There have been many buzzwords in recent years around Big Data and statements proclaiming ‘information as the new oil.’ But what underscores all of this is that many organisations now see information as a double-edged sword; it can be both their greatest asset when understood properly, but also potentially their biggest liability.
When information is managed inefficiently, this can pave the way to compliance headaches, legal challenges and data security issues that go all the way up to C-suite and board level.
As for the financial value of information, we know of cases where organisations have tapped into their corporate archives and monetised access to notes, images and news feeds, which can be in demand by researchers and historians alike.
But the price of a data breach, when information is managed poorly, can result in fines and exponential reputational damage.
As firewalls have become increasingly secure, unstructured data – that is, sensitive information contained within emails, files, PDFs or documents – is now being used as a route into an organisation’s digital network by hackers.
We have seen cases in recent years with the likes of Colin Powell, a member of Salesforce’s board, getting hacked through his personal email account and, as a result, sensitive corporate information leaking out.
With 80% of all data unstructured, most businesses don’t even know what they have, let alone how to manage it.