According to a recent survey by IDG Research Services of business and technology leaders, on average, only 28 percent of data stored and maintained has value to the day-to-day operations of a business. Translation: a whopping 72 percent of files stored by a business are useless.
The Plague of Dark Data
This statistic may reflect the data usage of your own company. Therefore, if the bulk of your data is essentially worthless, then why hang on to these files and pay good money to both store and maintain them? In the IT world, these files are known as “dark data.” Gartner Inc. provides us with a great definition of dark data: “The information assets organizations collect, process, and store during regular business activities, but generally fail to use for other purposes.”
Often times, dark data piles up on a company’s server out of an obligation to hang on to it that may or may not be legitimate. For example, a company may be required to keep files to comply with industry regulations, like in the healthcare industry with medical records. Other times, a business may not delete information because they have an inner sense that it’s important; but, if pressed as to why it’s important, it may be difficult to find an adequate answer. An example of seemingly-important files like these would be a company’s network activity logs. While it’s good to hang on to logs just in case you experience a network security issue, storing network logs going back two, five, or even ten years is quite unnecessary and takes up valuable hard drive space.
Data Will Only Get Darker
In regards to the future of data use in the workplace, it’s expected to get darker. This is due in a large part to the IT trend known as The Internet of Things (IoT). With this trend, more organizations are adopting data collection solutions that feed company servers information from a variety of Internet-connected sources. All of the data from IoT must be catalogued and stored for it to be of any use by analytics tools, and not all of this IoT data will need to be stored for long periods of time. Yet, many businesses will choose to hang on to drives full of IoT data, simply because they sense that it’s important.
We are living in the middle of the information age. This increased amount of data is putting a stress on data infrastructures like the Internet. ISPs are struggling to expand their systems and update their hardware fast enough to keep up with data demands. Think for a moment how beneficial it would be for every Internet user if all of the Internet’s unnecessary data was deleted. If 72 percent of the Internet’s data was deleted, the performance of the web would dramatically increase. The same idea is true for your company’s network. If you were to comb through your system and delete the dark data that you don’t need, then you would see a boost in your network’s performance.
The Rising Cost of Dark Data
Then there’s the financial cost of dark data. Whether you store your data in the cloud or on your company’s in-house server unit, it cost money to maintain these systems. This includes the cost of keeping the data-storage units powered on, and the expense of making needed repairs when the drives fail. Getting a better grip on managing your data will help minimize this expense. Gartner explains, “organizations that fail to optimize the way they manage and retain their data will be forced to deal with constant increases in storage costs.”
Shining Light on Dark Data
One tedious solution to the increasing accumulation of all this dark data is to go through everything and delete what’s not needed. While this isn’t an impossible feat, it would certainly be a pain to pull off. Before undergoing such a large data chore, you will first want to count the costs of the project. PACE Technical Services can help you plan for such a major data-management project.
Getting rid of dark data is only half the solution. In order to prevent your system from becoming overwhelmed with dark data, you will need a process in place that analyzes all incoming data and “separates the wheat from the chaff.” To save your business the time of manually sorting through all incoming data, we can provide your business with tools that automate the data sifting process.
An automated process that determines which data to store and which to delete is still a new solution for the business world. IDG conducted a survey and discovered that only 10 percent of businesses have a process in place that’s completely automated, yet. Due to the growing pains of the data revolution, “77 percent of enterprises expressed interest in using a single platform solution that automatically manages data.”
As advocates of protecting and putting a value on data, we understand that keeping your important information safe is paramount to business continuity. However, we often see businesses who need to reconsider their IT infrastructure every few years just to keep up with their data.
Could your company benefit from having a data-management solution that streamlines operations and improves network performance and efficiency? Call PACE Technical Services at 905.763.7896 to learn how to minimize dark data and find a data-management tool that’s right for the unique needs of your business.