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Data in use refers to data that is not simply being passively stored in a stable destination, such as a central data warehouse, but is working its way through other parts of an IT architecture. Data in use may be in the process of being generated, amended or updated, erased, or viewed through various interface endpoints. This is a helpful term for pursuing comprehensive security for IT systems.
The idea behind protecting data in use is that data sets are vulnerable to different kinds of threats depending on where they are in an IT system. One of the most common and basic issues with data in use revolves around endpoints. Endpoints are points where data from a system gets routed to an individual device or workstation by or for an end user.
Obviously, advanced IT systems and networks need to anticipate a variety of different endpoints. Many of the issues around endpoint security or data-in-use security relate to the trend toward BYOD, where employees may be using personal devices to view corporate data. Even for mobile devices or other hardware systems that may be company-owned, companies have to look at how end users can view or capture data from secure locations.
Although professionals sometimes recommend techniques like full disk encryption or a comprehensive data leak prevention plan, others question whether total data-in-use security is ever really possible. This is partly because of the inherent setup of most operating systems, but another big issue is that even in the most secure systems, data has to be sent to endpoint displays in order to be useful. With that in mind, there is no single way to guarantee complete data safety, which is why companies tend to focus on ironclad agreements with employees and other end users rather than relying only on data-in-use protection systems.