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Store only what you require

Store only what you require

Enterprises are retaining too much information and need to have a formal information retention plan.

Symantec’s latest Information Management Health Check Survey finds enterprises generally save information indefinitely, instead of implementing policies that allow them to manage information effectively. Enterprises should have a better defined policy of what records should be kept, and this policy has to be done with IT, legal and the other business units, says Craig Scroggie, vice president and managing director of Symantec in the Pacific region.

As well, enterprises should retain a few weeks of backup (30 to 60 days) and then delete or archive data in an automated way thereafter.

Backing up the file for 30 to 60 days has a specific purpose – to be able to recover the file when needed, says Scroggie. But he says an area where organisations are struggling is delineating the difference between back-up and long-term archiving.

“People are good at backing up everything,” says Scroggie. This, he says, was a “legitimate” and “interesting” strategy in the past, but has now become a challenge.

Today, he says, there are laws concerning particular information that is not allowed to be kept due to a range of reasons, such as in regards to privacy issues. As well, there is also a significant cost associated with backing up the same information over and over again.

The report points out storage costs are increasing, as over-retention has created an environment where the report claims it is now 1500 times more expensive to review data than it is to store it.

The survey finds 87 percent of respondents believe in the value of a formal information retention plan, but only 46 percent actually have one.

As a result, those companies without a formal plan suffer from rampant storage growth, unsustainable back-up windows, increased risk for litigation and expensive and inefficient process to discover files, the report suggests. Its findings are based on a survey of 1680 senior IT and legal executives in 26 countries, including New Zealand.

The respondents worked in companies with 500 or more employees and they came from a range of sectors including government, education, manufacturing and finance.

The report suggests this underscores why proper deletion policies and efficient search capabilities are critical in today’s enterprises.

In the report, Symantec outlines steps that can be taken by enterprises. The report states that backup is not an archive, so organisations should stop using it for archiving and legal holds.

Symantec recommends implementing deduplication throughout applications and within a backup environment.

”That single Powerpoint presentation by the CEO that gets sent to the company 100 times and got saved 100 times does not need to be archived hundreds of times, only a single copy instance file," says Scroggie. “When you get control of the information, you can make the recovery process cost-effective.”

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