We’ve all been there, you’ve cleaned house, and it’s now time to clean under the bed; worse yet, it’s time to clean under the teenager’s bed.
Well, your data estate is probably just like that. We take care of what we can see, what is clearly visible, what is current; what about all that other stuff? You know, legacy data, stuff left over from abandoned projects, mergers, migrations, leavers, contracts, the list is endless.
This data may no longer be relevant or required, but it can’t be ignored. You need to find it, identify it, and take appropriate action. Information Protection, Data Loss prevention, Information Governance are all part of a good, wide-reaching Governance, Risk and Compliance strategy, but to get to where you need to be, you need to know where you are, and data discovery and cleansing is a part of that process.
DLP may help prevent accidental or deliberate information loss or oversharing, but that really only helps with data in active use. Most probably, the dark data lying hidden will only come light during an audit or post-breach investigation; “How did that get out there?”, can soon be followed by, “Where did that come from, and why do we still have that? Why did we ever have that?”
Cleaning house and getting rid of as much of that dark data as possible is also a good idea from a data lifecycle perspective, the less there is, the easier it is to manage and protect, thus reducing your exposure to risk and non-compliance. Also, if conducted before or as part of a cloud migration, it can speed up the migration and greatly reduce storage costs.
If you’ve already completed your migration to M365, there are some great tools in there to help you clean up any data you may no longer need or want; take a look in the Purview Compliance Centre, https://learn.microsoft.com/en-us/purview/
If you’re looking to migrate to M365, then this is the ideal time to get rid of the dross, and the Purview on-premises scanner, https://learn.microsoft.com/en-us/microsoft-365/compliance/deploy-scanner?view=o365-worldwide, can help you find that data and make informed decisions as to its ultimate fate; it’s a bit like one of those robot vacuums, just shove it under the bed and go off and do something else whilst it does its thing, just don’t forget to check the dust bag before you empty it, don’t want to be accidentally throwing out any data diamonds.