September is Admin Privacy Awareness month!
How many times you took a photo or screenshot in a meeting so you can refer to it later? Or took photos of your identity documents to submit to a lender or renew your license plate? What happened to those images – where are they now? How many copies do you have and do you remember all the storage locations?
Businesses work with a lot of unstructured data and there are many copies of the same document
Your organization is not alone when it comes to unstructured data practices, because using data outside of the rules and constraints of applications is how organizations conduct business daily. It’s fast and we all work in fast-paced environments. This means that your risk of the data breach has just increased. Even though Gartner predicts that, by 2022, 80 percent of all global data will be unstructured, it does not mean that your organization can’t reduce the risk of this data becoming a victim of illegitimate access and exfiltration.
Employees need guidance to apply the same policies written for structured data to unstructured information in digital and hard copies formats
But how do organizations secure and protect unstructured data? Within one organization, the process for handling documents could vary across employees and teams, and it’s very likely that management has no idea this is happening.
First, organizations need to acknowledge the existence of unstructured data and its value or classification
Secondly, an organization needs to include their unstructured data in their inventories, including personal information inventory, and map out where the information currently lives, how it flows, and who the stakeholders are that make use of the information – even if that differs across the business. In order to solve this problem, senior management needs to have a holistic view of the extent of the problem.
Unstructured data needs to be accounted for throughout its lifecycle
Safeguarding personal information in unstructured formats and repositories starts with the implementation of a system that should include complete and auditable governance and security, accompanied by protocols and procedures.
If your organization is looking to understand the lawful uses and retention of unstructured data, our privacy experts can assist you. MPC has the technical expertise and a practical approach to help, with the Practical Privacy Playbook(™) supported by a large array of privacy services geared to uncover where all your data is so that your company continues to make productivity gains and maintains trust with employees and customers alike.