Businesses believe that retaining all their data will help mitigate potential risks, but the opposite is true. The more unaccounted-for data a company has, the higher the risk of falling victim to a cyberattack. When you are in the dark about your data, you don’t know what has gone missing.
Redundant, obsolete, and trivial data, otherwise known as ROT data and dark data, monopolize space on your company’s servers. According to Mike Gualieri, VP and principal analyst of Forrester, “the unfortunate truth has been that the potential of most data lies dormant. Between 60% and 73% of all data within an enterprise goes unused for analytics.”
Many are unaware that not having a purpose for your data could be costing your company millions. More often than not, companies do not have the time or resources to sift through their data, which leads them to forget what they have.
It is time to stop wasting money and shed light on ROT. Beware of dark data’s dramatic impact on your company.
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Defining ROT and Dark Data
When dealing with data constantly, our natural response is to hoard data because we aren’t sure what we are supposed to do with it, which often leads to the creation of ROT and dark data.
- Redundancies are one of the core issues of our growing data problem; we have fallen into the habit of saving multiple copies of the same set of data. Redundancies usually happen when there is a lack of integration between departments, creating data silos that get lost.
- Outdated data has lost purpose and is no longer accurate because of the passing of time. Some examples of this are holding onto data files from former clients and holding onto survey questions/answers that no longer apply, leading to data becoming trivial.
- Trivial data is purposeless data and takes up valuable space on our servers and slows down processing. This type of data typically is accumulated from the day-to-day tasks and tends to linger in folders or working files, even after an employee leaves. Unlike the kinds of data mentioned above, dark data can be of value to your company.
- Data is considered “dark” when you do not have a strategic purpose for it. Seeing the importance of deleting ROT while utilizing dark data to serve a purpose helps bring value to your company.
Hidden Costs of ROT and Dark Data
One of the other challenges companies face regarding ROT and dark data is data storage. While the cloud might seem like a cost-effective solution, since you are paying very little per gigabyte, redundancies and outdated data quickly drive up monthly storage fees. Companies buy disk after disk to support data growth, but come five years from now, you run out of space and accumulate an abundance of disks.
When you aren’t aware of what data you have and where it is located, your company is also at a higher risk of a data breach. Some of that data may be stored outside of secure file systems that hacker groups can easily target when you have unaccounted-for data. This especially happens when employees make copies of files to take their laptops home or lose equipment.
Sometimes it only takes a file shared between servers containing confidential information that leads to costly settlements in court. When an organization manages its data, an expensive mistake that is avoidable is the payment of compliance fines due to a consumer’s data being compromised during a data breach.
Employees are slowed down significantly by sifting through old, redundant, and trivial data, which means valuable time is lost that expends company resources. A recent survey revealed that 54% of U.S. office professionals report wasting time searching for much-needed files in cluttered online filling systems.
Having a lot of ROT to sift through also increases the chance of employee error in sending outdated information to clients, which wastes company time trying to fix the mistake. When productivity is reduced, resources are wasted.
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ROT & Dark Data Management Solution
Companies can significantly cut costs by shedding light on their data – identifying redundant files, obsolete files, and trash data. And leaving your data in the dark means missed opportunities that could have led to higher revenue.
Companies can take control of their data through intelligent data management platforms that help delete ROT and sort dark data. These platforms help analyze unstructured data and shed light on what should be kept, deleted, or sorted. When you take control of your data, you deliver value and safety to your organization.
About the Author:
Adrian Knapp, CEO and Founder, Aparavi