10-years’ ago, unless you were specifically asked about data, it wasn’t touched. We didn’t have strict legislation dictating what we did with our data, we owned our data centres and so weren’t burning costs storing it, and analytics wasn’t really a thing, so data didn’t matter too much. But now we’re in 2021, where everything in our world is digital and connected.
Every business has unknown data that’s been accumulated over several years. But you can’t ignore it anymore. From a compliance perspective alone, the regulator won’t look favourably upon you if you simply ‘lift and shift’ that mass of unknown data from your on-premise servers up to the cloud. In their eyes, you’ve made a deliberate decision to move that data, which means you must have a reason to retain it, and implemented appropriate controls to secure it.
The Enterprise Data Manager commented,
“We all make lots of assumptions about the volume of data we hold and the sensitive material contained within it, but it’s just that, an assumption. There’s nothing to underpin those assumptions, which is something we’re now looking into.”
So where should you start?
While our panel all had confidence in their structured data sets, it was the unstructured data and organically grown architectures that caused them the most concern. As the Lead Architect explained:
“Our biggest struggle is understanding the unknown apps within the business. We don’t know what a lot of them are doing. And because they’re unknown we can’t see how they all link together – you could pull on one thread and suddenly find yourself needing to move another bit, and then another. And then there’s the terrabytes of data sitting behind those unknown apps – we need a holistic view so can make an informed strategy about what to do with it.”
Our IT Project Manager empathised:
“Our problem is the file shares, which we know contain lots of unstructured data. If we pick it all up and just move it to the cloud, we know those same problems with information security would be waiting for us after the migration.”
But our Enterprise Data Manager has discovered a strategic way to tackle to data deluge:
“Interestingly we’ve not extracted our significant and sensitive data yet. Right now, it’s only the stuff we need to do the bulk of the processing that has been migrated to the cloud. Over time, we know this will grow, but only as that environment gets hardened and we have the opportunity sift through the rest of the legacy data.”