This “cold data” is only very rarely, if ever, accessed and used. They are increasingly clogging corporate servers at a significant financial cost.
1.3 billion gigabytes or the equivalent of 1.3 billion high-definition DVDs. It is the gigantic weight of the cold data generated by companies every day in the world.
This cold data – also called “black data” or even “dark data”, “forgotten data” – constitutes all the data collected by companies that are only very rarely or never accessed and used by companies.
They are generated by the daily interactions of users, employees, customers, external service providers. They include both technical data (server log files), but also geolocation data, emails and attached files, former employee data, presentations, financial results, customer call records, etc.
And the growing use of connected objects (IOT) leads at the same time to a massive production of this cold data.
52% of data stored worldwide
Overall, they would represent at least 52% of the data stored in the world, for a company can be counted in millions or even billions of files. Companies that are unable to quantify the volume of dormant data versus exploitable and exploited data.
This data sleeping in their servers or third-party data centers (datacenters) also costs them money. First they clutter up your storage space (which increases your business bill for this expense) and consume energy for nothing.
According to a study by “Le GreenIT”, these data represent up to 14% of the digital environmental footprint in France, or 2.3 million tonnes of CO2 emitted, figures that are in any case very difficult to verify, but one thing is certain: they tend to increase exponentially every year.
2 billion euros per month
From a financial point of view, they would cost 2 billion euros a month to companies on a global scale according to a study by the American company IDC.
“This inflation is due to certain legal obligations implemented on data, to the daily life of companies but also and above all to the fear of companies of deleting this data in the ‘just in case’ mode”, explains to BFM Business, Emmanuelle Ertel, Managing Director Innovation & Trust of the Tessi group, a service company that aims to sort this data (about a hundred customers in France, mainly in the banking and insurance sector).
However, the issue still does not seem to mobilize companies and their management.
“It’s a priority topic that has no priority. Most companies believe that this cold data does not generate a significant cost, but with electricity prices soaring, the cost of storage in data centers (calculated in gigabytes, ndr ) is also likely to flare up,” warns Emmanuelle Ertel.
Companies are “afraid” of deleting data
Additionally, the law requires companies to delete certain data. Therefore, personal data cannot be kept indefinitely: a retention period must be determined by the data controller based on the purpose that led to the collection of such data. This principle of limited retention of personal data is provided for by the GDPR and the data protection law.
Problem, “archiving policies are often heterogeneous and in the end we don’t know where the data is, especially in SMEs that have few resources. The smaller the company, the more it accumulates. A bit like the general public who reproduce their habits paper with data. The first problem is therefore access”, underlines the specialist.
So, it’s a matter of selecting between cold data that needs to stay cold, cold data that you can exploit, and cold data that you want to permanently delete.
“Few companies are aware of the richness of their cold data, it’s an asset but we don’t see it. For the rest, we must stop being afraid of deleting data, especially when the law requires it” says the manager.
And several actions should be highlighted: “rethinking archiving, establishing purge policies in compliance with the rules, establishing the means of exploitation, all in a logic of carbon accounting”.