What exactly is ‘living data’?

For years, massive data collection efforts and analytics have been the order of business for many organisations, both inside and outside the IT sphere. This has led to a ‘big data’ trend, whereby everything possible is collected and – ideally – analysed. Recently, however, the buzzword has shifted from ‘big data’ to ‘living data’.

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What is living data, how does it differ from big data, and what does this mean for IT security?

Living data v big data

Big data is all about collecting every piece of information you can and hoping to make something out of it. The problem many companies ended up running into was simply having too much data, without having a solid plan in place to perform analytics to make it valuable.

Living data changes the approach to data collection, focusing on collecting a smaller set of usable information to create a constantly updating – or living – data set tailored to whatever the business needs to make the right decisions. Living data focuses on using analytics and neural networks to create useful and usable data sets, rather than simply collecting everything and not knowing what to do with it.

Living data and information security

Living data, and even big data, has massive implications for companies in securing their own data. Data breaches are always bad news; however, with the EU’s GDPR directive rolling out in 2018, mishandling data deemed ‘sensitive’, such as a user’s geographic location or even IP address, can lead to fines of up to four per cent of revenue or €20m £17.7m), putting even more value on endpoint security management services. If your company has not already done so, a substantial security review, including investing in Endpoint Security Management, is recommended before the GDPR comes into force.

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Living data is also functionally like the heuristic analysis performed by most, if not all, antivirus and similar firms – gathering the specific relevant data and creating useful and usable datasets out of it to perform a specific function.

More than just being like heuristics, living data has the potential to make IT security professionals’ jobs much easier. Neural networks can potentially draw from curated data pools to recognise and identify attacks in progress, substantially cutting down response time and potential loss.

No matter what your industry, living data has the potential to change your business.