8 Unstructured data nightmares for the Halloween season

There’s a reason most of us are afraid of the dark, or were at some point in our lives. Maybe we suffered an ongoing childhood fear, or a brief moment of panic when you were walking at night and heard a rustle in the nearby bushes. Even when you can reason your way out of a scary situation in the dark, the unknown is a persistent fear that may never fully subside.

If you’re a storage or security pro, there are times when your stores of unstructured data feel like a damp, dark room. When you’re inside, you can’t turn on the lights and get a clear view, so you can’t assess the threats you’re exposed to. You may find that your fear of whatever’s hiding in the shadows starts to ebb when you ignore the threat, so you try to turn your back to it. However, when those threats include critical elements like customer information and private data, ignoring the problem only makes it worse.

As Halloween approaches, consider the below instances of private information that could be hiding in your data storage. How would you react if a data breach brought one of them to life?

  • An enterprise’s intellectual property, the differentiator that separates a company from its competition
  • A patient’s complete medical history, previously kept confidential by hospital records
  • Personal and financial information, belonging to customers, employees, and partners
  • Corporate financial information, revenue, merger and acquisition, or profit and loss information
  • Student education records, report cards, transcripts, disciplinary records, class schedules, or contact and family information.
  • Salary details for employees throughout a company’s long history
  • Files from a private investigation, commissioned by a party that was attempting to remain anonymous
  • Case files and eDiscovery information, stored by a legal firm investigating a crime or participating in a litigation process

If a nightmare came true and one of these elements were exposed to the public during a security breach, the situation could lead to issues with insurance fraud, identity theft, a complete loss of reputation for the parties involved or even physical security issues. What fears would you add to this list, and what are you doing to prevent these issues from coming to life at your company?

Learn how to identify and address sensitive content on your system.

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Perry Dickau

Former Director of Product Management for DataGravity, Perry provided guidance on product direction and development, as well as on technologies, standards, best practices, and industry trends for data governance, risk management, and compliance. He previously served as a product manager at AvePoint and holds a Bachelor of Science in electrical and computer engineering from the University of New Hampshire.