Currently, unstructured data comprises nearly 80 percent of corporate data under management, according to some estimates. In this environment, ensuring effective governance is critical. With that in mind, we’ve compiled the following considerations for implementing best practices when it comes to governing unstructured data:

Use Trusted Data Sources 

Data that companies have created and accumulated directly is generally trustworthy, but what about data acquired from outside sources? The only way to ensure the integrity of this data is to vet the data provider thoroughly and find out how the provider has prepared and secured the data. For companies operating in sensitive industries like healthcare, it’s also important to confirm that individual patient data has been anonymized in compliance with privacy requirements.

Establish Guidelines for User Access and Permissions 

While it is standard to have rules governing user access and permissions for structured data, this practice doesn’t always extend to unstructured data. Companies should address this inconsistency and ensure that there are different levels of data permissions based upon job function and role. It’s also a good idea to regularly conduct annual access and permissions reviews and implement procedures for removing access once an individual leaves the company.

Secure All Data 

Again, it’s not uncommon for structured data to have security considerations that its unstructured counterpart lacks. Best practices like trusted networks, strong user access methods and monitoring, and perimeter monitoring that checks for vulnerabilities and potential breaches are essential to governing unstructured data. In addition, if data is stored on edge devices, that hardware should be physically caged and secured whenever possible, where only authorized users can gain access.

Use Logging and Traceability 

Another critical consideration is the implementation of logging and traceability software. Using logging and traceability can provide answers to questions such as:

  • Who or what is accessing the data?
  • When and from where did they access it?
  • Should an issue occur, what event precipitated the problem?

Dispose of Bad Data

Bad data should be eliminated in the data preparation process so that it never makes it to data storage. Data repositories should also be frequently revisited to discard data that is no longer needed.

Head over to TechRepublic for more on these considerations and other tips for effectively governing your unstructured data.