Rise of ‘dark data’ poses growing danger to businesses

CHICAGO and NEW YORK, October 6, 2022 — Dark data represents the greatest potential cybersecurity exposure for U.S. and U.K. businesses, according to a special cybersecurity edition of the DealMaker Meter report, “Understanding Risk: The Dark Side of Data,” from Donnelley Financial Solutions (NYSE: DFIN), a leading risk and compliance company. Defined as data that a company has collected but no longer needs – ranging from outdated customer information to old employee records – dark data is often forgotten and unprotected by companies, creating significant liabilities as well as tempting targets for cybercriminals.

The rise of dark data has accompanied increased business interest in accumulating a wide variety of data sets (often referred to as Big Data), which can be used to improve marketing, product development, customer service and a host of other activities. Dark data can be unstructured, sensitive, personal, regulated, vulnerable, or high-risk information that an organization has collected and stored over time.

Nearly seven out of 10 business leaders surveyed said storing data poses more risk than value. But while 33% of senior executives and IT staff are aware of the risks of dark data, 18% of others within organizations are less knowledgeable.

In addition to worrying about handling dark data, 96% of executives are concerned about data fraud and 95% worry that data breach incidents will increase over the next two years. Rightly so, given that more than half experienced an incident this year and others reported having had more than five incidents of data breaches and/or data fraud in the past year.

A key takeaway from the report is that IT departments should deploy technologies to better find, secure, and sanitize dark data.

Other key findings include:

  • Prepare for tomorrow: Business leaders are focused on improving how their companies protect sensitive data, with 77% adopting new policies and processes, 72% increasing reporting metrics, and 75% investing in partners , software and solutions.
  • Technology first: To improve protection, more than 83% said they would choose new technology tools over adding more team members, the choice of only 17%.

Containing insights from a panel of finance, legal, human resources and IT professionals from leading public and private companies in the US and UK, the special fall edition of the DealMaker Meter is an online tool that provides insight into cybersecurity and dark data. concerns. It is designed to help business decision makers better understand key topics impacting their industry and the world around them.

“This report shows that the appetite for big data within enterprises comes at a cost,” said Dannie Combs, chief information security officer at DFIN. “Our customers are increasingly turning to us to help them mitigate the risks associated with dark data. We are seeing an influx of requests from enterprises to leverage virtual data rooms as enterprise repositories for storing, secure and manage data across all departments, including finance, legal, HR and R&D. Our Data Protect software is used worldwide by customers to cost-effectively find and remove obscure data on disparate computer systems.

This special fall edition of the DealMaker Meter, “Understanding Risk: The Dark Side of Data,” is available for download from the DFIN website here.

About Donnelley Financial Solutions (DFIN)

DFIN is a global leader in risk management and compliance solutions. We provide domain expertise, enterprise software, and data analytics for every stage of our clients’ business and investment lifecycles. Markets fluctuate, regulations evolve, technology advances and through it all, DFIN delivers confidence with the right solutions in times that matter. Discover DFIN’s end-to-end risk management and compliance solutions online at DFINsolutions.com or you can also follow us on Twitter @DFINSolutions or on LinkedIn.

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