Data / Security

ActiveNav Takes on ‘Dark Data’ with New Data Mapping Service

23 Sep 2021 8:35am, by and

ActiveNav, a vendor focused on data privacy and governance, has released its new Inventory suite, delivering what it calls “Data Mapping as a Service” or, more simply, DMaaS. While “data mapping” may sound like it’s all about data lineage tracking, ActiveNav’s suite goes well beyond that, addressing facets of data quality, data discovery, data classification, data catalog and redundant data detection, as well.

Timely Transformation

Given the regulatory landscape around data, the shift to work-from-home, and the proliferation of user data generated by it, as well as recent high-profile data breaches, ActiveNav seems to have seized on market timing and audience very well.

Data protection, data privacy, and gaining control over sensitive data is on many enterprise organizations’ radar and taking a straightforward cloud service-based approach to it, will likely embolden organizations in their initiatives to discover and manage their data, sensitive or otherwise.

Shot in the Dark (Data)

The New Stack spoke with Dean Gonsowski, ActiveNav’s Chief Revenue Officer, who provided some insight into the context that propelled the development and the rise of ActiveNav’s suite.

Gonsowski mentioned that the company’s background in helping organizations “find, categorize, classify, and remediate” huge amounts of data provided the origins for its current mission of helping organizations achieve zero “dark data.” This term refers to data that may be burrowed into applications or unstructured content, and which often escapes discovery, inventory and, as a result, escapes analysis and protection as well.

Gonsowski says that “shining the light” on such dark data “is the first step and mapping it and then visualizing it are the next steps. So we’re… creating this new service… We’re fundamentally building an inventory, and once you have an inventory — a good one, and a persistent and an always-on one, you can then aggregate and amplify that into a map.”

In the course of its research, ActiveNav confirmed that discovering sensitive data was a high priority for many organizations and was rising in importance due to additional regulations constantly being passed, but that these organizations struggled with finding appropriate tools and methodologies to help them do so.

Beyond Rows and Columns

There are plenty of data governance solutions already in the market, and many of those focus on structured, tabular data, be it in relational databases, or data lakes. But ActiveNav’s Inventory suite also scans user-generated content, including document files, email, and even Microsoft SharePoint and Teams.

These are prime sources of dark data, and potential vulnerability points in terms of finding sensitive data and protecting it. ActiveNav Inventory can assess customers’ compliance risk profile using prebuilt rules to highlight what the company calls “toxicity hotspots” in their data landscape. ActiveNav says it applies AI to ensure data maps stay current.

Nick of Time?

Data governance and data management have been essential for decades, yet it’s taken the imposition of regulatory frameworks like GDPR and CCPA/CPRA to make the mainstream tech market take notice of data governance. Regulation is sometimes technology’s best friend.

Applying the discipline and technology of data mapping to data that is lurking in unstructured content should help organizations with both the “defensive” and “offensive” sides of managing and governing that data. And with so much of that content living in the cloud, a cloud service to map the data within it is logical, smart and a good differentiator.

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