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Dark data

Dark data definition

Dark data is information that a company collects, stores, and processes during regular activities but doesn't actually use for anything. This includes old emails, documents, or customer information. Dark data is risky to keep around, especially if it has sensitive information.

See also: Data archiving

Risks of dark data:

Security. If dark data includes confidential information but is not secured correctly (which can often happen with abandoned information), it becomes an easy target for hackers.

Compliance issues. Many industries have regulations on how to handle data properly. Keeping dark data without proper management can result in hefty fines and legal troubles.

Storage costs. Storing large volumes of data requires a lot of resources. If the information isn't even being used, it's simply a waste of money to keep it.

Inefficiency. Vast amounts of unstructured and unanalyzed data make finding what you need difficult — the process becomes quite slow.

Missed opportunities. Companies might miss valuable insights by letting information sit there without analyzing it.

Data decay. Over time, the relevance and accuracy of information declines. If anyone uses outdated dark data without updating it, that can lead to bad decisions.