Latest News and Announcements: Dare you scale the Dark Mountain?

Much has been written about the silos that store Europe’s butter, sugar and maize mountains.  A fluttering price tag atop these mountains would indicate a price to the taxpayer of £236m.  A hefty amount for sure.

These are mere foothills to Europe’s newest mountain, that of Data. It’s valuable to business and consumers alike, allowing us to make informed and timely decisions about our private and professional lives.  Of course, in the wrong hands, or if treated badly, it can put us and the things we hold dear at risk.

Unless you’ve been camped on top of the butter mountain for the last two years, you will be aware of the imminence of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), a pumped-up set of regulations designed to protect the personal data of all European residents.

TrueSwift’s Technical Director, Andrew Salmon has written many articles and presented at many events on GDPR over the last two years. When asked if there was a common theme in Q&A sessions from audiences, Andrew’s immediate response is, “there are a number of topics that seem to pop up at all events.  One is Subject Access Requests (SARs) which under GDPR can be likened to Right to be Forgotten requests, and another is what is termed ‘Dark Data’”.

While SARs require a business to attempt to discover all data relating to one or more individuals, the Right to be Forgotten under GDPR provides a mechanism for any individual to request any personal information an organisation holds on them.  Furthermore, they can request that any data is removed and deleted.  This request extends across all data within an organisation and these searches can place a significant burden on internal resources.  To compound things further, companies have just 30 days to respond to these requests and failure to do so may now incur penalties.

Whether performing a SAR or a Right to be Forgotten request, an area that companies struggle with is ensuring the scope of the search covers all of the data in the estate.  In order to respond to a SAR you need to understand all the data in your estate, be able to catalogue and retrieve relevant data within the allotted timescales, including that currently classed as ‘Dark’.  Andrew continued, ‘it’s a well-publicised statistic that 52% of data globally is what is known as Dark Data, essentially that means we don’t know what we are storing, what is contains and who has access to it.  There are 44 Zetabytes of data in global business operations at this moment, and that is doubling every 9 months’.  When asked to put a cost on storing 52% of 44ZBs, Andrew replied, “£1.2 trillion, annually across the globe at current rates of storage”.  The Dark Data Mountain eclipses anything we have seen previously.

Whether you’re a sole trader with a list of contacts on your smart phone, or a global services organisation where data is your business, it is important to understand what data you have, how you store it and for how long you retain it.  Scaling the Dark Mountain can seem impossible, especially before 25th May.  There are time and cost implications, but keep in mind that in many cases, the investment made in GDPR will be less than storing unnecessary data.  By employing good data management practices now, your GDPR costs may be met by the savings made alone.

If you would like to hear more about data and why it is important, join the ‘One Hour Webinar’ hosted by TrueSwift is Business Data; What Lurks Within? And will tackle the issues of Dark Data, SAR’s, PST and Redundant, Obsolete and Trivial (ROT) data. It will be on the 8th February at 10am.  To book your space, click here

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