What are data?

Data are digital mediawhich can be read, edited and stored by a computer or other electronic device. They are available in different formats whose Coding of a specific syntax follows.

In computer science, data is almost exclusively represented in binary form. The term bit is a unit of measurement for the amount of data. Examples of digital formats include text, images, numbers and audio and video files. Exactly what information data represents must be inferred from the respective context. For example, the sequence of digits 12345678 a telephone number or credit card number. It only acquires its concrete meaning through the processing of programmes or algorithms.

What types of data exist?

Structured data

Structured data are arranged in a certain way so that they have a similar shape have. Examples are records, fields or lists. Structured data is found in particular in relational Databases Application. Information is sorted and formatted before being stored in corresponding fields. It can then be queried and edited via a database language such as SQL.

Semi-structured data

In contrast to structured data, semi-structured data has the following features No fixed scheme. They are hierarchically structured and can be extended by nested information. In addition, the order of the attributes is unimportant for semi-structured data. An entity of a class can have several attributes at the same time.

Unstructured data

Unstructured lie in no standardised format before. A structure must first be obtained from them before they can be stored in a database. Examples of unstructured data are images, texts, video and audio recordings. They often contain a lot of relevant information, which is especially important in the area of Big Data are of importance.

What is data management?

Data management refers to all technical and organisational Data management measuresin order to use them efficiently and improve business processes. Companies should therefore have a comprehensive data strategy that defines the goals of data management. The essential methods of data management include:

For the data management of companies, it is above all Consolidation play an important role. Consolidation uses aggregation to bring together data from different systems or departments into a single source. A central view is created and redundancies are reduced. For optimal consolidation, a suitable data architecture and high data quality are necessary.

How can data be stored?

Electronic data storage

Electronic data memories consist of semiconductor components whose circuits are almost exclusively based on silicon. They are divided into fugitive (e.g. RAM), permanent (e.g. SSDs) and semi-permanent memories (e.g. memory cards, USB sticks).

Magnetic data storage

Magnetisable material such as tapes or disks is used for this type of storage. A distinction is made between rotating and non-rotating storage media. With rotating disks, data is read or overwritten with the help of a read-write head. Non-rotating storage media such as magnetic tapes or cards are pulled past a fixed head.

Optical data storage

A laser beam is used to read and write data on optical data carriers. The reflective properties of the medium are used for storage. Examples of optical data storage media are CDs or DVDs.

Cloud-based storage


3. Cloud computing data is stored and managed externally via the internet. The files can thus be accessed from any location. In addition, cloud storage is highly scalable.


Edge computing is a form of decentralised data processing that takes place close to the data source or the user. This allows data to be processed faster and more securely.


Fog Computing is a cloud concept in which data can be managed decentrally in local mini-data centres. Fog nodes are switching nodes that decide whether data must be forwarded to central or decentralised end points. This reduces the communication path and saves computing power.

What is personal data?

Personal data is information that Assigned to an identifiable person can be obtained. This includes, for example, name, address, date of birth, telephone number, email address, national insurance number or IP address.

Likewise, personal data can also identify categories of data, such as medical data, political or religious beliefs. The term has been legally defined since the entry into force of the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) on 25 May 2018.
Companies must comply with legal regulations when processing personal data. This includes technical and organisational measures to minimise, protect and be transparent about the collection, processing and disclosure of personal data.