Making sense of Dark Data

By: Sonny Zulhuda

BIG-DATAWhile big data is by now a commonly heard term, dark data is not. Some participants in the recently-held Singapore Symposium whispered to me that they had never heard about the term – so you can say they were in dark about Dark Data.

The term is new to me as well! Except that I have had a little earlier opportunity than those guys to read about it and to finally make sense of it.

It all rooted from the fact that we have had an abundance of data around us, and how much those abundant data are capable of being sourced as information. Yes, it is about Big Data. As we know, Big Data is about quantifying everything possible to be a data. A person’s identity is no longer depending on what is printed on documents (ID, passport, certificates) about him. A person is now identifiable from his mumbling words, his movement, his location, his mood and even the pattern of what he will do every day. All those data are being quantified and measured due to their availability from myriads of media, devices, and interactions (both human and artificial). What makes it possible? You name it: Mobile gadgets, Social media, CCTVs and commercial transactions you have been making, to name a few.

In organisational life, the same is happening. More and more data are collected and stored by organisations, manually and electronically. Data of employees (and their mumbling words, movements, location, mood, etc.), of visitors, of business transactions, of internal meetings, of vendor’s works, of all reports, records and repositories, etc. are increasingly collected, stored…. but not necessarily used. In many occasions those data are no longer usable after their first collection, and yet they still fill up the organisation’s storage (recent research indicates that these unusable data may stack up to 70% of oganisations’ data).

Those are dark data. Untapped, untagged and sometimes unknown data.

Now is this: the fact that they remain unused does not mean they are valueless. You can run this simple test: Should you dump all these data to your competitor or any third party, would there be a loss to suffer? What about a competitive loss, breach of secrets, infringement of privacy, reputation loss, legal liability? If yes, then such Dark Data should be urgently managed.

That is the first message that I delivered in my 1-hour talk in Singapore yesterday.

Privacy Impact Assessment (PIA) – In the Light of the Data Protection Law in Malaysia

By: Sonny Zulhuda

ImageLast time In May ’12, I was invited by the Federation of Public Listed Companies (FPLC) and the Malaysian Institute of Corporate Governance (MICG) to speak in their National Conference on IT Governance, Data Protection and Cyber Security.

I chose to speak about the importance of the Privacy Impact Assessment (PIA) as an implementing tool for complying with the data management rules and obligations under the law. The exact title of my presentation was “Privacy Impact Assessment for a Better Corporate Governance: The New Legal Landscape in Managing Corporate Data Assets.”

In fact, this was the first time I spoke about it. I just felt that people especially the corporate citizens need to be told in a more practical way on why and how they should comply with the laws on personal data management, i.e. the Personal Data Protection Act 2010 as far as Malaysia is concerned.

The PDPA itself is, of course, silent about this PIA. But that does not mean having or executing a PIA would be useless. PIA is indeed a very helpful organisational tool to ensure compliance with the law on data protection. Malaysian law is not excepted. Continue reading

Isu-isu Keselamatan dan ‘Privacy’ dalam Penggunaan E-mail di Premis Kerja

Oleh: Sonny Zulhuda

Saat ini e-mail telah menjadi media komunikasi yang makin popular baik untuk konteks komunikasi personal maupun untuk komunikasi rasmi dan urusan berbisnis. Hal ini disebabkan oleh semakin pesatnya kemajuan teknologi komunikasi dan maklumat menerusi Internet yang telahpun dipakai oleh hampir semua bidang industri dan sektor kerajaan di Malaysia. Hal ini pula merupakan konsekuensi dari perkembangan aplikasi e-government bagi bidang awam dan kerajaan, serta e-commerce bagi sektor industri dan swasta.

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Managing Online Risks through Contractual Instruments

By: Sonny Zulhuda

By transforming to the workplace environment that uses the Internet and other devices of information and communications technology (ICT) as the enabler in running their businesses, organizations are exposed to potential risks out of the abuse and misuse of the said technology by internal employees and any strangers outside the company alike. Such misuse can take the form of security breaches, theft of company’s informational assets, lost productivity, wasted computer resources, electronic viral infections, business interruption and public embarrassment should a workplace lawsuit be filed.

While lots are done for preventing external hackers from jeopardizing internal network and information system, risks from internal sources are often overlooked by most companies. In fact, the threats exposed by these ‘internal saboteurs’ may be as great as the external intruders, and therefore may be as harmful as the external sources of threats.

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Electronic Privacy at Workplace

By: Sonny Zulhuda

Introduction

The massive use of internet and other appliances of information and communications technologies (ICT) at the workplace has intensified productivity through intensive communications between employers and employees as well as between a company and external parties including customers, clients, regulators, etc. Most workplace has now installed Internet and email system by which the employees and employers build their networks and communications both internally and externally. Electronic mail, or e-mail, is a boon to office communications. All employees can be notified instantaneously of important office matters. Phone messages can be logged on the computer and sent via e-mail. A message for someone in a meeting can be e-mailed.

However, what most employees fail to realize with respect to e-mail is that:

  • They are probably not the only person who has access to their e-mail, despite the password protection;
  • Electronic mail, even if deleted from their personal databases, can be saved in numerous forms by the computer’s own internal backup systems, or by the person to whom the e-mail is being sent.

There is arising concern on employees’ email surveillance that has been widely practiced by employers. This practice, while seen important for maintaining ‘due diligence’ of a company, gives rise to questions of intrusion to privacy.

Continue reading

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