Four tips from Wikibon to help manage unstructured data

Is unstructured data pulling its weight at your company? For many organizations, the answer is no. They make the mistake of filing and forgetting this business asset, even creating programs and expanding budget just to get it out of their collective hair without stopping to extract its value. And still, unstructured data can eat up storage budget and expose sensitive information to security risks if it goes dark, causing its owners to face bigger issues than difficult organizational protocols and budget requests.

In 2014, Wikibon interviewed senior IT executives to find out why unstructured data created pain points for their teams. The researchers shared educated tips about how to address these issues and leverage unstructured data to provide real business value. The resulting study, “The Growth and Management of Unstructured Data” by Analyst David Floyer, provides IT executives with actionable tips for gauging the success of their own unstructured data management programs, resolving chronic issues and preparing for the continued expansion of this data that will take place for years to come. Below are some ways you can apply Wikibon’s findings to your company.

  1. Be honest about the state of your data. Floyer is selective about the unstructured data projects he’ll call successful for the purpose of his study, and you should be too. Does your company know what types of data you are storing and what the growth rates are? Do your management policies address compliance and risk management? If not, don’t claim your data is under control – start making moves to contain it.
  2. Analyze, protect and sort data where it lives. Classifications and metadata should be added automatically whenever new data is created, and you should gather insights at the point of storage to prevent glossing over important files.
  3. Make data visualization a priority. Running detailed audits and extracting insights from your files helps prevent redundancy and identify security and compliance risks before they pose serious threats.
  4. Apply the insights you collect. Maybe you’re a step ahead of this game already, and your storage is already data-aware. What happens next? Educate employees on how to apply findings from unstructured data to daily processes. Data insights can shed light on which teams are most productive when collaborating, which files a recently terminated employee accessed before he left, and which servers are most susceptible to security attacks. It’s your data. You deserve to know what’s in it – and fully reap its benefits

Which unstructured data use case would bring the most value to your company?

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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.