Delete It

The easiest option. If your business is storing gigabytes or terabytes of data it isn’t using, that it isn’t required to store for regulatory compliance, and that isn’t well understood by anyone at the company, simply throwing it away is an option.

Deleting the data solves two problems. Firstly, if you’re not storing data, it can’t leak from your network and embarrass your company. Secondly, data storage costs money, and if the data is unused, that money is wasted.

Analyze It


If the data is already stored on a cloud platform, it’s perfectly placed for analysis. This course of action requires an investment by the company and may well mean hiring someone who has the expertise to deploy and manage an analytics solution.

The benefits here are obvious. The company learns what value the data represents, becomes cognizant of any risks it represents, and can apply any insights gleaned to future decision-making.

Be Smart About Data Collection

Data itself is of no real value. It’s just ones and zeros until the business forms some plan for dealing with it. The best way to make sure that data doesn’t become dark data is to have clear goals in mind — a big data strategy — that informs what data is to be collected and what value the company hopes to reap from its collection.

Data is an asset and a potential liability, the only way to know what your business’ collected data represents is to invest resources in shaping a coherent strategy that encompasses data collection, storage, and analysis.