Five years ago, I wrote a blog post that summarized the risks of unmanaged data within IT environments. As a specialist working with Systems Engineering's FileProtect (cloud backup service), I’ve only seen this problem compound. The problem lies in the fact that the majority of businesses haven’t taken on the challenge of cleaning out their proverbial digital junk drawers.
Those who have migrated their Exchange servers to Microsoft’s Exchange Online (Office 365) have seen a reduction in their on-premises backup sizes and costs; however, clutter has dominated the local file server and thus spread into offsite backups and Disaster Recovery (DR) plans.
Some things must be kept long-term for regulatory/compliance reasons (and audits), but most digital files are kept because other priorities take time and focus. That's the sum of it: we all keep things because we are busy, and we keep things because we are afraid to let them go.
As mentioned in my previous article, unnecessary data not only costs businesses in terms of local file storage and backup expenses, but also in recovery time. All data is not equal, and to have a proactive and focused data management perspective could truly benefit a company when it really matters (for example: getting back to business after a disaster). Some data is business critical, some is archival, and some is stale. The benefit of taking the time to classify and organize data puts companies at an advantage when it comes to restoring pertinent information should a disaster occur.
There are some excellent tools available to us today to help identify space hogs, old files, and duplicates. One such tool is FolderSizes made by Key Metric Software. The 30-day evaluation of the product is more than enough time for anyone that’s ready to roll up their sleeves and tackle this easy data management win. The tool provides quick reports like largest files, oldest files, file dates, file owners, and duplicate files to help businesses prioritize the digital mess.
Before making big changes, ensure there is a good backup system in place, and inform any stakeholders (such as online backup operators) of what the plan is to help mitigate unplanned costs and risks.
Does your organization need help with data management and prioritization? If so, sign up to receive a Data Protection Assessment by clicking here, or on the button below.
Ken Piper is a Network Operation Center (NOC) Engineer who has been with Systems Engineering for eight years. Ken's areas of expertise are hosted services, email encryption, cloud backup, and cloud hosting.