When it comes to the management and handling data so that it is useable, the public sector is – despite common perceptions – beating the private sector.

This is according to research by Veritas Technologies, which focused on how the sector handles data, and whether it has been converted into a useable form.

It found that 30% of data stored by organisations in the public sector is considered clean and has a known value – in other words, its owners know what it contains and it is useful. And while this may not seem like a particularly large percentage, it compares favourably to private sector companies, where only 15% is clean.

The amount of redundant, obsolete and trivial (ROT) data – essentially junk – is also lower compared to the private sector, accounting for 20% of all public sector data, compared to 35% in private companies.

Dark data remains a problem for the public sector

However, when it comes to dark data – that is, data where the value isn’t known, both are at 50%, which according to Veritas has a severe impact on efficiency.

And what’s more, much of this data is dark because it isn’t being tagged when it is created, with 27% of those surveyed across all sectors saying they almost never tag data.

Furthermore, 83% don’t do this because they are under the impression that it is expensive to do.

“There is a misconception that tagging data must be a long, laborious and costly process, but it doesn’t have to be – all you need is the right insight into data,” said Andy Warren, UK&I director, public sector, at Veritas Technologies.

“The average survey respondent was spending as much as £696,460 a year on data storage, half of which is dark. Tagging data, as basic as it sounds, is the first step in getting control of it, and can very effectively form the foundation to a programme that reduces cost and increases efficiency.”


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