Your business requires specific data to keep operations moving on a daily basis. However, for all of the data that you use, there’s information that you have stored away that never sees the light of day. This “dark data,” could be putting your business at risk, especially if auditing your current data storage usage isn’t a top priority. If you don’t keep track of your dark data, you could be facing much larger problems than unnecessary storage costs.
Defining Dark Data
Dark data is known as the data that a business stores, but doesn’t have any practical use for. As you might expect, dark data accrues naturally over time. It’s a normal part of doing business. Certain information loses its value, and despite this, it still gets stored away because it might present some value somewhere down the road. This data might be stored in hopes of it having a future use, but it’s likely that businesses aren’t handling it with the same caution required of your mission-critical data.
For example, consider the personal data of a former employee and how you would store this information. You might be required to store these records for a certain amount of time. By the time you need to get rid of this data, chances are you’ll forget it even exists. After all, what’s it really costing you to keep this data lying around?
This stance on dark data can be harmful and dangerous to your business. What if the data were to be stolen from your system, or mishandled and exposed to external threats? If you’re not protecting your business’s assets, you will be held responsible should anything unfortunate befall this data.
Why It’s a Problem
Even if it seems counterproductive to store so much data, you’d be surprised by how many organizations will keep dark data sitting around for far longer than it needs to be. You’re still paying to store this data, and you’re still responsible for ensuring its continued safety. This is why you should consider dark data a problem; either you’ve taken precautions, or you haven’t. Chances are that you’ll need to revisit how you approach dark data.
How to Approach Dark Data
If your business isn’t handling dark data properly, here are some possible solutions that can alleviate the common issues associated with it:
Implement proper security measures
You always want to protect the data you store, even if it’s information that you rarely access (like dark data). This includes data that is stored on your in-house network and data which is stored off-site or in the cloud. Another way you can optimize security is by limiting who has access to your dark data, which can limit its exposure to potentially threatening situations.
Create data retention policies
The reason that dark data is a problem is that businesses don’t have measures put into place to help them keep track of what they’re storing. By implementing a proper data retention policy, you can better understand the information you’re storing, and why. These policies should be designed to help your business save on storage costs and to eliminate possible security risks.
Brandon Global IT understands the problems that you might face when attempting to protect and store sensitive information. If you’re having trouble protecting and accessing dark data for any particular reason, our trusted technicians can help you keep your data away from prying eyes. Even if this information isn’t something you use every day, it should still be protected to the best of your ability.