Unstructured Data in 5 Stats

October 20, 2019

Quick, how many unstructured data sources can you name? Enterprise firms deal with countless terabytes of unstructured data, unorganized and easily accessible, ranging from text analytics and paper documents to Excel spreadsheets, hard drives and print servers. The list is long and spans well beyond big, network-attached devices, file servers or document management systems such as SharePoint — the usual priorities in securing sensitive data. Here’s a brief primer on the vast world of unstructured data in five stats. 

80% of enterprise data today is unstructured. That’s according to Gartner. Sensitive items like emails and message docs, ZIP files, log files, archived web content, code snippets and more make up the vast majority of enterprise data. These are housed across various systems and locations, left unanalyzed and vulnerable to a breach. Can you think of 80% of anything being as unorganized and unsecured? Neither can we.

Unstructured data grows at a rate of 61% annually. That’s compounded growth per year, according to a recent IDC report. By 2025, all but 20% of the data in the world will be unstructured. Global data is predicted to hit 175 zettabytes by then (1 zettabyte equals 1 trillion gigabytes) — 80% of which is slated to be unstructured. That’s a whole lot of accessible and unmonitored data putting firms at risk. 

71% of enterprises struggle with (unstructured) data management and protection. That’s based on a Market Pulse Survey examining enterprise security. Despite growing cybersecurity threats, enterprises often fall short of even the most basic data security measures such as establishing consistent policies or implementing a functional strategy for data governance. Attackers look for these lapses, particularly in unsecured folders and open access that provide a window into critical and sensitive data.

21% of all data are not protected in any way. That’s based on Varonis’s Global Data Risk Report. Let’s say your firm has 1 million or more data folders. Consider the locations of 100,000 of these folders, spread across file servers or various devices across your organization. For nearly 60% of firms (with 1 million plus folders) these 100,000 folders are unprotected, unencrypted and open for all to access. Now consider the security implications of having sensitive IP and client data housed within these folders. Every unprotected folder puts you at risk. 

54% of a company’s data is stale. Another great stat coming from the Global Data Risk Report. Stale data is problematic in its own way. Sensitive data can be housed for extended period of times across various systems, often for compliance reasons, even beyond pre-determined retention times (and sometimes forgotten completely). The risk stale data can pose is high and unnecessary, not to mention the resources needed to store and manage it. Being able to identify, organize and archive stale data is a business-critical task that firms fail at time and again — worth noting, 85% of companies have over 100,000 folders that contain stale data. That doesn’t even breach the issue of stale accounts. 

Unstructured data is vast in size and scope. Understanding the facts is the first step towards successful governance and mitigating your security risk.



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