METADATA  What are they? + Advantages of Managing them ▷ 2020

With the wide development of technology and the computing world, at present, a large amount of information and resources hosted on the Internet is handled. Reason why, it has become truly necessary to establish a mechanism that allows to label, describe and classify the resources present in the network.

That is why, with the aim of simplify the search and retrieval of information that way, it has been chosen to handle a mechanism made up of the famous “Metadata”. Which, in the current context of Big data, Internet of things and cloud computing, have acquired an unparalleled relevance in the face of the amounts of information that are growing exponentially.

Thus, in order to obtain greater operational efficiency, make optimal decisions to gain competitive advantages and support cybersecurity parameters, this term is worth handling correctly. Consequently, below, we let you know what is metadata about, what are its characteristics and its pros.

What is metadata and what is it used for in the field of cybersecurity?

In computing, also known as “Data on data”, the metadata can be defined as those additional data stored in a file, basically. Which, in general, is data that describes other data and thus represents the content of the files or the information in them. That is why the etymology of this term also leaves its meaning on the table. As, “Meta” comes from the Greek “after” and “data” consists of the Latin plural “datum” which means “beyond the data”.

In this way, it refers to those data that describe other data from a computerized approach. Thus, they are mechanisms that serve to provide information about the data produced and, consequently, they are classified as information that characterizes data and relate its content, condition, quality, availability and history, along with other characteristics of interest. Therefore, they are essential for a person to understand the data.

Therefore, the metadata has as its main feature that they are multifunctional, but with the great need for greater security on the Internet, these mechanisms also are characterized by being the best cybersecurity allies. Since, its continuous collection allows discover, process and analyze threats that may affect corporate environments, in order to prevent them before it is too late and guarantee effective protection.

Characteristics of the metadata How can they be identified?

Mainly, metadata is characterized by being a highly structured data set who are in charge of detailing the particularities of the data based on its content, information, quality and other attributes. In addition, these present differentiations that will depend on the rules included in the applications to establish the internal structure of the data schemas. But, beyond that, the metadata reveal other very important characteristics that facilitate their identification.

That is why, below, we mention and explain each of these qualities of great interest:

Metadata classification

Metadata classification

In general terms, metadata is defined as a tool that provides the help required to master a remarkable amount of information, thanks to allows you to organize it to facilitate work and accelerate user productivity.

But, beyond that, these mechanisms can be defined in other ways, depending on their classification:

For its content

It is cataloged as the most usual classification of all And, in this case, the metadata is divided based on your information. Therefore, a distinction is made between those data that detail the resource itself and, on the other hand, are the metadata that describe the content of that resource. Added to that, these two groups can be subdivided into other subgroups that only depend on the precision with which the user wishes to classify the data to fulfill their mission.

Because of its variability

Another of the most interesting classifications of this type of data is based on its variability and contains two specific groups. The first of them refers to metadata that is immutable and does not changeregardless of the part of the resource that is visible. On the other hand, they are metadata of type mutable which are defined as those that differ from part to part and are different from the others. Taking into account that, none of these groups contain other subgroups.

By its function

Depending on its function, three types of “data on data” are known, which are logical, symbolic and subsymbolic.

Here we explain what each of them consist of:

  • Logical: In the case of logical metadata, it is characterized by compression and is data that explains how symbolic data can be used to make deductions from logical results.
  • Symbolic: They are all those that add meaning and take care of detailing the subsymbolic data.
  • Subsymbolic: The latter simply do not contain any information about their meaning.

For its purpose / role

Additionally, another classification is known that, although it is the least managed, it is also important to consider it. This section the metadata depending on its purpose and contains the following types: Of use, of conservation, administrative, descriptive and technical.

Metadata storage

Metadata storage

Among other important characteristics, it is essential to specify how the metadata is stored or, How these tools can be stored in order to keep them properly and in an organized way.

So in this case, there are two ways to store metadata safely, which are:

  • In internal deposit: Consists of recording the “Data on data” internally in the same file corresponding to the data. Initially, this storage mode was used with the aim of simplify favorable information management.
  • In external deposit: It is about depositing them externally in the same resource and, today, this is the best storage choice that can be made. Since, in such a way, metadata will be grouped to improve search actions.

Metadata life cycle

Metadata life cycle

While it is true, the metadata has a structured one based on the functions they perform, basically. Therefore, they have a life cycle that is responsible for detail each of the stages through which it passes while performing certain tasks during each phase.

Next, we specify what these stages are and what they are based on:


Of course, it is the first phase of metadata and just as the name implies, refers to when the creation of the “data on data” starts.

Which can be developed in three possible ways and they are:

  • Manually: It is the most used way to create metadata and it depends on the format used and the volume that is being searched during this process. Thus, it is distinguished that, it can become a truly complicated procedure.
  • Automatically: Without any outside help, the software takes care of receiving all the necessary information on its own. However, it is not feasible for the computer to acquire each and every one of the metadata automatically and, therefore, it is emphasized that it is not the most appropriate way.
  • Semi-automatically: Through this system, it is chosen to establish a series of autonomous algorithms that the user in question supports and with it, does not allow the software to extract all the required data by itselfIn other words, you need outside help. Consequently, it is the ideal way to create metadata.


Next, we find the second phase of the metadata in which certain changes are made in certain aspects. Which means that, throughout this stage of the cycle, the data in question will change automatically. However, on some occasions, human assistance is required to complete this task.


Finally, the destruction phase of the created metadata is distinguished. For which, some studies are required, despite the fact that sometimes said data is deleted at the same time as its resources, that is, jointly. In addition, there are other situations in which metadata created for different reasons should be preserved and, consequently, it is not necessary to comply with this stage of the cycle. A clear example of this is when modifications to a document have to be controlled or monitored.

What are the benefits of using metadata? Why manage them

What are the benefits of using metadata?  Why manage them

Thanks to the fact that they are multifunctional tools, metadata provide numerous benefits, as they guarantee different utilities when optimizing the management of the “Data on data”.

However, specifically, some of the most advantageous features of excellent metadata management to improve organizational processes are:

  • They facilitate searches and analysis: Without a doubt, the metadata cooperates remarkably in favor of all those search and data location techniques. In addition, once they have been obtained, they facilitate the analysis of the course of the data from the source, thanks to its transformation, observation and reporting functions.
  • They simplify standardization: Due to the elimination of errors, weaknesses or breakdowns, the metadata offer better standardization and thus optimize data quality throughout its life cycle. Therefore, by managing these, it is possible to obtain a more complete vision, from beginning to end, of each stage of the cycle.
  • They help integration: Another of the most substantial benefits is that, once metadata is used jointly between business users and IT, greater integration will be obtained. Therefore, they also add value to optimize data management globally.
  • They allow you to manage changes: From the management of the metadata, an improved vision of the same is achieved, as well as, the necessary control for the integration of these business content. Whereas, the permutations will be visualized through the automation of the impact studies that will allow to act in time to solve the problems that arise.
  • They provide much more security: Just as the changes will occur, they will have to protect critical business data to ensure regulatory compliance, strictly. This, due to the optimal management of “Data on data”.
  • They manage to improve the reports: If the metadata is properly managed, it will be possible to obtain better reports and with this, these will be delivered safely. This is due to the ease of intervention that allows processes to be of higher quality.
  • They develop fully agile: It is possible to find a increase the production of creators and minimize the supply period of connectivity, if the metadata can be accessed intelligently. Consequently, they will reduce the costs of the modifications that are generated.
  • They guarantee better data governance: As metadata supports standardized environments, good governance of such data emerges and this allows the program to be successful, at the same time.

If you have any questions, leave them in the comments, we will answer you as soon as possible, and it will also be of great help to more members of the community. Thank you! 😉

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