Millions of organizations are still relying on less-than-stellar security for their databases, something illustrated painfully by the number of massive data breaches in 2019. When you consider all of the associated costs — lawsuits and fines, remediation and damage control, the need for new systems and even potential revenue loss, IBM estimates that data breaches can cost an organization upwards of $3.92 million. This number is enough to cause pain to an enterprise, but it would be devastating for a mid-size organization. It’s nearly impossible to quantify the actual long-term cost to a company when you consider the need for software or hardware upgrades, the loss of customers, and negativity in the press and communities. One of the only ways to mitigate these risks is to invest in a modern data retention strategy that is flexible and extensible enough to grow with your business and the needs of your customers.
The Challenges with Unstructured Data
While structured data is generally well-understood, there are significant challenges associated with unstructured data. This information, which could be anything from random Word documents with trade secrets stored by staff members to sensitive internal emails, can be extremely damaging to your company if individuals access it without the correct level of clearance. The innate lack of structure is the problem — since there isn’t a great deal of clarity around the type of data that’s being stored, managing access to this information becomes murky and obscure. With companies noting that nearly half of their critical business content being stored outside of their formal content management systems, this is a problem that is growing exponentially over time. Other sources show that 90% of the data that is currently being generated is unstructured, making this an epic challenge for IT teams around the world.
The Shifting Balance Between Structured and Unstructured Data
There was a time that much of the data that companies stored, retrieved, and shared was structured (Excel worksheets, databases), while much of the content was considered semi-structured (emails). Today, the rapid-fire pace of communications and content marketing has dramatically shifted the balance towards unstructured data that includes everything from pictures, video files, social media engagements and presentations to records of phone calls from your customer service center and survey responses. While not all of this information could be considered confidential or protected by legislation, there are often hidden elements such as demographics within a survey that could be regarded as privacy-protected data. Finding this information, categorizing it, properly storing it, retrieving the data — and then managing the access to the information — are all risky activities if you’re using legacy content management or data storage solutions.
Updated Strategies for Data Retention and Governance
There have been some significant shifts in company strategies towards data storage and governance, with perhaps the most significant change in enterprise content management as it moves to the cloud. Companies are increasingly looking for ways to adjust budgets for subscription-based cloud data storage models from their on-premise CAPEX costs, and good reason. With cloud-based storage, not only are you gaining redundancy and disaster recovery benefits, but companies are also seeing cost-savings as their data storage needs continue to skyrocket. Cloud data storage solutions are also becoming more compliant, which was one of the critical considerations for companies that were resolute in maintaining onsite storage of their privacy-protected data. The intersection of digital platforms and data points is making it more difficult than ever to make a single decision for a company that manages risk at all levels of the organization.
Data retention and governance are arguably the most critical topics for IT and business professionals in the modern environment, impacting the risk levels and customer experience for companies of all sizes. You need the peace of mind knowing that your technology partners fully understand the need for proactive data retention strategies while still providing the superior, immediate, and tightly-managed access to data required to support interactive digital platforms. Contact the professionals at CTECH Consulting Group at 403-457-1478 or via email to firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule your complimentary initial consultation with our security and data privacy team.