The Added Value of a Data Retention Policy in 21st Century Companies

The retention or preservation of corporate data means the distribution of data backup copies through specific work environments. According to IDC, the progress that digital technology has made is allowing annual growth of the data, worldwide, between 50 and 60 percent, during the five-year period of 2008-2012.

Around 95 percent of said data is of a de-structured nature (emails, text and music files, documents, images, and videos, etc.). End users generate around 70 percent of that content, which they can easily share beyond the limits of the organization in which they carry out their activity. Also, these end users are storing personal data in shared resources on the network where they know they will have the corresponding backup copy. Much of the unstructured data of a company has little to do with your business, and a significant amount of them are redundant.

The Reality of Data Retention for Companies

In reality, most storage environments are a mix of active, inactive, irrelevant and old data. And IT managers must deal with this reality most efficiently and at the lowest possible cost (yes, helped because these costs fall annually around 50 percent).

When the retention of the data is affected by various circumstances (from those referring to the business itself to the needs of the end users, going through the requirements in terms of regulation and or compliance or historical issues) very often the cheap storage it is seen as the solution to the challenge of growing the volume of data. But record retension laws can be very difficult to carry out if these requirements are very conflicting, as is the case in the more developed countries.

That is why many companies are applying a long-term data retention policy regardless of whether they are active, inactive, irrelevant or old. While this practice may be assumable in certain types of data, the indiscriminate application of long-term retention policies that do not take into account the idiosyncrasy of such data or the use of the storage capacity of an organization can lead to inefficiencies. If we take into account that the number of bytes of data is duplicated every 18 months and that IT budgets tend to fall, buying more storage space to keep data of very varied nature is an expensive proposal that will not solve the problem of corporate information management.

Also, long-term retention without an idea about the characteristics of the data does not allow the accurate prediction of storage needs. In fact, the cost of managing it increases by 30 to 40 percent each year, and inefficiencies and complexities grow as heterogeneous storage devices are added to the organization’s data center. And, in spite of everything, the main challenge for IT administrators lies not so much in the growth of the data as in the way to develop long-term management policies specifically crafted for various kinds of available data.

The ideal solution is to face these challenges by allowing an increase in the use of existing storage resources, adding only those assets when absolutely necessary.