Dark Data

What is Dark Data?

Gartner defines dark data as the information assets organizations collect, process and store during regular business activities, but generally fail to use for other purposes (for example, analytics, business relationships and direct monetizing).

It has been estimated that most companies only truly analyze about 1% of their data, making the rest virtually obsolete. Oftentimes, there are multiple copies of the same document in many locations across a company’s data stores. This can cause increased data storage costs and can end up being more of a risk than it’s worth.


Unknown electronic information that resides in repositories across the organization


Unstructured and unindexed data not being analyzed or used


Inactive and orphaned files that are no longer needed for business


Repeat data stored in multiple locations, containing the same information

Why It Matters

Most dark data is unstructured and unindexed, and therefore contains information not necessarily known to the organization holding the data. The continuous storage of dark data can put an organization at risk, especially if this data is sensitive (containing personal customer data, or internal trade secrets). Dark data can be especially damaging in the case of a breach, as the unknowns can result in serious financial or legal repercussions.

What You Can Do About It

Setting up your organization with the right content management solution for what you do can make a big difference. Content management solutions can help your organization analyze all data, provide insights into data storage and potential risks, and help eliminate overall storage costs.