Not All Data Is Equal? Omdia's New Cyber Specialist Identifies Gap in Data Security Strategies

Published: 17 Mar 2023

With organizations under significant pressure to protect their data appropriately, new analysis from Omdia reveals there is a difference between the protection of structured and unstructured data highlighting an important gap in data security.

Recently joining Omdia to lead the Data Security practice, Principal Analyst Adam Strange said: "Historically the focus of many a data security strategy has been on protecting the 'crown jewels' - the structured data at the heart of corporate operations. But think for a moment about the vast amount of data that sits outside the structured world of databases and corporate applications. How much protection does this unstructured data really receive, and importantly does it all need protecting in the same way? Is all data actually equal?"

Structured data refers to the data resident within relational databases and often presents itself via customer relationship management systems and corporate applications throughout the various lines of business.

Unstructured data by contract is not as easy to ring-fence. It is different, unrelated files typically much more familiar to the end-user – Microsoft Office files, PDFs, image files, videos, emails and social media content, text files etc. The data is stored in a wide array of end-user devices, internal storage libraries and archives, data lakes and cloud-based services. Considering all these formats and types on local and network-based devices illustrates how vital it is to include all this data into the overall security strategy planning equation. Omdia estimates that as much as 80% of an organization's data is resident in this unstructured category.

On the new appointment, Senior Director in Omdia's Cybersecurity practice, Maxine Holt said: "We are thrilled that Adam has joined the practice. His experience is vital as we research how organizations generate, store, record and manage their data in an operational environment and how that data can or should be protected as it moves around both the business and potentially out into the supply chain, all within a context of growing governance, risk and compliance regulations and data privacy legislation."

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