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Dormant data linked with millions of tonnes of unnecessary emissions

(Image credit: Image Credit: Billion Photos / Shutterstock)

When it comes to reducing CO2 emissions, digitising data and working towards a paperless future can play a major role. However, new research suggests that digital data could also be a part of the problem.

According to new figures from Veritas, many businesses store a wealth of digital data that is never used. This storage of this data is using up vast amounts of energy, and producing an enormous quantity of unnecessary emissions.

Veritas projections show this dormant data causes 5.8 million tonnes of carbon dioxide to be pumped into the atmosphere every year.

“In order to protect the planet from this waste, businesses need to get on top of their data management strategies, use the right tools to identify which data is valuable, and rid their data centres of dark data,” said the data management firm.

Veritas claims this unused and unclassified information - that it refers to as 'dark data' - accounts, on average, for 52 percent of all business data.

Given the overall volume of data in storage is set to grow to 175ZB by 2025, the issue is only set to become more acute.

According to Veritas, tackling dark data will help businesses not only reduce their carbon footprint, but also minimise expenditure and strengthen compliance.

Best practices include identifying and unpacking all data stores, automating the discovery of data and insight routines,  and placing controls around data.