INSIGHT: How NZ businesses can address the data hoarding problem

Organisations are hoarding massive amounts of data in New Zealand - a lot of which is never accessed, and offers no real benefit to the organisation.

Organisations are hoarding massive amounts of data in New Zealand - a lot of which is never accessed, and offers no real benefit to the organisation.

“Hoarded data is the stuff organisations keep, but don’t really need," says Rob Johnston, senior solution architect, UXC Connect.

"We’re all aware that the data we create, and the storage needed to hold it, is growing exponentially each year.

"We’re told this is the era of big data, and that the more data we have, the better we are able to extract the information to create knowledge that supports greater analysis, better decision-making and competitive difference."

However, Johnston says most organisations are holding a lot of unnecessary or irrelevant data which comes in many forms, such as files, database dumps, directories, SharePoint files, Exchange Journals and user mailboxes and public folders, and even entire virtual machines.

"The cost of doing that eats up a large chunk of ICT budgets in terms of the infrastructure required to store the data and the resources required to manage it," he adds.

While various compliance regimes call for retention of data for specific periods of time, and operational and strategic planning certainly depend on looking back to make decisions to move forward, Johnston believes this still leaves a large quantity of unnecessary or redundant information.

"Organisations need to look at strategies for smart data storage including buying efficient storage space, data archiving and virtualisation," he adds.

Four areas where organisations can reduce the burden of data hoarding...

1. Storage space

According to Johnston, hoarding unnecessary data is a waste of expensive storage space.

"Even stored inexpensively in the cloud, it still costs money unnecessarily," he says.

"If organisations halve the quantity of data stored, they could halve their storage costs.

"Even though it may cost them in the short term to create policies and processes to determine what they need to keep and what can be deleted on an ongoing basis, the future benefits will very quickly pay for themselves and recoup further savings along the way."

2. Reduce real-time data

Different types of storage have different costs, with real-time live data the costliest to hold.

"By reducing real-time data, organisations will be able to take advantage of less speedy but still secure and reliable data retrieval technologies, while improving the performance of real-time data access," Johnston adds.

3. Data protection and security

Johnston believes this needs to be increased when organisations are holding unnecessary data.

"Organisations are legally responsible for protecting all the data they store," he explains.

"If an organisation suffers a data breach, it faces exposure for all information compromised, which is a very good reason for taking unnecessary data offline or deleting it."

4. Productivity

Johnston says this is an issue for both the ICT professionals charged with managing and protecting data, and users trying to access reliable, current information.

"Organisation of data is much more difficult when there’s simply too much of it," he adds.

"The inability to easily and quickly locate correct information can ultimately lead to bad decision-making and ineffective customer service."

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