Looking back on Gartner’s unstructured data projections

“Unstructured data” has evolved from a buzzword, to a pressing concern, to simply another part of the enterprise technology stack over the past few years. Smart security and IT pros are now working to proactively shed light on unstructured, dark data and address potential risks before they pose a serious threat to the organizations that harbor them. Compared to the recent past, when vast amounts of dark data were frequently stored but rarely even addressed by most enterprises, this evolution has been a victory for data security and privacy – even if it took a number of major breaches to give IT the nudge in this direction that it needed.

In 2013, Gartner analyst Alan Dayley published a report on unstructured dark data and file analysis innovation. Two years later, we’ve seen new breakthroughs in this industry but the same pain points continue to plague some companies. How has this reality shifted? Our take on the matter is below.

1. The dangers of dark data are even bigger than the market thought.

It was expected that issues like human error would pose a threat to stores of dark data if they unknowingly contained sensitive or private information, but even industry pros couldn’t have foreseen today’s security climate. Businesses in every industry are now hyper-aware that the employee, customer and partner data they collect and store, as well as their own intellectual property, can be exposed to hackers and threaten the security of all involved. While it’s not ideal for anyone to be dealing with this pressing concern, the shift in attitude has kicked preventative security measures into motion.

2. The business impact of unstructured data still has room to grow.

Dayley’s report noted that the reduced risk, lower storage costs and enhanced search and discovery qualities of data analysis tools would mature greatly in response to increased industry awareness about unstructured data management. Gartner wasn’t the only firm to make this prediction; IDC estimates that big-data-specific storage, networking, software and services will create a $23.8 billion market by 2016 and the overall market for analytics will reach $70.8 billion by 2016.

The growth of these industries has sparked a wide landscape of options for IT pros to simultaneously address big data, storage, security and analytics needs. However, some teams are still wasting budget, introducing security risks and lamenting their lack of business results as they invest in disparate tools. As dark data risks continue to make their way to the forefront of IT concerns, these pros will turn to hyper-converged and data-aware solutions, learning from the success of their peers who were early adopters of such technology.

3. Data intelligence alone won’t solve every IT problem.

The most valuable decisions IT pros can make are the ones that cater directly to the unique demands of the environments they serve. The best way for any administrator –whether his focus is on storage, data privacy or something else entirely – to see results from a data intelligence investment is to identify exactly which problem his company needs to solve. It’s now clear that data management investments have a greater potential to enhance business processes, protect data and increase the holistic intelligence of any data center.

Learn more about addressing today’s dark data challenges with our SlideShare, “Learn What’s Lurking in the Dark (Data).”

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Jeff Boehm

Jeff Boehm

Jeff Boehm was the vice president of marketing at DataGravity for 2 years. Jeff brought more than 20 years of experience with a rare combination of marketing skills, organizational leadership and technical background to DataGravity, having shaped the BI and search markets working for industry pioneers and disrupters.