rich turner

Dark Data

Rich TurnerVice President of Business Development and Strategic Marketing, C2C, says:

It’s not Dark Matter, or even Dark Energy – but perhaps something just as dangerous for today’s enterprise: Dark Data.

To put it simply, Dark Data it is a term used to define all those bits and pieces of data floating around in your environment that aren’t fully accounted for. Some of the most pertinent examples are ZIP files used to transport large documents or groups of documents and PSTs or personal folder files used by Microsoft Outlook to hold emails, contacts, notes and calendar items on a local desktop or notebook. These locally stored container files may hold vital, even risky, corporate information and are often not embraced in typical corporate retention or archiving processes.

So, why are these files “dark?” Consider the PST file and its potential contents for a moment. PSTs are a collection of email data, the contents of which aren’t available to anyone aside from the file owner. Some, like older Microsoft Outlook auto-archive files, were automatically created, so even the user may not know why they are there or what’s in them.

It can be easy to simply ignore dark data because the act of physically keeping it doesn’t seem that expensive considering today’s low cost of storage. But, if you’re like most companies, you likely have many terabytes of “dark” PST files consuming your storage resources.

So, what’s the answer? Simply put, eliminate this one aspect of dark data by doing away with PST files.

PSTs can be eliminated through a combination of proactive email archiving and reactive policy management techniques. Here it is best to consider a PST management tool that can automatically identify, migrate and dispose of all PST files using set corporate policies.

Moving forward, select an intelligent archiving and information management solution that will apply policy-driven retention and deletion practices that are both automatic and seamless to end users. In a BYOD world this is a critical step.   Many users will need to access email from a mobile device; if their archives are inaccessible, which is the case with PSTs and some less-intelligent archiving solutions, the situation can become even worse as users create “sneakerware” worlds of unmanaged PST files to provide what the new information management solution does not.

If you provide end users with seamless access to their older email information from within a managed archive file, they will never need to create troublesome dark data stores in the future and your exposure to risk will diminish exponentially.

Rich Turner is the Vice President of Business Development and Strategic Marketing for C2C Systems, a leading provider of email archiving and information management solution.  An expert on the topic of eDiscovery and information governance, Turner has also served in leadership roles with companies including Content Analyst Company, Partminer Inc., Eventective, Inc., and Softbank Content Services’ European division (which is now part of A.C. Nielsen).  Rich holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature from the University of Bridgeport, and a Master’s Degree in International Business from Columbia University. He can be reached at 508-870-2205 or rich.turner@c2c.com