To escape a data tsunami, storage and security need to join forces

When you ignore a problem, it’s more likely to get worse than better. Thinking otherwise tends to negate common sense – you wouldn’t notice a leak forming on your ceiling and, in hopes that it will stop, simply stop looking in its direction.

And yet, unstructured data has created a problem in the IT space that’s long gone unaddressed. John Joseph, DataGravity president and co-founder, recently heard about this issue firsthand. A customer in the pharmaceutical industry admitted that his company spent billions of dollars creating unstructured data, and only in retrospect did they realize they had no way to analyze it.

Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG) highlights this issue in a recent white paper, titled “Convergence and the opportunity for security at the source.” The paper, authored by ESG Senior Analyst Doug Cahill, explains how organizing, identifying and managing unstructured data is a strategic goal for many IT teams. However, companies are creating data at breakneck speeds; according to ESG, a quarter of companies are experiencing storage capacity growth between 11 and 20 percent per year.

This growth creates a “data tsunami,” according to Cahill. When that tsunami exists in a landscape where few organizations can accurately gauge the value of their data and security threats run rampant, it’s clear that something must change if companies will ever improve unstructured data management and protection.

The most dangerous threats to data security

Cahill warns that the high-profile security breaches and hacks that dominate news headlines don’t comprise the majority of cybersecurity breaches. Instead, more realistic threats for every company typically come in these forms:

  • Cybercriminals focused on selling or monetizing stolen information;
  • Malicious insiders intent on stealing corporate data;
  • Third-party entities, such as contractors or partners, that unwittingly create weak links that spark data loss; and
  • Nation-state sponsored attacks, committed to wage industrial, economic or corporate damage.

The way companies create and manage data can also create new cracks in security systems. Most companies have a visibility gap, created by rapid data growth, regionally distributed teams and outdated storage solutions, which prevents IT teams from fully knowing what’s in their data. Meanwhile, cloud storage and file sharing solutions introduce new security risks to IT environments. Before your company sends its data to a third-party host, it should first understand that information and its contents.

Data-aware storage combines core IT functions

Even with security measures focused on your company’s endpoints and perimeter, your team should assume it will eventually suffer a breach – or maybe it has already, but doesn’t know it. With this in mind, your company’s security posture hinges on its ability to identify and protect high-value data. Not all data is created equal, and it’s time to stop treating unstructured data otherwise.

Cahill suggests taking a proactive approach to preventing data loss. By using a data-aware storage solution, you can identify sensitive data, track its business value and make intelligent decisions about IT strategies and new company initiatives. In other words, storage and security – working together – can help your team gain awareness and understanding about the modern threat landscape, while using critical insights to improve business.

For more tips from ESG about the evolving threat landscape, download the report.

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Devlyn Coelho

Devlyn Coelho is the Director of Corporate Marketing at DataGravity. She previously held marketing leadership roles at Enterprise Strategy Group, Dell, and EqualLogic.