by Nate Lord, Digital Guardian, May 22, 2017

19 security professionals and business leaders share their top tips for protecting unstructured data.

From the contents of emails to intellectual property, business plans, proprietary training documentation, and much more, most enterprises manage vast amounts of unstructured data containing valuable and sensitive information. The sheer volume of unstructured data created and managed by most enterprises can be enough to drive up storage costs substantially. In addition to managing unstructured data, understanding what unstructured data is sensitive and protecting it is a crucial concern for the modern enterprise.

But protecting this data can be challenging due to the nature of unstructured data and the challenges that often exist in identifying where it resides within the enterprise network, protecting it from unauthorized access, and preventing it from exiting the secure company environment.

To gain some insight into the most effective tactics and strategies that today’s security leaders turn to when it comes to protecting unstructured data, we asked a panel of security pros and other business leaders to answer this question:

“What’s the most important tip for companies looking to protect unstructured data?”

Find out what our experts suggest for better protecting your company’s sensitive unstructured data by reading their responses below.

Jonathan Gossels

Jonathan Gossels is president of SystemExperts, an IT security and compliance consulting firm.

“Most companies are very good at protecting data that they know about and consider sensitive…”

They restrict access to the HR systems where compensation data is available. They put access controls and monitoring procedures on systems that store critical intellectual property like formulas or key financial analytics.

Typically, they have formal policies and associated technology deployments and procedures to protect sensitive data.

When someone downloads that data from a secure environment into an Excel spreadsheet or a thumb drive, all the controls are gone.

Technology can’t solve this – this is a human problem. It can only reasonably be addressed through appropriate use policies and extensive and ongoing user awareness training. Employees need to understand: DON’T TAKE SENSITIVE DATA OUT OF ITS CONTROLLED ENVIRONMENT!

To read what others have to say about protecting your company’s sensitive unstructured data, click here.