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Effective data management: 4 essential pillars

Companies today face many challenges when it comes to data management. Data continues to grow at exponential rates, but not all is created equal. This is where proper data management can be critical to a company.

Many companies are left scratching their heads when it comes to deciding what information is useful, what can be discarded, what is required to be kept, where the data should reside, and how it should be secured. Lack of answers can increase a company’s risk, adversely impacting IT spending, potentially subject the company to regulatory fines, lawsuits and, bad publicity.

1. Protecting your data

We can all agree that protecting information is important. Not only is protecting data important in the traditional security sense, but it is equally important to protect it from being deleted or being lost. A strong backup and recovery system is in place. When data is involved, the concern becomes not a matter of if, something will happen, but when. The ability to restore and recover your data can make or break a company. A strong backup and recovery solution can scale, protect legacy and modern workloads, and be flexible no matter where the data resides whether it’s on-premises, or in the cloud.

2. Confidence in the cloud

Many companies today have adopted some aspect of cloud use. Moving email to Office 365 or Google G-Suite? Guess what? Those cloud providers are under no obligation to back up your data. The responsibility is still on the customer.

Utilizing cloud storage? How does a company know what data is held in the cloud? Looking to migrate workloads to the cloud? A well-thought-out plan that incorporates automation to remove human error, and the ability to test and re-test to ensure a smooth migration is key to success. What happens when the cloud you are in isn’t working as expected, or costs begin to get too high? What’s the exit strategy? Questions like this should be taken into consideration and planned for in advance.

3. Reducing storage growth and cost

As stated earlier, companies are accumulating more and more data. But does that mean a company needs to hold on to everything, indefinitely? The more data a company holds, the more it spends on storage and manpower; longer backup processing and the potential for delays.

Most companies have ‘dark data’. Dark data is data intro which a company lacks visibility. Sure, they can see that a file share is taking up 2TB of storage, but do they know what that 2TB of data consists of? Is it important to the business? Is it old useless data? What is duplicated? Is it mandated by government regulation? Data creep can be a serious problem. By knowing what it is and where it resides allows a company to delete data no longer needed or important. Moving old data to less costly, long-term storage frees up expensive storage, reduces backup time and protects critical data. Data visibility leads to lower risk, giving companies the insight and confidence to make the right decisions.

4. Governance and regulation

As stated above, a company’s lack of visibility into their information increases their risk. Today, many companies are subject to data laws, most notably: Europe’s GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation). Companies need ways to help identify/discover, track, protect, show audit trails, and prove data deletion (per GDPR). In other instances, data is required to be maintained for a specified time period. In such instances, a company will need a plan to identify and properly maintain this data. Failing to do so could expose a company to financial penalties and potential bad publicity.

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Article written by Brett Johnson, edited by TDConnect editors.

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