What Does 'Data in Use' Mean?

What is Data in Use?
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Data in use refers to data that is actively being accessed and processed by a computer or device for a specific purpose. It is data that is actively being employed in some way, whether it is being analyzed, transformed, or used to make a decision.

There are several different types of data in use, including structured data and unstructured data.

Structured data is data that is organized in a predetermined format, such as a spreadsheet or database. This type of data is easy to process and examine because it is already organized in a logical way.

Unstructured data, on the other hand, is data that does not have a predetermined format. It can come in many different forms, among them text documents, audio files, or images. Unstructured data is often more difficult to process and evaluate because it does not have a set structure.

Data in use can also be classified based on where it is being used. For example, data that is being used on a local computer or device is known as “local data in use.” Data that is being accessed and processed over a network, such as the internet, is known as “remote data in use.”

Security is a crucial aspect to consider when it comes to data that is actively accessed and utilized. When data is being accessed and processed, it is necessary to ensure that it is protected from unauthorized access or modification. This can be achieved through the use of various security measures, like encryption, authentication, and access controls.

There are numerous applications for the data currently in use. One common use is for data analysis and reporting. In this case, data is collected, organized, and analyzed in order to gain insights and make informed decisions. Data analysis and reporting can be used in a variety of different contexts, for example, in business, research, and government.

Another use of “data in use” is for decision-making. In this case, data is used to inform and support the decision-making process. This can involve the use of data analytics tools to help identify trends and patterns, as well as the use of machine learning algorithms to make predictions or recommendations.

The “data in use” can also be used for real-time processing and control. In this case, data is used to control and monitor systems or processes in real-time. For example, data from sensors or other monitoring devices can be used to control the operation of manufacturing equipment or the functioning of a power grid.

There are a number of different technologies and tools that are used to manage and process “data in use.” These can include database management systems, data analytics software, and machine learning algorithms. These tools can be used to store, organize, and inspect data in order to gain insights and support decision-making.

One key consideration when it comes to data in use is data governance. Data governance refers to the policies, procedures, and controls that are put in place to ensure the proper management, use, and protection of data. This can include establishing rules for data access and use as well as implementing security measures to protect data from unauthorized access or modification.

More information

The Confidential Computing Consortium recommends a hardware-based approach to cybersecurity as a way to protect data in use. This approach involves using hardware-based security measures to keep data encrypted while it is being processed in memory.

One advantage of this approach is that it allows data to remain encrypted throughout the entire processing cycle, from the point of input to the point of output. This can help make sure that data is always safe from unauthorized changes or access, even when it is being used.

There are several different hardware-based security measures that can be used to protect data in use. These can include hardware security modules (HSMs), trusted platform modules (TPMs), and secure enclaves. These technologies can be used to securely process and store data in memory while keeping it encrypted at all times.

It is worth noting that while a hardware-based approach can provide a high level of security, it is not foolproof. It is still fundamental to implement other security measures, namely access controls and authentication, to help protect data in use.


To sum it up, “data in use” is data that is currently being utilized by a computer or device for a particular goal. It can come in the form of structured or unstructured data and be used for a lot of different purposes, including data analysis and reporting, decision-making, and real-time processing and control.

Ensuring the proper governance and security of data in use is essential in order to protect sensitive information and ensure that it is used responsibly.