For children, it’s common to be afraid of the dark, whether it’s monsters under the bed or creepy shadows. Naturally, children eventually outgrow that fear and leave their nightlights behind. But when it comes to dark data in an organization’s IT environment, there’s good reason to be concerned.

What You Don’t Know CAN Hurt You

We’ve all heard the saying: “what you don’t know can’t hurt you.” But that statement is easily invalidated: just ask any cardiologist about whether their patients should monitor their blood pressure. The same is true when it comes to your data. Not knowing the contents of your enterprise data can lead to serious cybersecurity risk and liability.

So, What is Dark Data?

Dark data encompasses any data in your organization that you either don’t know about or haven’t accessed in such a long time that it’s been forgotten. It’s unutilized and likely lurking in the deepest recesses of your company’s servers.

Even though you might think that this dormant data poses little threat to your business, it could potentially wreak havoc.

Cybersecurity Risks

Cybercrime should give every organization pause. Not only has it been on the rise in recent years (especially in 2020 as businesses were forced to adopt work-at-home policies), but it has also become increasingly expensive. The cost of data breach now runs on average, $4 million as stated in our blog post, The Real Cost of a Data Breach.

Unknown or forgotten data is actually the most dangerous data in the event of a breach, precisely because you don’t know it exists. You can’t protect the confidential and sensitive files you don’t know about. Similarly, you can’t know what information has been compromised if you don’t know what you have. Imagine a long-lost backup of your database being pilfered, or worse yet, a file from your IT staff with admin passwords falling into the wrong hands.

Not only can this cost your company a small fortune, but it will have lasting impacts on your reputation and consumer confidence. With Aparavi, you can easily find any files that might contain sensitive information, even if they haven’t been touched in years. In fact, The Aparavi Platform lets you filter all enterprise storage locations (across the core, cloud and edge) for precisely those types of files so that you leave no stone unturned.

Data Privacy & Compliance Problems

Nowadays data privacy laws like California’s CCPA and the EU’s GDPR are in full force and new legislation is being introduced in more states and countries. Consumers in an increasing number of jurisdictions all over the world have the right to request a report of the information you have on file regarding their person. They can even ask you to delete that information or to prevent its transfer to third parties.

Suppose you respond to one of these requests only to find out later that some of the data on the individual was not disclosed (because you didn’t know it existed). Not only can your business be held liable by the regulatory body, but in some cases, consumers can sue or demand compensation for your failure to comply.

Dark Data Costs Your Company

Even if your data is never hacked or stolen, your company still foots the bill for data storage. Just because data lies in the dark doesn’t mean it’s living rent free. Whether it resides on a spinning hard drive or distributed across cloud servers, it’s expensive to hold on to.

Data in the Dark Limits Insights

You might think that if some pieces of data have gone dark then it must be because they weren’t that important to begin with. But that’s a risky assumption. Perhaps that data did have some value, but it was lost in the shuffle due to human error. Maybe it was presumed lost due to a hardware failure when in reality it’s still alive and well.

Business intelligence tools work best when they have the best data to fuel the engine that produces insights. You won’t know for sure if the data you’re feeding in is the best data if you don’t have all of your files clearly marked and identified.

For maximum BI (business intelligence) efficiency, you’ll want to drag all of your data out of the dark. Aparavi is the smart data management platform that makes it possible. Whether you need to deal with your dark data, or keep it from coming back, Aparavi can do it for you. Book a demo with us and see how simple it can be to get control of your dark data.