Veritas Global Databerg Report Finds 85 Percent of Stored Data is Either Dark or Redundant, Obsolete or Trivial (ROT)

15 March 2016

Veritas Technologies, the global leader in information management, today released the results of its Global Databerg Report. The survey reveals that 52 percent of all information currently stored and processed by organizations around the world is considered ‘dark’ data, whose value is unknown. Additionally, another 33 percent of data is considered redundant, obsolete or trivial (ROT), and is known to be useless. If left untamed, this dark and ROT business data will unnecessarily cost organizations around the world a cumulative $3.3 trillion by the year 2020 to manage.

Organizations are creating and storing data at an ever-increasing rate due to a ‘data hoarding’ culture and an indifferent attitude to retention policy. This data could be anything from valuable business information to non-compliant information. The report reveals that IT leaders consider just 15 percent of all stored data to be classified as business critical information. For the average midsized organization holding 1000TB of data, the cost to store non-critical information is estimated at more than $650,000 annually.

“Understanding and acknowledging that a data hoarding culture exists is the first step in addressing the problem,” said Ben Gibson, Chief Marketing Officer of Veritas. “More and more organizations are realizing it. The problem most face is they do not know what data to start with, what risk it may contain, and where the value is discovered. Once they have visibility into that environment, they can make decisions faster, with more confidence, and bring in other business stakeholders to move forward with a well-conceived plan.”

The Veritas Global Databerg Report provides insights from over 2,500 IT professionals in 22 countries. It follows the company’s introduction of the Data Genomics Index, the industry’s first accurate view of the composition of enterprise data based on analysis of billions of files. The Data Genomics Index found that over 40 percent of stored data has not been touched in more than three years, and is considered ‘stale.’ The Global Databerg Report confirms that IT leaders are aware of this problem. These two industry-first studies marry employee perspective with file system reality and together can be a catalyst for organizations to finally address the crippling data growth dynamic.

The Vast Majority of Business Data Sits Below the Waterline

Around the world, the Global Databerg Report found that on average 52 percent of all stored data is dark and could either be ROT or valuable clean business data. The worst offenders are Germany, Canada and Australia with respectively 66 percent, 64 percent and 62 percent of their stored data defined as dark, leaving the U.S. in a mid-range position with 54 percent of their data being unknown. The highest proportion of clean and identified business critical data was found in China (25 percent clean), Israel (24 percent clean) and Brazil (22 percent clean). But this still means that more than 75 percent of all data they are storing is dark or has no value for the business.

A Fear of the Delete Key

ROT data has already been identified by organizations to provide little or no business value, but still, 48 percent of all stored data in Denmark, 44 percent in the Netherlands and 43 percent of all data in the United Arab Emirates belongs to this category. Additionally, 30 percent of data stored in the U.S. is ROT data.

The Race to the Cloud is Feeding the Databerg

Cloud adoption and processing is set to increase by more than a third during 2016 from 33 percent to 46 percent, with Brazil and the U.S. leading with an average of 61 percent of data predicted to be in the cloud by the end of the year. Although the short term driver is cost reduction, there is increasing concern over lock-in costs in the future – pushing data to the cloud can just move the problem further away, adding to the unclassified dark data.

Consumerization of IT Has Blurred the Lines for Employees

Hitching a ride on corporate IT means businesses pay to store data that has no business value to them.

On average, 26.5 percent of employees store personal data on their work devices. Because so much is dark, IT cannot tell which data has business value and which is just ‘cat videos.’

More Personal Data Than Ever Exists on Corporate Networks

Not understanding what is being stored on corporate resources is very risky and leaves no ‘plausible denials’ in the event of regulatory or criminal investigation. Over 25 percent of employees store personal data on work devices ranging from personal, legal and identification documents (57 percent), photos (57 percent), music (47 percent) down to video (33 percent) and games (26 percent). It may seem innocent at first, but many of these documents may trigger new data privacy rules in regional jurisdictions or potential copyright issues.

The Global Databerg Report is a large global independent survey covering 2,550 senior IT decision makers across 22 countries. The study, conducted for Veritas by research firm Vanson Bourne, looks at how organizations across the world (including the Americas, Europe, Middle East, and Asia Pacific) store and manage their data, highlighting attitudes and behaviors that are fueling an unprecedented data explosion.

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