The Top 5 Data Challenges

During my daily work as a solution consultant for Spigraph I see a lot of challenges regarding data and especially managing data with our customers.

Category: Analyse • Author: Spigraph B.V. • Published: 12 May 2020 • Article link

“Data”- every organization has it, no modern business can do without it, but have you ever thought about how much data your organization has, in what formats it’s in and where it’s stored? You should!

Storing data comes with its own unique challenges, organizations now, more than ever, need to be more disciplined about what data they are storing, where they store it, who has access to it and how long it should be kept. These aren’t just recommendations; they’re laws. Through experiences with various customer and partner interactions, I’ve created a brief synopsis of the top 5 challenges that I currently see.

1. The Dark Data Problem
2. The ROT Data Problem
3. The Compliance & PII Problem
4. The Migration Problem
5. The Searching for data Problem

1. The Dark Data Problem
Dark Data = Dark Content; Data that you don’t remember storing and you don’t realise is out there.

Why is Dark data a problem for me? Should I be concerned about dark data in my company?

Dark data is a problem in any size company and taking appropriate steps to uncover and identify your Dark Data can negate risks such as:

  • Possible security vulnerabilities
    • You can’t ensure the data is protected if you don’t even know it exists!
  • Potential legal Liabilities
    • Hidden pockets of data can present risk if not properly managed
    • Applying approved retention schedules is an essential part of closing any compliance gaps.

Due to its nature, dark data can be complex to find and analyse.

2. The ROT Data Problem
ROT Data = Redundant, obsolete, Trivial

ROT has no business or legal value, its duplicated, outdated and unmanaged. 

If it has no value, why are you paying for its storage? “Storage is cheap!” I hear often, it’s true, however, the crux of it is…you’re still paying for something you don’t need! This is further compounded when looking at cloud storage, as your storage need increases, so do the costs.

ROT also fills search results with unnecessary answers (noise), which means wasted time by employees looking for more relevant results, picture that time when you’ve found half a dozen versions of the same file or document, and you want the original?….. The time you then spend looking for a ‘freeware’ file comparison tool or plugin to download, to find out, just to be sure, which is the master version.

If it has no value, why are you paying for its storage? It fills search results with unnecessary answers and thus adds to time wasted by employees looking for relevant data. Unmanaged content is vulnerable to data breaches, and again poses liability risks if it breaches legal retention periods.

Identifying ROT is not easy unless you have the right solution.

3. The Compliance & PII Problem

PII = Personal identifiable information, information that could be used to potentially identify a specific individual or distinguish them from another.

GDPR = General Data Protection Regulation

If a business wants to adhere to the latest data laws and regulations (think GDPR for example), need to follow best practices (maybe as specified in a contract with another company, or general ISO standard(s)), they will no doubt have an arduous task facing them. Looking through the entire data of any business (keep in mind also ‘Dark Data’) to understand what PII exists, where it is, if it’s being stored correctly and being able to categorize it is one thing (a colossal task in itself), but also can’t be thought of as a ‘onetime’ exercise either, as data will continue to be amassed each and every Day.

And just being able to do the above is not the end, for example; if a GDPR Data Subject Access Request (DSAR) is received by an organization you have just 30 Days to respond to it, this means not only knowing what PII you have etc., but being able to efficiently search through it, compile what is required, proof read it and then apply any redactions, where required.   

4. The Data Migration Problem
Data migration clean-up is generally the final step prior to migrating data to a new system or storage solution, whether that’s on-prem, to a cloud or between clouds, you’ll want to evaluate your data before you move it. Before you can even make basic decisions on what should be migrated and what can simply be deleted, you’ll need a lower level insight on the data. An understanding of details such as knowing what’s in a (and not limited to) file, folder, e-mail, e-mail attachment is invaluable for helping you recognize where this content should be stored in its new destination and potentially how long it can then be kept for? 

5. The Searching for data Problem
How much time are your employees wasting looking for files?

We can all relate, when we think how much time we’ve each spent sifting through files in multiple locations, trying to find that one mislabeled 10th version of a slide deck, and how much time is then spent re-creating it when it’s not found.

Vital information can be spread across email, docs, spreadsheets, chat and more, all stored across various repositories throughout your organization.

I can say with a degree of confidence, that most people reading this paper, will have at least one of these issues in their organization or even faced them firsthand.

How do you handle these challenges?

There are currently several solutions in the market that offer a solution to the above challenges, like 3s.Discovery or 3s.Redact. Feel free to contact us or your local Spigraph contact to learn more about these solutions or discuss other data challenges. Download this White Paper right here.