What Is the Purpose of Data Discovery?


When you are running an enterprise level business, you have a huge amount of data coming in all day, everyday. Some of it is relatively easy to manage and store in databases, but the bulk of it takes the form of things like word documents, invoices, spreadsheets, powerpoints — things that are important but don’t automatically come filed neatly. For most businesses, this type of unstructured data just sits in its various formats in different places and isn’t classified or protected the way it should be. 

This can cause big problems. Not only is the data unable to be easily found or used to help make informed business decisions, but it also puts your business at risk of security breaches and non-compliance with data protection regulations. This is where sensitive data discovery comes in. There are many options for sensitive data discovery tools, like DryvIQ, that make dealing with unstructured data easier. 

What Is Data Discovery and Classification?

Data discovery is the set of steps used to locate, understand, and organize both structured and unstructured data. Structured data has a formal structure, can be easily categorized and searched, and is often created by systems. It includes things like customer contact information that is stored during checkout, or staff banking details for payroll. In general, data discovery for structured data is fairly straightforward because of the nature of the data itself, and often companies already have good systems in place for this data discovery.

Unstructured data is where many companies struggle. Unstructured data can be thought of as any raw information that isn’t contained in a database. It is usually generated by people, rather than systems and it is often hard to categorize and classify automatically. It is those word documents, emails, and invoices we talked about earlier. In other words, files that matter to your business, but aren’t already rigidly structured in a database.

Another way to think about data discovery techniques is that they take the mountain of documents generated in everyday business operations and label them. This shows what’s inside each one and categorizes them so they are easy to find when needed. A useful analogy for data discovery is that of a moving company. Data discovery comes into a fully furnished home full of business information and packs it into distinct, labeled boxes that are ready for the next step in the move. 

Why Do We Need Data Discovery?

Data discovery is so important because without it your company is:

  • Wasting time and resources trying to find needed information that isn’t easily searchable
  • Missing out on the decision making power of this unstructured data 
  • Risking data security breaches
  • Potentially violating data protection regulations

Data discovery methods are designed to prevent these problems. Making sure all the data coming into a company is accurately labeled, correctly categorized, and stored securely means a business can operate without risk of running afoul of regulatory bodies.

At DryvIQ, we take protecting your customer’s sensitive data very seriously. We have a policy team that is continuously monitoring changing regulations from organizations governing data privacy. Our team upgrades pre-trained AI models to make sure your data stays compliant as privacy regulations change.

What Are the Benefits of Data Discovery?

When your company has a comprehensive data discovery system in place, like DryvIQ, there will be immediate benefits like being able to:

  • Find data quickly and easily
  • Ensure it is only accessible to authorized users
  • Discover business insights from the analysis of well organized data
  • Create actionable business plans based on data driven metrics
  • Build better systems for identifying and classifying sensitive data as it comes in
  • Reduce data security risks
  • Increase compliance with regulatory agencies like General Data Protection Regulation in the EU and Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act in the USA
  • Migrate data efficiently at a large scale

With DryvIQ’s unstructured data discovery steps, it’s straightforward to set up scalable protocols to make data discovery an automatic part of day to day workings. This means that realizing all these benefits can be just a click away.

What Are Data Discovery Tools?

Data discovery and classification tools are the mechanisms for doing the actual classification. DryvIQ, as a machine learning platform, provides you with pre-trained A.I. models as your data discovery tools. Our service acts as a versatile and incredibly scalable platform that requires no manual review, meaning your team won’t need to spend countless hours sifting through incoming data. These include hundreds of already built classifiers for personal identifying information, specific government and regulatory agency forms, images, and more. We also make it easy for you to configure and customize your own purpose-built classifiers for documents unique to your business.

These tools significantly reduce the amount of time it takes to report to compliance organizations and assess internal and external data access. They also allow you to create integrated, detailed inventory catalogs of all your data. Request a demo today, or contact us for more information about your unstructured data management needs.

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