As data multiplies, the headaches associated with managing it multiply as well. Paul Rubens discusses the special problems associated with managing unstructured data.
Unstructured data can damage your organization's business operations and lead to spiraling storage costs. If that is not bad enough, it also represents a regulatory compliance time bomb that could explode at any time with serious consequences.
Unstructured data is best defined by looking at its opposite: Structured data that is stored in a repository like a database with rules governing data types, values and even where the data should be stored. Unstructured data, on the other hand, is everything else: The mass of spreadsheets, documents, presentations, images and other files that employees generate every day, store on corporate file servers and SharePoint servers, and share with people both within and outside the organization. Often, this data is simply ignored or forgotten about when it is no longer needed. Thus, it may continue to be stored indefinitely. As a result, most organizations have a great deal of unstructured data: Roughly 80 percent of all corporate data is unstructured, according to Gartner.
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