data or information that’s a collage of diverse elements, each with its own format and context. It can be challenging to navigate and extract relevant insights from these vast and varied sources, meaning you need more sophisticated tools and techniques to narrow in on your desired details.

Organizations rely heavily on structured and unstructured data to gain a deeper understanding of customer behaviors, enhance decision-making, and improve business operations. Even though up to 80% of data is considered unstructured, data protection strategies have traditionally centered on structured data, given its straightforward nature. However, as the volume of unstructured data grows, there’s an urgent need to shift the focus to protecting unstructured data.

Due to its fluidity and varied formats, protecting unstructured data comes with significant challenges. Unlike securing structured data, which resides in fixed fields within databases, it takes understanding its context, how it’s used, and how it flows in and outside the organization. Luckily, innovative methods and tools, including AI and cloud-based solutions, are simplifying unstructured data protection, making overcoming these challenges less complex.

Why Is Unstructured Information Challenging To Manage?

Most challenges to managing vast volumes of unstructured data stem from how rapidly it’s generated and accumulated and:

  • A lack of standardization. Emails, social media posts, videos, and images lack a consistent format, making it difficult to categorize, process, and analyze them systematically.
  • Storage and accessibility issues. Retrieving specific information from large unstructured datasets can be like finding the proverbial needle in a haystack, especially without advanced data security tools. Storing unstructured data efficiently while keeping it easily accessible is also a daunting task, as the solutions used for structured data are less suited to unstructured data’s flexible and scalable storage needs.
  • Security and privacy concerns. Unstructured data’s diverse formats and storage locations make it difficult to protect it from unauthorized access and cyber threats or apply uniform security protocols. It also triggers privacy and compliance concerns due to the amount of sensitive data it typically contains.
  • Difficulties in analysis and utilization. Extracting meaningful insights from unstructured data requires sophisticated tools and algorithms. Without them, organizations often find themselves struggling to fully leverage the data for strategic decision-making.
  • Integration hurdles with existing systems. Integrating unstructured data with existing structured data systems is usually a complex and resource-intensive process. The incompatibility between the two data types can lead to fragmented data silos, hindering comprehensive data insights and analysis capabilities.
  • Keeping pace with evolving technologies. Technology’s rapid evolution further complicates managing unstructured data. Keeping current with new data formats and sources as well as the latest storage, security, and analysis tools requires continuous adaptation and investment.

These and other factors collectively present a unique set of challenges for unstructured data management and protection that require a dynamic and multifaceted approach. Organizations must develop specialized strategies to address each issue and create an adaptable data management framework that seamlessly handles unstructured data’s changing nature. Investing in advanced data security tools, enhancing data governance policies, and continuous staff training help create a balance between accessibility and security.

The 3-Step Approach to Unstructured Data Protection

Protecting unstructured data requires a methodical approach that can be summarized in three steps:

  1. Defining data classes. Step one is categorizing unstructured data into distinct classes. This involves understanding the nature of the data your organization handles, be it emails, documents, multimedia, or social media content. By defining these classes, you can establish a framework that guides how different types of data need to be managed and protected. This classification is crucial in identifying which data is sensitive or critical to business operations.
  2. Locating and classifying data. Step two brings unstructured data classification into play, which involves identifying where unstructured data resides across the organization’s ecosystem and then classifying it according to predefined classes. The process typically requires advanced data discovery tools capable of scanning various repositories and cloud storage. Proper classification helps you understand the data’s nature and assess its value and risk profile, setting the stage for appropriate protection strategies.
  3. Protecting data. The final step involves implementing protection mechanisms tailored to the data’s nature and sensitivity. This can include access controls to ensure that only authorized personnel can view or modify sensitive data, encryption to safeguard data at rest and in transit, and regular audits to ensure compliance with data protection policies and regulations. Data backup and recovery plans are crucial to mitigate data loss risks.

Following these steps helps your organization establish a robust framework for unstructured data protection, ensuring its vast and varied data assets are securely managed and utilized.

Secure Your Sensitive Data with Velotix’s AI-driven data security platform

Cloud-Based Solutions That Protect Unstructured Data

Cloud-based data security solutions are an effective approach to protecting unstructured data. By harnessing the power of advanced technologies and scalable resources, these innovative solutions provide various benefits that include:

  • Enhanced security measures. Cloud providers typically invest heavily in security, employing state-of-the-art measures such as advanced encryption, intrusion detection systems, and regular security audits, ensuring unstructured data stored in the cloud is well-protected against cyber threats.
  • Scalability and flexibility. The cloud’s inherent scalability allows organizations to manage large volumes of unstructured data without the need for substantial hardware investments. As your business’s data volume grows, cloud storage can be easily expanded, offering a flexible solution that adapts to evolving needs.
  • Improved accessibility and collaboration. Cloud-based data security platforms facilitate easy access to unstructured data from anywhere, fostering company-wide collaboration. The distributed access does not compromise security, as cloud solutions often include robust access control mechanisms.
  • Automated backup and recovery. Cloud services often include automated backup and disaster recovery capabilities, ensuring unstructured data is regularly backed up and can be quickly restored in case of data loss.

By investing in an AI-powered cloud-based data security solution, your organization can achieve a higher level of protection for its unstructured data, combining enhanced security with the advantages of scalability, accessibility, and robust disaster recovery.

Unstructured Data Security: The Velotix Solution

A comprehensive security strategy for unstructured data is a long-term, complex undertaking for which there are no shortcuts. When choosing a data security platform for your organization, you need one that meets its business and technical requirements, can be implemented rapidly, and will adapt as your business grows.

Velotix is a leading-edge solution to safeguarding sensitive information contained in unstructured data. Its AI-powered data protection and access permissions, including policy-based access control (PBAC), transforms the data securing process, mitigating risks and automating policy management at scale. It’s a more flexible, secure, and comprehensive data security solution that allows you to take your cybersecurity strategy to the next level. There’s simply no better or easier way to meet today’s data protection challenges.

Ready to learn more about how Velotix is the only AI-based data security platform that automatically grants access rights to the right data at the right time? Contact us today to book a demo.