Every day, the news is filled with more reports of hacks, leaks, and stolen information. And if that’s not bad enough, your organization may be generating mountains of data you’re unaware of. Most people don’t know how to avoid dark data because it’s hidden and unused. So what’s a person to do? This article will discuss the importance of preventing dark data and tips on how to do so. What is dark data? The term “dark data” is used to describe the vast amount of data that is hidden and not used. This data is often difficult to find but lingers everywhere, including in emails, files, databases, and even comments on social media sites. This kind of information can cost you storage space and money, lead to security risks and privacy breaches, and clog up your systems, making it challenging to find the information you need. 1. Keep track of the information you have It’s no secret that data is valuable. It’s been said that data is the new oil. And just like with oil, it’s essential to keep track of where your data comes from and what you do with it. This is especially true for organizations generating more and more data daily. If you’re not careful, all this data can quickly become overwhelming and tough to manage. Organize data The best way to keep track of your information is to keep it organized. This means having a system for storing and maintaining data over time, such as a customer relationship management (CRM) system or enterprise resource planning (ERP) system. These systems, such as Databand’s data observability tools, can help you track your data, where it came from, and how it’s being used. Purge unnecessary data Another way to keep track of your data is periodically purging unnecessary data. This will help you free up storage space and make finding the information you need easier. Create a data retention policy Another way to keep track of your data is to create a data retention policy. This policy should specify how long you will keep certain data types and why. Ensure you’re not keeping information you don’t need and that you comply with any legal requirements. 2. Store information safely One of the best ways to avoid dark data is to store your information safely. Use a secure system that is designed to protect your data from unauthorized access and theft. Secure Storage There are many ways to store data, but not all are equally secure. One of the most popular methods is to use a cloud-based storage system, such as Amazon S3 or Google Cloud Storage. These systems offer a high level of security and the ability to scale up your storage as needed. Another option is to use an on-premises storage system, such as a NAS (network attached storage) system. These systems are typically more expensive than cloud-based storage, but they offer a higher level of security and control. Data encryption Another way to store your data safely is to encrypt it. This means converting data into a code that only someone with the proper key can read. Data encryption can help to protect your data from unauthorized access and ensure that it remains confidential. Data backup and recovery You should also consider creating backups and have a recovery plan in place. If your primary storage system fails, you will have a copy of your data that you can use to restore your systems. Backups can be stored on-site or off-site, depending on your needs. 3. Protect your data from security risks Another way to avoid dark data is to protect your data from security risks. This means keeping your data safe from hackers and other unauthorized users. Data classification One way to protect your data from security risks is to classify it. Identify the types of data you have and assign each type a sensitivity level. Once you have classified your data, you can put security measures in place to protect the most sensitive information. Data access control Another way to protect your data from security risks is to control who has access to it. Only allow users to access the data they need to do their job. You can use tools that will help you control who has access to your data and what they can do with it. Data loss prevention Another way to protect your data from security risks is by implementing data loss prevention (DLP) controls. These controls help to prevent sensitive data from being lost or stolen. You can use a tool like Symantec Data Loss Prevention or McAfee Data Loss Prevention. Final Thoughts Dark data is a problem that can have a significant impact on your business. By avoiding it, you can help ensure that your data is accurate and up-to-date. This will help you make better decisions and improve your bottom line.