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3 Examples of Data In Use

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Data in use is data that is stored in memory or that is actively being processed by computing equipment. It is one of the three data states, a concept that is used for information security to identify places where data should be encrypted. Data in use is particularly difficult to encrypt because it is actively being processed such that its encryption may impact performance. Nevertheless, it is possible to encrypt data in use as this can be supported at the hardware level. The following are illustrative examples of data in use.


Data stored in memory by a system, application or database. For example, a user views their transaction history on a banking website and this information is stored by their web browser in memory.


Data that is processed by computing equipment, particularly CPUs. For example, a user submits a transaction to a bank and the bank processes the customer's account number as part of a transaction authentication algorithm.

User Input

Data is captured by an input device such as a keyboard, transfered to memory and processed by a CPU. In theory, data could be intercepted by a malicious entity at any stage in this process.
Overview: Data In Use
Data that is stored in memory or that is actively being processed by computing equipment.
Related Concepts

Information Security

This is the complete list of articles we have written about information security.
Audit Trail
Canary Trap
Confidential Information
Critical Infrastructure
Cryptographic Keys
Cryptographic Salt
Cybersecurity Risk
Data Breach
Data Remanence
Data Room
Data Security
Deep Magic
Defense In Depth
Digital Identity
Failure Of Imagination
Incident Response
IoT Security
Key Stretching
Network Security
Operations Security
Overlay Network
Password Entropy
Password Fatigue
Proof Of Work
Secure Code Review
Security As A Service
Security Controls
More ...
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