How to calculate the value of your data

To adequately manage data and protect it from security risks, you need to assess its contents and determine how it should be handled within your system. When files contain sensitive elements, such as a customer’s personal information or the company’s financial records, they should be closely monitored and kept in a secure location on your server – preventing their potential exposure in an attack or data breach. When a folder is filled with memory-draining information that doesn’t aid your business, such as the entire second season of a TV show an employee once saved to his desktop, it should be identified and deleted, freeing up the system and preventing your team from purchasing unnecessary storage capacity.

In short, your data’s health depends on your ability to calculate its value. Data visibility and forensics solutions can help your team learn the contents of your files and determine their needs. However, the overall value of a given file, folder or entire data store goes beyond the simple process of taking inventory. If your company leaked a customer’s confidential information, the fallout from the breach could damage your customer’s sense of trust and your industry reputation, in addition to incurring monetary charges.

Customers and companies may gauge the value of data in different ways

Recently, TechCrunch reported that Comcast reached a $33 million settlement in response to claims that it had exposed clients’ personal information, despite those customers having paid fees to keep the information confidential. The company paid $100 in compensation to each affected individual.

As the outlet noted, the action represented a turning point in the way companies respond to data security issues in the modern age. It was the first time a price tag had been placed on personal information exposure, and it began to define the amount that a customer affected by illegally published data should be owed.

How would your team monetize the value of its internal and customer data? By considering the costs proactively, including weighing the price your team pays in hours and efforts to define, detect and defend its sensitive data, you’ll be more prepared to identify critical information and increase its protection, which can drastically save costs in the event of a security breach.

Evaluating the cost of your organization’s stored data

Below are a few questions to keep in mind while evaluating this cost. As you consider the answers, think of your customers’ perspectives in addition to your corporate opinion – and how much you would pay to retrieve your own sensitive data, if it were exposed.

  • Who has access to this file?
  • When was the last time it was opened, and what changes were made?
  • Has this file changed locations in recent weeks?
  • Could the access patterns we’re tracking be the result of a hacker inside our system?
  • Could you determine a person’s identity or physical location from the information in this file?
  • Is this information linked to other databases on our server?
  • Do copies of this file exist? If so, could a third-party intruder locate them easily?
  • How do our employees usually share files? How secure is the process?

 Learn more about recovering exposed 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.