What Is Data-at-Rest?

Data-at-rest, or data at rest, is a term that refers to digital data sets that reside in a long-term storage medium like databases or file systems. The “rest” part of the term means that the data sets are not currently being moved over a network from one location to another. The key significance of this term is to differentiate this type of data set from “data-in-motion,” which is data that is being transmitted over a network from one location to another. Since most data sets today are data-at-rest, the term is typically unnecessary as a standalone term and is generally only used to call out a difference from data-in-motion.

Examples of Data-at-Rest

Almost all data used in enterprises today are considered data-at-rest, though there is a trend towards more use of data in motion. Some examples of data-at-rest include:

  • Customer contact information
  • Sales orders
  • Call tracking data
  • Revenue figures
  • Expense figures
  • Historical clickstream data

These types of data generally reside in technologies that are designed for long-term storage. Examples of such technologies include:

  • Databases
  • Data warehouses
  • Data lakes
  • File systems
  • Cloud object storage
  • Desktop tools (e.g., spreadsheets)

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