What is ‘dark data’?
Dark Data is all the information and data a company collects or generates and then leaves unused. It is all data that is unmanaged, unknown and ever-present. In simpler terms, if the data is inactive and dormant – it is dark data.
Dark data varies for all companies and industries. Some common examples are
- Old versions of documents
- Analytics reports and survey data
- .zip files and email attachments that are downloaded and then ignored
- Unused customer information inactive databases
- Employee files and content
- Log files, transaction history and account information
Why is it important?
Data is a vital part of any business. It is the key to increased growth, attracting new consumers and higher profits. While data may be considered unimportant and discarded by one department, it can be of massive value to another. Dark data can be considered a portion of big data, potentially up to 90%. It is the most primary aspect of all data and has tremendous potential for those who can successfully harness it.
How can it be dangerous?
Dark data is basically data that is used and forgotten about. This is where the danger is. Any data goes unsecured and unmonitored holds a significant threat to a business. When the contents and location of the data are both unknown, hackers can easily mine it and use it against the company. This can lead to expensive payouts, legal action and lost business. In addition, dark data is a hindrance and security risk to operations when companies are not even aware that the data exists, let alone where it can be found. The reputation of any business will be damaged if it is asked for information about something but is unable to locate it.
How companies can benefit?
While also a potential security threat, dark data is a massive opportunity for businesses. This is because it holds and unanalyzed value, unknown insights and undiscovered potential that is helpful for any business. Dark data can be thought as unfulfilled value for any business. The information obtained through dark data can be used to provide knowledge, which can be used to maximize profits. By using the newest technology around IT tools and business intelligence, businesses can use unstructured as well as structured data sets altogether to get high value results. If managed properly, dark data can prove to be a valuable asset and tool.
There are 3 main steps to acquiring maximum benefit from dark data: obtaining, reviewing and then determining value. Obtaining dark data is usually the toughest part, and businesses use numerous resources and methods to do so.
How can it be obtained?
- Categorizing by type as well identifying ownership
- Searching for all file types and folders
- Reporting on usage as well as purpose
- Having administrative access to all hard drives, servers and any storage facilities being used
Once obtained, companies determine the value of this data and its proper use. If your company is curious about dark data and its implications, both positive and negative, then don’t hesitate to reach out. The technicians at Nymbus are more than happy to share their knowledge and expertise.