ROT data is not just inefficient, it’s downright dangerous to businesses

In Singapore, SMEs and other MNCs have to consider taking proactive steps in information governance, especially when there are business ties with others operating in the EU bloc.

This vendor-written piece has been edited by Executive Networks Media to eliminate product promotion, but readers should note it will likely favour the submitter's approach.

E-commerce in the Asia Pacific is booming. Consumers have taken to digital channels to meet their consumption needs, and likewise, Asian companies have responded to this digital opportunity with speed and urgency. Within the Asia-Pacific market, e-commerce sales in the Asia Pacific would have surpassed US$1 trillion by the end of 2016, which makes up fully half of worldwide e-commerce sales.

A serious compliance risk

All this hunger for B2C and increasingly, B2B digital interactions have led to Asia's companies amassing a growing torrent of data. Currently, at Asia's steep data growth trajectory, the amount of data stored by businesses nearly doubles every 12 to 18 months.Also, with more real-time data generation, complex queries, and a variety of sources, companies around the world now find themselves drowning in data and scattering their information across multiple networks, servers and in the cloud. This fragmented storage strategy may lead to companies losing visibility or control of their data, and unwittingly fall foul of data protection laws.

Singapore has chosen to implement the Personal Data Protection Act (PDPA) since 2013, which created a wave of change locally. With the European Commission's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) coming into force by May 2018, companies with operations in those markets will need to harmonize their data management policies to fall in line, and it is not something that can be achieved overnight.

Full of un-usable "stuff'

Imagine living in a house where half of your furniture is unable to serve a specific purpose like offer a seat to a visitor. Another one-third of furnishings in the same house looks as if it's straight out of the 70's. That's the situation facing companies today: As much as 52 per cent of information stored by many enterprises are currently 'dark' data, or data whose value is unknown, according to a global survey commissioned by Veritas. Another 33 per cent of data are considered Redundant, Obsolete or Trivial (ROT), and is not of any use to the organisation.

More than often, dark data is a result of companies lacking data visibility and management. It is usually not a case of wilful disobedience but the cost of non-compliance is high nevertheless.

Inevitably, with an increase in cross-border transactions and international transfers of data, there is a likelihood that data protection regulatory regimes throughout ASEAN will require greater harmonisation and it is critical for companies operating throughout the region to develop their compliance positions to avoid regulatory investigations, fines, and other sanctions.

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