GDPR Compliance and Dark Data

With GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) taking effect this month, companies must have a clear insight into the data they have stored. Dark data can be a problem complying with the GDPR regulations however it also offers opportunities.

Dark data also called unstructured data and its volume is growing with 62% per year. Dark data can be defined as information being collected and recorded by an organisation as a result of normal activities however it is not being used for any other purposes. The data can be sourced from e-mails, documents, instant messages or digital news or just data which is not being used or analysed. As GDPR is coming into effect soon companies must know what data is being stored. Getting an insight is easy for structured data but dark data is more difficult to manage. Dark data is spread over the IT structure and often dark data has not got any ownership.

GDPR Compliance and Dark Data

How is dark data created?

Dark data is is mostly text based but can also be video, audio or images. Employees of an organisation mostly create the dark data. For example in an organisation it is encouraged that members of staff store things “just in case it may be needed in the future”. These are not only documents a member of staff creates but also recorded phone calls with clients, chat logs or instant messaging.

All data created via these activities is called dark data. Most of it will never be used again. Members of staff are leaving, clients take their business elsewhere or organisation priorities change. In most cases no one has the task or even the time to remove this data which will possibly never be used again.

Dark data and GDPR

In the past there were no regulations regarding dark data. However GDPR will force that organisations to have insight in data processes and storage. From the 25th May businesses need to know what data they store about a “data subject” (client, employee for example) and share this data upon request. Organisations are also required to show how and when the data subject gave permission to use and record their data. Also it can be asked to prove that the stored data is only being used for the purpose for which the data subject gave permission.

It is now time for companies to start structuring their dark data. It will help to comply with GDPR but there are more advantages. Analysing unstructured data gives an opportunity to gain insights. Analytics can transform dark data into valuable strategic insights.

For example logs stored on servers can contain valuable data about the behavior of visitors to a website. Recorded phone calls can give insights about the sentiments and needs of customers. By structuring and analysing dark data a company can gain valuable insights which would otherwise have been lost.

At Tech-Wales we offer excellent IT consultancy services and cloud computing services ensuring all personal data is kept in a safe environment according to GDPR. We offer service at competitive rates with great customer care. Feel free to contact us on 01639 326001 for an initial consultation how we can help your IT structure.