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Data bloat? Six ways you can trim fat for lean information governance in 2014

Doug Kaminski, Vice President – Actiance, Inc. | May 16, 2014
Just like the pounds that can creep up on us over the years if we're not careful, an enterprise can accumulate massive amounts of data. In fact, IDC predicts that enterprise data growth will average around 50% each year through 2016 and storage costs are expected to consume close to 20% of the typical IT budget in 2014.

This vendor-written tech primer has been edited by Network World to eliminate product promotion, but readers should note it will likely favor the submitter's approach.

Just like the pounds that can creep up on us over the years if we're not careful, an enterprise can accumulate massive amounts of data. In fact, IDC predicts that enterprise data growth will average around 50% each year through 2016 and storage costs are expected to consume close to 20% of the typical IT budget in 2014. 

What's more, the increase in the use of non-email communications such as instant messaging, enterprise social platforms and social media will drive up enterprise data volumes exponentially. According to Allison Walton, CEO of information governance consultancy Fortis Quay, "Many meaningful and material conversations are being conducted in these mediums and must be controlled, captured, and be discovery ready."

The sheer volume of data has downstream implications on the cost of legal, regulatory and internal investigations. The data has to be located and collected, preserved and integrity maintained, and sifted through to find relevant data. This often means using eDiscovery software and large numbers of legal professionals at significant cost per incident. 

"With more than half of data in discovery collections being duplicative, especially with email, and less than 30% being relevant or responsive, it's safe to assume the other 20% could be office banter and/or news sources. Organizations, by and large, haven't invested the proper policy and technological approaches to avoid archiving junk", said Walton.   

Gartner estimates that every single gigabyte of data that can be justifiably removed from the collection saves the company an average of $18,000. With typical data storage running into the terabytes and petabytes these days, that savings could amount to millions of dollars for the average company. However, determining what to dispose of takes time and discipline and most companies just instruct IT to "save everything".

To make things worse, the confusing and endless array of regulations, such as Dodd-Frank, FRCP, HIPAA, FCPA and Sarbanes-Oxley, and those from the regulatory bodies such as the DOJ, SEC, FINRA, FERC, FDA, CFTC and FFIEC, require expertise resources to ensure compliance. This leads companies to over preserve data to avoid penalties, sanctions, or worse. Further, most records retention policies and systems were built around old paradigms that no longer scale for the volume and breadth of data today.

Trimming Data Fat

The solution to this excess is defensible disposal. The Compliance, Governance and Oversight Council (CGOC), a forum of over 1,900 legal, IT, records and information management professionals from corporations and government agencies, has found that 69% of information in most companies has no business, legal or regulatory value. With that in mind, the following tips will help you get your data back into fighting shape and ensure that the weight loss isn't just temporary:

 

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