IT Pro is supported by its audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

What is 'dark data' and how could it be impacting your cloud migration?

Too many businesses are tackling the problem of dark data with additional storage, but this is an expensive and inefficient fix

Comms room with cabinets either side with data connections

Multi-cloud solutions are no longer simply an alternative for enterprise data storage, but are rapidly becoming part of the new normal in the business world. By utilising public, on-premises, private and non-cloud infrastructure, organisations are able to keep better control of their data and overall business strategy.

However, more and more companies are beginning their migration to the cloud with no idea of the hidden pitfalls that could derail them further down the line. One of these is the growing issue of dark data', and the impact it can have on a company's cloud migration.

What is dark data?

Dark data is information that is collected, processed and stored before likely never being used again. Because it is hidden, IT departments have no idea if it contains sensitive information or data that should have been deleted long ago, and is therefore a ticking time bomb of potential issues.

"Similar to dark matter in physics, dark data often comprises most organizations' universe of information assets," Gartner describes. "Thus, organizations often retain dark data for compliance purposes only. Storing and securing data typically incurs more expense (and sometimes greater risk) than value."

According to Veritas' estimates, almost half of the information stored on the secondary data stores used for migration to the cloud is dark'; unlabelled data that could potentially land the organisation in hot water with government regulators.

The biggest problem with this kind of unknown data is that businesses are blind to what it includes. It's likely that customer and employee information forms part of it, and this leads to trouble with personally identifiable information (PII).

In an ever-changing digital landscape, enterprises must be vigilant about complying to rules and regulations around data storage and management.

Other issues with dark data

Dark data is considered one of the new types of risk that has sprung up from changes across the industry in how data is handled, with Veritas describing it as a threat "below the waterline" forming "Databergs". These findings also indicate that UK businesses are the worst offenders, after only Germany (66 per cent), Canada (64 per cent) and Australia (62 per cent).

Of course, some of this data could be valuable to the company, but no one can determine this while it is unlabelled and undiscoverable.

Aside from the legal issues transferring dark data can bring, it is also not very cost effective. Companies that don't clean up their redundant data before beginning the migration process end up paying for far too much storage they don't need, which in turn wastes time and money.

Too many businesses are tackling the problem of dark data or "Databergs" with additional storage, but this is an expensive and inefficient fix. Data must be better managed, classified and - if necessary - deleted from the get-go, ensuring a smooth transition to the ideal multi-cloud solution.

Featured Resources

Join the 90% of enterprises accelerating to the cloud

Business transformation through digital modernisation

Free Download

Delivering on demand: Momentum builds toward flexible IT

A modern digital workplace strategy

Free download

Modernise the workforce experience

Actionable insights and an optimised experience for both IT and end users

Free Download

The digital workplace roadmap

A leader's guide to strategy and success

Free Download

Most Popular

Raspberry Pi launches next-gen Pico W microcontroller with networking support
Hardware

Raspberry Pi launches next-gen Pico W microcontroller with networking support

1 Jul 2022
Xerox CEO John Visentin dies unexpectedly aged 59
Careers & training

Xerox CEO John Visentin dies unexpectedly aged 59

30 Jun 2022
Former Uber security chief to face fraud charges over hack coverup
data breaches

Former Uber security chief to face fraud charges over hack coverup

29 Jun 2022