Dark data: what it is and how to avoid it


By 20 October 2022 No Comments

According to a study done by MEGA International via the Entreprise Strategy Group Institute, the average volume of data created by companies now doubles every two years. With this increase come blind spots that are very dangerous for an organization: dark data. Let us explain what they are and how to avoid them. 

What is dark data?  

As Digit News explains, dark data is data that is stored without being used and sometimes without even being relevant. It can be compared to notes that are put in a drawer that will never be opened again. 

The pandemic and the democratization of remote work led to a drastic increase in dark data creation, much to companies’ distress. 


Why is dark data dangerous? 

First of all, dark data is dangerous because the unawareness about data naturally leads to uninformed decisions, which can do damage in a company. Dark data also creates legal risks, as well as vulnerabilities regarding security and conformity. 

Above all, dark data are an environmental issue. Indeed, the data industry is already responsible for 4% of greenhouse gas emissions, and data centers have a heavier carbon footprint (2.5% of carbon dioxide emissions) than the aviation industry (2.1%). According to the World Economic Forum, a data-driven company with 100 employees generates on average 2,983 gigabytes of dark data every day. And if that company keeps that data for a year, it will pollute as much as six London-New York trips. When we consider every company in the world, we currently reach 1,300,000,000 gigabytes of dark data a day, which is astronomical. 


How can we eliminate dark data?  

In a company, dark data can be eliminated by training teams on the issue and implementing a data management policy. Regular audits can also be done to identify and eliminate dark data. 

All of that can take time, but if old data can’t be immediately examined, current and future dark data production can be reduced, thus protecting not only the company, but also the environment. 

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