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Home » Resources » Are Dark & Unstructured Data Putting Your Business at Risk?
An eye-opening report from Veritas Global Databerg finds that at least 85% of stored data Is either dark or redundant, obsolete or trivial (ROT). Most of this ROT data is unstructured, which means it doesn’t have a pre-defined data model or is not organized in a pre-defined manner. Unstructured data often appears in the form of e-mails, memos, chats, white papers, marketing materials, images, presentations and video files. Most organizations […]
Security executive Richard Stiennon has previously held roles such as Chief Strategy Officer of Blancco Technology Group from 2016-2017 and Vice President of Research at Gartner Inc. from 2000 to 2004. Currently, Richard is a cyber security lecturer at Charles Sturt University in Australia and a strategic advisory member of the International Data Sanitization Consortium. His book, There Will Be Cyberwar, was named a Washington Post bestseller in April 2016. Richard is regularly featured in news publications such as Forbes, Dark Reading, Infosecurity Magazine, Network World and BetaNews, where he comments on data governance, data management, and cyber security.
An eye-opening report from Veritas Global Databerg finds that at least 85% of stored data Is either dark or redundant, obsolete or trivial (ROT). Most of this ROT data is unstructured, which means it doesn’t have a pre-defined data model or is not organized in a pre-defined manner. Unstructured data often appears in the form of e-mails, memos, chats, white papers, marketing materials, images, presentations and video files. Most organizations tend to keep all this unstructured data—without a plan for disposing of it.
IDG Research predicts that by 2022, 93 percent of digital data will be unstructured. And in today’s Big Data and IoT climate, every organization will struggle with rising storage costs.
So how do organizations go from keeping all their unneeded data to focusing on the 15 percent of data that’s business critical? The first step is knowing what data you have and exploiting any value you may get from it. Then you must dispose of the data you don’t need. Finally, you must have auditing policies in place to continually keep track of your data across its lifecycle.
Unstructured data can hold sensitive information, so organizations must be proactive in classifying, storing, retrieving and disposing of this data. There are many solutions on the market that can help in this regard.
The most important aspect of this plan is that IT, the C-suite, and storage architects work together to determine retention policies for all types of data. Creating an executable information governance strategy lessens an organization’s cost and risks associated with dark and unstructured data.
A lack of insight into dark, unstructured or forgotten data could lead to financial or legal liability—in addition to impacting your bottom line. Data covered by regulation that’s kept but improperly stored can lead to costly sanctions for your organization. When this data is requested in court and cannot be located, your company may end up paying millions of dollars in fines.
Poorly categorized data may also lead to permissions challenges. Not knowing what each of your data sets contain creates confusion about who can access that data. If the wrong individuals are caught accessing sensitive information, you’re putting your business at risk of a data breach.
To mitigate these risks, data that needs to be retained for retention/compliance purposes can be archived on low-cost cloud or tape storage solutions for access when it’s needed, while data that isn’t needed can be securely erased.
According to Gartner, it costs about $120.00 to store one terabyte of data each year. Alternatively, using Blancco products, it costs approximately $71 to erase a terabyte of data—a permanent, one-time event. Any data that can be erased should be to achieve cost-savings.
Department of Defense-approved methods of erasure are the first step in ensuring no one accesses your organization’s sensitive data. Erasure can be done at end-of-life or on an ongoing basis. Ongoing, active erasure ensures you’re always up-to-date, reducing security threats to your data center and overall organization.
Data that has reached end-of-life lives on various storage assets, including servers, SSDs and removable media. If the devices are going to be re-purposed the data on them must be securely erased. If not, physically destroy these assets in-house or with a trusted ITAD provider after securely erasing them.
Once you’ve identified the unstructured and dark data in your business, you can put erasure policies in place on an ongoing basis to securely erase that data—ensuring it’s no longer a threat to your reputation or bottom line.
Blancco active erasure solutions, including Blancco File Eraser, Blancco LUN Eraser and Blancco Virtual Machine Eraser, erase data in your data center without any downtime.
By permanently erasing this unneeded data, you can save money on storage costs, lessen the threat of legal problems and reduce your exposure to security leaks in the event of a cyber-attack. You can also save your IT department time that would have otherwise been spent managing non-critical data—allowing them to focus on innovation and moving your business forward.
Start your free trial of Blancco File now and get your data center (and business!) on track.