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How to Eliminate Dark Data

By September 1, 2020October 30th, 2022No Comments6 min read
Dark data

Dark data might sound ominous to you. It sounds similar to the dark web where people do weird stuff. However, there is no relation between the dark web and dark data. We are all guilty of data hoarding. You might be storing every digital presentation, spreadsheet, document, email, and photo. Employees are also storing everything that they can. Corporate follows the mantra of saving everything. This can actually lead to dark data. In this article, we are going to talk about dark data.

Definition of dark data:

Dark data is a collection of untapped, untagged, and unstructured data that is sitting on your server and hard drives. You might be storing calls, video, and audio files. Many employees also store excel spreadsheets, text files, and PowerPoint presentations on their devices. Thus, employees are generating an enormous amount of data. More than 80% of corporate data is actually dark data.

This data is mostly redundant and bulky in nature. Storage costs have become affordable with time. Thus, most organizations don’t worry about this data. This term was actually coined by Andrew White of Granter in 2012.

Dark data is dangerous:

Dark data isn’t readily usable, searchable, or accessible. This data is actually wasted. You can’t integrate this data with business intelligence tools. However, this data also contains confidential data. You might be storing your customer’s data on your servers. Thus, you also need to protect dark data from attackers. Make sure that your dark data won’t get stolen. If your dark data gets stolen, then it will affect your business reputation. Employees, vendors, and customers don’t forgive companies that can’t protect their sensitive data. Thus, you need to protect this dark data.

Dark data is wasteful:

Dark data is also very costly. It is the information that you can’t access. Thus, you can’t analyze this data. Due to this, you can’t develop business intelligence. It contains a lot of important information that can be used by your business. Your sales team can use all the sales notes for developing better campaigns. HRs can also use this information for improving employee productivity. They can use this data for designing better programs. The finance department can use the data from spreadsheets for cutting costs. Your production and development team can also use this data.

Sometimes you can also beach compliances like CCPA due to this data. For example, you might have not correctly tagged personal information. Thus, you might sell the data of your customers. You might be archiving the data of your customers. Thus, it will become difficult to find this data when your customer wants to delete this information.

Most companies are actually storing a huge amount of dark data. You can’t use this data for making decisions. Also, this data poses a significant risk.

Businesses should separate valuable data from dark data. It is important to get rid of dark data. Most companies will get stuck in the initial stage of data collection. They don’t have access to enough resources for determining the usefulness of the data. Thus, it is difficult to differentiate between dark and useful data. This can jeopardize your compliance and security.

Businesses should try to gain full visibility of their data. This will help them in protecting their confidential or sensitive data. First, you should separate important data from dark data. Also, you should understand where this important data is stored. After that, you should create a strong data management strategy. We are going to share some tips that will help you in creating a good data management strategy.

  1. Data mapping

First, you should map your entire data. This is the first step that you should take toward understanding information flow. You should look for the data. It is very important to gain insight and visibility into your data storage. You should know where your important data is also stored. Also, you should know about the people that can access your data. Make sure that only authorized personnel can access your sensitive data.

  1. Automate data insight routines

The data universe is expanding with time. You can’t control your data manually. Thus, you should automate your data tracking, reporting, and analytics process. This will ensure that you can track your dark data. Companies should integrate their data strategy with security, backup, and archiving solutions.

  1. Place strict controls on data

Data minimization will help you in reducing the amount of data that you are storing. Make sure that you are only storing important information. You should classify your data. Compliant policy engines, flexible retention, and classification will help you in quickly delete non-relevant data. These policies are going to be the cornerstone of your dark data project. They will help you in maintaining companywide compliance.

  1. Make sure that you are following compliance standards

Many companies need to follow strict compliance standards like CCPA and GDPR. They have to report data breaches to the government authorities. If some individual has been affected by the data breach, then companies need to inform them also. Organizations should regularly monitor breach activity. If there is a data breach, then you should quickly trigger reporting procedures. This will help you in maintaining compliance during a data breach. You can work on recovering your systems in the background. However, you need to quickly inform authorities about the data breach. If you are not informed about the data breach, then get ready for a big fine.


Most companies are ignoring dark data. They have access to unlimited storage. Thus, they mostly don’t care about this data. However, dark data can cause a lot of problems for your business. You should ensure that you are separating the important data from the dark data. It is difficult to follow all regulatory compliance. If you want to follow compliance standards like CCPA, then you should start working on your data management strategy. This strategy will help you in eliminating dark data. You can understand your data by creating a good data management strategy. If you need more tips regarding security compliance and data management, then you can contact Bleuwire.

Contact us today to learn about Bleuwire™  services and solutions in how we can help your business.