Shedding light on dark data when it is needed the most

According to a recent report, up to 68% of business data goes unleveraged. Just how valuable is dark data that isn't being put to use?
19 October 2020
  • 68% of business data goes unleveraged according to a recent report from Seagate in partnership with research firm International Data Corporation (IDC)
  • Successful data management provides reliable and quickly accessible data through which decisive actions can be taken securely while boosting customer loyalty, revenue, and profit

2020 has been a year like no other. However, during these times of looming uncertainty, adoption rates for technologies like the Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI), and edge computing have soared. As demand continues to pick up, the proliferation of enterprise dark data requires proper management.

An ever-accelerating amount of information means that there is an ever-growing amount of valuable data that is sitting dormant on servers. According to a recent report built from 1500 global enterprise leaders — commissioned by Seagate in partnership with research firm International Data Corporation (IDC) called Rethink Data: Put More of Your Data to Work – From Edge to Cloud68% of business data goes unleveraged.

“The report and the survey make clear that winning businesses must have strong mass data operations,” said Seagate CEO Dave Mosley in a statement. “The value that a company derives from data directly affects its success,” he stresses.

Opportunity and potential

While the value of dark data may depend on the enterprise given the different variables in industry, purpose, and types of data created and managed, that data cannot be underestimated. Data is an intangible asset, but it ultimately has the capability to drive new sources of revenue, improve customer experiences, as well as boost operational efficiency for many organizations. The IDC goes on to predict that over the next two years, enterprise data will continue to grow at a rate of 42.2%.

“The findings of this study illustrating that more than two-thirds of available data lies fallow in organizations may seem like disturbing news,” said Phil Goodwin, research director, IDC, and the principal analyst on the study, in a statement. “But in truth, it shows how much opportunity and potential organizations already have at their fingertips. Organizations that can harness the value of their data wherever it resides—core, cloud, or edge—can generate significant competitive advantage in the marketplace.”

For example, the healthcare industry is a highly regulated sector that requires data to be kept for many years. Data managed by a hospital specifically includes crucial information like patients’ health records, their medical billing, whatever insurance they use, operations they’ve had, as well as their financial data from procedure payments.

However, the value of each dataset may vary, if the information is utilized correctly. Each of these can potentially be analyzed to implement efficient workflow management, or to improve care pathways, and even boost recovery rates.

By properly managing dark data and bringing it to light, successful data management gives organizations reliable and quick accessible data through which decisive actions can be taken securely while boosting customer loyalty, revenue, and profit. For many businesses struggling to manage data effectively, they do not understand how to translate the information gathered into actionable outcomes. Determining key business objectives first is therefore vital in developing a data management strategy.

Responsible security

Data security is often cited as the highest concern for IT managers and business leaders, with many organizations unable to classify data by its level of risk and how that dark data should be stored and protected. Up to two-thirds of survey respondents reported insufficient data security, making data security an essential element of any discussion of efficient data management.

This, however, regularly comes down to human incapability rather than misgivings in the technology. While efficient data management systems can offer plenty of protection, it is critically the responsibility of all members across all levels and functions in an organization to properly protect data.