The Barracuda Data Protection Plus initiative is designed to make sure that your data is available, accessible, and working for you in the most productive possible way. As part of this initiative, we’ve talked a lot about data that is part of your workflow, such as documents that need signatures and mission critical data that needs to be backed up. But what about the data that isn’t part of a workflow and isn’t being used?
‘Dark data’ is defined by Gartner as “the information assets organizations collect, process and store during regular business activities, but generally fail to use for other purposes.”
We’re not just talking about old email messages here; this could be anything from outdated customer information to network log files to old sales presentations.
Dark data isn’t just outdated or forgotten data that has gone unpurged. A company often chooses to keep data for compliance purposes, or because someone in the company values the future potential of the data. Management or IT may be expecting to harvest business intelligence out of the data at some point, so the data is being kept for that reason. Regardless of the purpose for keeping it, dark data must be managed and secured.
There are a number of risks associated with unauthorized access of dark data:
- Business Intelligence: Sensitive information could be exposed to competitors or the public
- Legal: Confidential information such as payment records, patient data, etc., could be compromised
- Reputation: Data breaches embarrass the company, especially if the data itself reflects negatively on the company
- Opportunity Cost: Dark data that offers valuable insights for the company may be lost or stolen
In short, any unknown and unevaluated data represents unknown and unevaluated risk.
Here are some considerations to improve your position with dark data:
- Inventory the data, evaluate the data’s potential value, and audit for security and risk. If the risk outweighs the value, purge the data
- Encrypt the data
- Review company retention and disposal policies and ensure your dark data complies with these policies
Barracuda can help you manage your dark data as part of a comprehensive plan for Data Protection Plus.
- Data Protection Plus Availability: Search and access saved, archived, or backed up data quickly and efficiently, in cloud or private environments.
- Data Protection Plus Accessibility: Maintain access to important data, even during downtime and recovery.
- Data Protection Plus Mobility: Rapidly access information from any location and any device for maximum productivity.
- Data Protection Plus Productivity: Share files, electronically sign documents, and seamlessly collaborate across multiple locations and platforms.
- Data Protection Plus Information Management: Manage file and message archiving, eDiscovery, and PST files.
Here’s Rod Mathews, GM Storage, with a more comprehensive review of Barracuda Data Protection Plus: