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How Unstructured Data Governance is Driving GDPR Compliance

GDPR has arrived. We’re seven months into a new regulatory world; yet only 29 percent of firms are “fully” compliant. While some firms have put the infrastructure in place to meet new regulatory guidelines, unstructured data hangs in the balance…and with it penalties of noncompliance. Many have yet to find effective ways to power compliance across the countless formats and environments that generate unstructured data (i.e. emails, spreadsheets, and intranet posts on various systems like Microsoft Exchange, Office365, Sharepoint, Skype, OneDrive, zip-files, local folders, and more). By its very nature, unstructured data needs to be handled differently than its structured counterparts, particularly when it comes to compliance. Here are a few things to keep at the forefront of your unstructured data governance strategy:

Personally identifiable information (PII) — such as social security numbers, financial documents, private addresses, and medical documents — exist across a wide array of data formats and require various mapping processes, data streams and supporting systems to secure and govern usage. When unstructured data enters the fray, firms are responsible for defining specific rules for what qualifies as PII, configuring relevant data streams, indexing and flagging sensitive data, and ultimately governing long-term ownership and access. Systematically, this workflow is designed to provide a full view to C-suite decision makers on the state of GDPR compliance for a firm’s unstructured data, informing better protections for personal data.

Data privacy is integral to your overall strategy. In the age of mass data, trust and security have become a kind of currency — a huge business asset when done right. In terms of governance, privacy needs to be built into the very framework of your business as well as the integrations you build into it. This is key to helping identify data, its ownership and the controls over its usage. Having this safety net built-in allows you to assure reliability, timeliness, and accuracy — making your data both compliant and a business asset.

Even though GDPR may seem a concern of the past, noncompliant data remains a real-time issue with real-world penalties to your firm’s bottom line.

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