data state [English]

Syndetic Relationships

InterPARES Definition

n. ~ The condition of data within a system relative to storage, operation, or transmission.

General Notes

When in storage, data is described as data at rest, when in operation as data in use, and when in transmission across a network as data in motion.


  • Cohen 2008 (†652 p.227): Today, with mobile computing, data is often at rest in a disk and in motion because the disk is in a personal data assistant or laptop computer. Or it may be in motion because the laptop is on an airplane and in use because the user is using it. (†1486)
  • Cohen 2008 (†652 p.227, 235, 239): Data at rest is, in essence, data stored at a physical location in a physical device, typically a disk, CD-ROM, USB storage device, etc. In most cases, computers with high valued information in large quantity remain in one physical location. This means that the physical security measures associated with that location act as a significant part of the protection afforded to that data. ¶ Data in motion may operate through physically secured wiring and infrastructure. If the physical security is adequate to the need, no additional measures are required. However, the vast majority of information in motion today travels over long distances through insecure infrastructure. In these cases additional protection is required as the consequences increase. Protection of data in use is problematic because it must be in a form that is useful for processing. There are some cases, like comparison to specific known values in password verification, where data can be left encrypted and have utility. But the vast majority of uses require that the data be readable. ¶ Data in use is rarely protected against modification beyond process separation mechanisms, because this is not supported by current processors. (†1487)
  • Gartner IT Glossary (†298 s.v. data loss protection): Data loss protection (DLP) describes a set of technologies and inspection techniques used to classify information content contained within an object – such as a file, email, packet, application or data store – while at rest (in storage), in use (during an operation) or in transit (across a network). (†1453)
  • Yeluri and Castro-Leon 2014 (†659 data state): Cloud services raise access and protection issues for user data and applications, including source code. Who has access, and what is left behind when an organization scales down a service? How is corporate confidential data protected from the virtual infrastructure administrators and cloud co-tenants? Encryption of data, at rest, in transit, and eventually in use, becomes a basic requirement, yet it comes with a performance cost (penalty). (†1505)