What is data discovery?
Data discovery is the process of locating specific subsets of data from unstructured and structured data sources. It is essential to pinpoint what data lies in business repositories and where. Data discovery goes hand-in-hand with data classification, which is the process of sorting different types of data based on its sensitivity and vulnerability. Sensitive data discovery and classification are distinct processes in their own right, essential for locating and securing business-critical data.
Sensitive data discovery
Sensitive data such as personally identifiable information (PII), payment card information (PCI), and electronic protected health information (ePHI) is always vulnerable to security risks. When sensitive personal data is breached, the consequences can be destructive to businesses. This is why it's important to know where personal data is stored. A data discovery and classification tool helps in finding out instances of sensitive data, ownership of the data, and the various data regulations being violated by storing this data in unsecure locations.
Benefits of data discovery
Data discovery is an essential data security process that every business must implement. Some of the advantages of data discovery for organizations include:
- Locating every instance of sensitive data present in an organization's data store.
- Facilitating data classification, i.e., categorizing files based on their vulnerability such as, private, confidential, or restricted files.
- Assisting in complying to data regulations like the GDPR, HIPAA, SOX and more.
- Tracking sensitive data that may be exposed or on the verge of a breach due to inadequate security.
- Assisting in fulfilling data access requests made.
- Establishing the basis to develop comprehensive data governance policies.