Stephen E. Arnold: The Risks of Data Fragmentation

Data
Stephen E. Arnold
Stephen E. Arnold

The Risks of Data Fragmentation

Our big-data age has grown a new challenge—”data fragmentation.” ITProPortal examines the growing problem in, “Shadow IT: The Struggle to Protect Corporate Information in the Face of Growing Data Fragmentation.” The extensive interview with Mimecast’s chief strategy officer, Matthew Ravden, examines the issue, from defining the problem to offering advice on how to deal with it. (Note that Mimecast offers services to combat fragmentation.)

The more fragmented (or widely dispersed) a company’s data is, the harder it is to control who can access it. The problem lies largely in the cloud, but also with information distributed across a company’s network. Complicating the issue are workers who skirt their IT department and its fussy rules, storing data however and wherever, they see fit. Revden explains:

“Ultimately, the employee is at the heart of this issue; using multiple applications and devices, often without the IT manager’s knowledge. You can understand why they do it; they want to be able to use the same applications and embrace the same ‘sharing’ culture at work that they do in their personal lives. They also sometimes feel forced to use consumer-grade tools because of the restrictions placed on them by IT, including the size of files that can be sent via the corporate email system. Of course, most employees are not conscious of the risk – they just want to use a fast and easy service which will help them get their job done. As well as identifying the potential third-party services used, IT managers need to educate users on the risks involved, in order to ensure corporate policies are respected.”

The interview discusses the business and security risks of fragmentation, the roles cloud services and email play, and steps businesses can take to fight the problem (including educating workers to the importance of the issue). It even touches on the responsibility of cloud vendors. The piece does conclude with a plug for Mimecast, but that should not deter one from reading the article. Check it out for more information on this uniquely modern issue.

Cynthia Murrell, September 20, 2013

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