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How Data You’ve Forgotten About Can Come Back to Bite You

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Businesses utilize a ton of data in order to keep operations running smoothly, but what happens to data that’s unused? Are they files that are potentially sensitive in nature? If your dark data isn’t being stored securely, it could be at risk of data compromisation, or worse. Therefore, it becomes critical to address your business’s dark data issue before it becomes an even bigger problem.

What is Dark Data?
Dark data is typically known as information that a business stores, but doesn’t typically take advantage of. In fact, this data rarely serves any significant purpose. Dark data naturally accrues over time; as a business grows, it no longer requires certain types of information, and it eventually just gets stored away because it might see some use somewhere down the line. While this data can hold value, it’s more likely that businesses aren’t well-equipped to handle it in a safe manner.

For example, your business may need to keep a record of a former employee on file for a certain duration of time. Chances are, after that time is up, you aren’t manually going to remove that data. It will simply continue to exist where it has been. Even in the grand scheme of things, it isn’t really costing your business anything to keep this data stored, so what’s the harm?

If your network gets infiltrated and your data is stolen, it can be very harmful. Even though the information is outdated, if you weren’t protecting it, that person’s data has now shifted to the wrong hands, and you are responsible.

Why It’s a Problem
While it might seem counterproductive to store so much data that’s not being used, you’d be surprised by how often businesses do just that. For example, if a business has a client who leaves, this information could quickly become dark data. You’re paying to store information that’s rarely, if ever, accessed. Plus, you’re responsible for keeping that information secure. These are the primary reasons that dark data needs to be moderated and secured. If you don’t, your business could run the risk of attracting the attention of hackers, which can lead to heavy compliance fines that can break your budget (and reputation).

How to Solve It
It’s clear that dark data is a threat that should be taken seriously, but how is your business handling it? Here are a few possible solutions for your dark data problem:

Implement proper security measures: This should be a no-brainer. You always want to protect the data you store, even if it’s information that you rarely access (like dark data). This includes data that is stored on your in-house network, and data which is stored off-site or in the cloud. Another way you can optimize security is by limiting who has access to your dark data, which can limit its exposure to potentially threatening situations.
Create data retention policies: The reason that dark data is a problem is that businesses don’t have measures put into place to help them keep track of what they’re storing. By implementing a proper data retention policy, you can better understand the information you’re storing, and why. These policies should be designed to help your business save on storage costs and to eliminate possible security risks.

Tektonic can help your business with all of its data storage needs. Whether your company needs assistance managing or storing your data, or you’re having trouble with deployment and user access, we can help. Tektonic’s trusted technicians can help your organization maximize data security, even for information that you might not necessarily access every day.

Remember, taking proactive measures to protect your data is the best way to limit the damage done in the event of a hacking attack. At Tektonic, we eat, speak, and breathe preventative measures. To learn more, give us a call at (416) 256-9928.

Date: February 19th, 2016, Author: Jorge Rojas

Toronto IT Support  /  Tektonic Blog  /  Miscellaneous  /  How Data You’ve Forgotten About Can Come Back to Bite You