It is estimated that companies generate 2,5 exabytes of data per day globally. Of this amount, approximately 80% is unstructured, which represents lost opportunities for companies and the possibility of facing a large number of unexpected risks related to regulations, reputation or sustainability.

Iron Mountain has studied the factors that organisations need to take into account to better understand the value of invisible information to drive growth and business profits through proper management.


Undervalued data

Today, companies have the opportunity to collect an unprecedented amount of data. However, much of that information is simply stored on servers, wasting its potential value.

In this way, dark data is born, which represents one of the greatest untapped resources for companies, when in fact it is an enormous potential source to generate value, facilitate business decision-making, boost profits and promote sustainable development for businesses.

After all, knowledge and information enables greater efficiency and, in turn, greater profitability.

According to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, between 60% and 72% of data is not used for analysis. As the ability to derive actionable insights from this data has become a competitive necessity, it is vital that all organisations work to identify, manage and use all of their.

In addition, as data collection continues to grow, the risk of information becoming isolated and fragmented, making it more difficult to locate, manage, protect and use for analysis, increases.

Therefore, companies must take a strategic approach to data management and create management strategies that accommodate all types of data, regardless of its origin and storage environments.


Protecting data, a key aspect for regulatory compliance

Dark data also poses a security threat to businesses. More than two-thirds of companies consider privacy breaches to be one of the biggest risks to their business. Therefore, it is important to locate, classify and manage sensitive data, regardless of where it is stored or what its formats are.

To ensure data security and compliance with the regulatory framework, it is important that, first of all, companies carry out an audit of their dark data, that is, that they adopt a data cataloguing and mapping strategy to classify, structure and manage information to scale.

Second, they must encrypt all data assets. No obscure data should be readily available for casual inspection.

Finally, companies should keep in mind that dark data often includes sensitive information that is subject to compliance regimes such as bank accounts or card numbers, for example.

The lack of visibility of this hidden information can cause companies to end up storing data for longer than it should, in breach of regulatory aspects.


The role of data in the circular economy

Dark data is not only a burden on information security and governance, it is also responsible for the emission of millions of tons of CO2 into the atmosphere every year. This means that hidden information is an opportunity for companies to achieve their sustainability goals while improving their bottom line.

When companies gain greater visibility into their data environments, they can use it to measure their transition to a circular economy.

The key to this is, firstly, adopting a more sustainable management of the life cycle of digital assets, then consolidating several databases into a single centrally managed environment, reducing the data footprint by eliminating duplicate records and archiving and finally, safely and sustainably retiring obsolete IT assets, with a focus on reuse.