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Effective Strategies for Better Data Retention


The size of digital world is estimated to be 1.8 Zettabytes of data that is 1.8 trillion gigabytes stored in 500 quadrillion storage files. Another interesting fact about this humongous data is that it is more than doubling its size every two year. Amid this constant explosion, retention of business-critical and compliance mandate data has become a daunting task. While some define data retention as continued storage of organizational data for compliance or business purposes, the exponential data proliferation in today’s world gives this simple looking concept a complex structure. A turnkey approach to retain data that can integrate with the latest technology trends is the need of the hour. But, before we discuss what should be the approach towards retaining data, let us discuss why it is essential to retain data.

Importance of Data Retention  

Optimizing Historical Information: Data retention enables an organization to leverage large volumes of archived data in new developments. For instance, engineers in an organization can foster new product innovation if given access to project specific archived materials. Customer service can be enhanced if historical customer records such as emails and other correspondences are readily available.

eDiscovery and Regulatory Requirements: Compliance mandates organizations to store certain kind of data and make them accessible. It is imperative for organizations to know where compliance mandate data is stored in order to demarcate the stale data from the chunk. eDiscovery refers to the process where a customer has to collect, preserve, review, and produce data in case of legal proceedings. Efficient data retention infrastructure can reduce compliance risks and check eDiscovery challenges.

Now that we know why and where data retention can come in handy for a business, let us look at approaches that can foster an effective data retention and storage management strategy. Some of them are detailed below:

Three Strategies for Better Data Retention

1. In-house Retention Policy

Every data that enters the periphery of an organization’s system may not be important. It is therefore imperative for organizations to have an in-house retention policy. These policies can be exercised to evaluate the worthiness of data and separate low priority data from the large data set. An in-house retention policy can be based on any or all of the following:

• Regulatory and legal mandates
• Business-critical information which may be required by various departments from time to time
• Preserving data for operational continuity

Apart from introspecting the worthiness of data, an in-house retention policy can ensure data protection as well.

2. Defensible Deletion of Data

While in-house retention policy segregates worthy and unimportant data, defensible deletion will ensure that organizations do not delete documents that they need to retain. Many organizations have faced trouble for deleting compliance mandate documents. Defensible deletion ensures better archiving of data that can add value to the business as well as adhere to the regulations.

3. Integrating Cloud and Big Data to Augment Data Retention Strategy

Ensuing years will witness multiplication of today’s data growth and hence the prime focus of any organization is bound to revolve around storage. This is where cloud computing can come in handy. Archived data can be stored in a cloud platform without having to vertically scale the on-premise infrastructure. While cloud computing can alleviate storage concerns, big data analytics can be instrumental in determining the value of information to be retained. That being said, it is quintessential to reflect upon the security part of the deal in cloud and big data realm.

Enormous growth in volume and variety of data has made data retention centerpiece of every IT strategy. By deploying a well-designed retention framework, organizations can avert the hazards of rising costs, compliance challenges, and legal risks.

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