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Unstructured Vs Structured Data

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What’s the difference between Structured & Unstructured Data?

Unstructured data is any file or document that is not stored in a structured database, including emails, Word documents, Excel spreadsheets, presentations and other data. 

Organisations routinely store duplicate copies of the same file across email, social media and collaboration platforms . This takes up large volumes of storage and also represents a significant compliance risk if the unstructured data contains Personally Identifiable Information (PII). 

Much of the data can be regarded as Random, Obsolete or Trivial (ROT). However, it is difficult for organisations to know what they should keep and what they should delete. Deleting a key file can have potentially drastic consequences so organisations tend to keep hold of everything and allow their data footprint to grow. 

Unstructured data types

Redundant Data

This consists of duplicates such as unauthorised copies of documents, emails, records or database information residing in file shares, SharePoint sites, mail systems and databases.

Obsolete Data

This consists of information that is no longer in use, or is out of date. When determining whether data is obsolete, you can identify its creation date, last modified date and then assess this information in conjunction with appropriate retention policy.

Dark Data

This is the data which organisations may not know they have. This currently unmanaged, often unknown electronic content resides in various repositories across the organisation and is mostly human-readable, unstructured, unindexed, inactive and orphaned.

Trivial Data

This is determined by file type. Where the file type has no content value such as executables, system files and thumbnails.

Clients we've helped

Our expertise. Your questions answered

Data Management isn’t relevant to us?

How are you satisfying your compliance obligations as a data owner?  For example, how would you respond to a Data Subject Access Request (DSAR) within the allocated time period (20 working days).

We don’t have any ROT data?

That’s interesting to hear as the majority of organisations we have worked with have as much as 44+% ROT data taking up space in their primary storage! If you were required to report a data loss, would you know the level of risks associated with that data? Would you be able to inform the ICO and other relevant parties?

We do recognise this as an issue but we simply don’t have the time or resource to tackle it?

That’s where SES can help you. We can quickly deploy ControlPoint to scan and index your data and then put in place automation to apply policy-based rule sets. We can then help you to decide what to focus on to get the greatest benefit with the least effort.

Storage is cheap these days so it’s not a priority

We hear this a lot actually and while it may be true there is still an operational impact and cost. For example, your backups (and more importantly the restores) are taking far longer than they need to. Also, if you plan to move to the cloud you will end up paying for far more capacity than you need to.

We don’t use HPE software tools or technology.

Even though ControlPoint was a HPE software product it is platform agnostic and can be used in conjunction with any vendor hardware/software.

I’m sure we can manually respond to a Data Subject Access Request (DSAR) if required.

If you only need to search 5,000 or 10,000 documents, you could probably deploy a team of people to review each document and respond within 20 workdays. But, organisations typically have millions of unstructured data files, not including ever-expanding mailboxes.  Manually locating materials on this scale is an impossible task, ControlPoint can quickly solve this problem. ControlPoint can search and find documents quickly and efficiently, allowing you to respond to the requesting party in a timely and accurate manner.

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