What Is Data Collection?

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What Is Data Collection?

Short Definition

Data collection is a broad term that applies to various fields. In general, data collection refers to the process of gathering and measuring information on specific variables in an established system, making it possible to evaluate outcomes.

Extended Definition

In business, one of the most important aspects of data collection refers to personal information. The methods that can be used to collect data are defined by the type of application, and can be both manual and automatic (where specific technology is applied).

Some of the most common data collection methods include computerized data collection functions directly embedded into software applications, websites, and mobile apps; sensors that gather operational data from industrial equipment; data collection performed by service providers; social media tracking; online surveys and questionnaires; surveys performed via email, over the phone, or in person, etc.


In the field of information technologies, data collection is directly tied to personal information, which can be both sensitive and non-sensitive, personally identifiable and non-personal (anonymous).

There are specific malware families designed to steal (collect) personal and financial information from victims, including banking (financial), details related to online accounts, etc. That being said, it is safe to say that, depending on the circumstances, data collection can be either malicious or benign.

For more definitions, check out our Cyber Dictionary.

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