Night of the Living Dead Data

Loraine Lawson

They say on All Hallows’ Eve, the dead walk the earth and the demons bedevil the streets.

For IT pros, something even scarier lurks in the dark recesses of cyberspace: the Data Undead!

<Insert scream!>

“Today, be on the lookout for mysteriously running out of data storage space on your laptop. Or running up huge data usage charges on your smartphone. Or experiencing dreadfully slow data transfer rates on your wireless network. Or seeing spooky shapes in your data visualizations,” data quality expert Jim Harris explained. “Because today is the day all the data you collected without using, all the data you never deleted just in case you might use it someday, all the data you duplicated because disk space is so cheap nowadays . . . today is when all that invisible data (and not just the data in a gorilla costume) dances around you in ghostly echoes of digital ectoplasm as all of your unused data comes back to haunt you.”

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Five Ways to Know if Your Challenge Is Big Data or Lots of Data

Oh sure, you laugh now. But the living dead data are zombies of sorts. It’s no big deal at first, just one or two unused, old emails, taking up space, but easy to dodge. Then one day that dead data adds up and before you know it — Zombie data-pocalypse!

Harris never misses an opportunity to educate us about the value of data quality, and he’s come up with quite a witty read for Halloween. His post offers 10 rules for preventing a zombie data-pocalypse, including using “kick-ass” data stewards to protect your data and using the data buddy system.

For another fun read on data and Halloween, read how data scientists put Big Data to work to rank Omaha’s sweet spots.

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