July 6, 2022

What is the Cyber Risk of Unstructured Data?

What is the Cyber Risk of Unstructured Data?

15-52% of all enterprise data is classified as ‘dark data’ - data that’s harmful or useless to an organization. Dark data gets lost in unstructured data, piling on every single year. So if there’s so much dark data in unstructured data, what is considered unstructured data?

What is Unstructured Data?

Unstructured data is digital information that does not conform to a specific data model or have a pre-defined data schema. It is often raw, unorganized, and difficult to process with traditional methods. Examples of unstructured data include email, images, audio files, video, and text documents. Unstructured data is also referred to as unstructured information or unstructured content.

Due to the lack of predefined structure, it is difficult to query, manipulate, and analyze unstructured data. Traditional data analysis methods, such as relational databases, are not able to process unstructured data. As a result, specialized tools are needed to extract meaning from unstructured data or to analyze it for its context. This makes it difficult for classification-based security to handle a large number of unstructured data.

Unstructured data is increasingly important in the modern world, as more and more digital information is generated. A large amount of data is contained in unstructured data, but there is a minimal number of solutions that can offer visibility to its location or access, making it difficult to secure. Sometimes, unstructured data can be referred to as flat files.

What are flat files?

Flat files are the simplest form of data storage and are used to store data in a single table or plain text file. They consist of one or more records, each of which is composed of one or more fields. Each field is separated by a delimiter, such as a comma, tab, or space.

Flat files are used to store and manipulate simple data that is not related to any type of database. For example, a flat file could be used to store a list of employees, their addresses, and their salaries. It could also be used to store a list of products with their prices and descriptions.

Flat files are easy to create and edit, making them ideal for quickly creating databases or updating existing ones. However, they are not well-suited for large datasets or complex data manipulation. This is because flat files lack the structure and flexibility of a relational database, which makes it difficult to perform data analysis or search for specific records. Additionally, flat files can be difficult to maintain over time due to their lack of organization. For these reasons, flat files are most often used in small-scale applications or as a temporary storage solution.

What is the Cyber Risk of Unstructured Data?

Unstructured data is a form of data that is not organized in any specific way and can come in the form of text documents, audio files, video files, and images. It is often referred to as “big data” and can be difficult to analyze and store. While unstructured data can provide valuable insights into a business’s operations, it also poses a cyber risk due to its lack of structure.

Unstructured data can be difficult to protect with traditional security measures. It is difficult to classify the data, which means that the data is more vulnerable to cyber attacks. Without the proper security measures in place, attackers can gain access to the sensitive information contained within the data. Additionally, due to its lack of structure, it is more difficult to detect suspicious activity or detect any malicious code hidden within the data.

The lack of structure also makes it harder to audit and monitor the data. Without a clear way to review and analyze the data, it can be difficult to detect any unauthorized changes or malicious activity. Additionally, if unstructured data is stored in an unencrypted format, it can be accessed by anyone with access to the system, increasing the risk of data breaches.

Finally, unstructured data can be difficult to back up and recover in the event of a data breach or system failure. Without an organized system in place, it can be difficult to identify which data should be backed up, and it can take a long time to recover this data.

Overall, unstructured data can provide valuable insights into a business’s operations, but it also poses a significant cyber risk. Companies should ensure they have appropriate security measures in place to protect their unstructured data, as well as a system for monitoring and auditing the data. Additionally, companies should ensure that the unstructured data is stored in an encrypted format, and that it is backed up regularly.

Learn About Protecting Unstructured Data and More With Phalanx

To learn more about how Phalanx can help you reduce the risk of and protect unstructured data, contact us for a demo today.

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