Do you remember the last time you moved? If your experience was anything like mine, it’s probably pretty hard to forget. Moving seems like such a simple concept, just pick up your things and put them in a new place. It’s easy. But it’s never that straightforward.
This past summer I moved all the way across the country. Obviously the first step is figuring out what exactly you have. And when I was taking inventory to figure out how long this whole moving thing would take, I think I uttered something along the lines of “You know, I really don’t have that much stuff. This shouldn’t be too bad.”
Talk about famous last words.
See, I had forgotten about all the stuff that I had, well… forgotten about. I forgot about my corner of odds and ends in the basement. And I forgot those boxes under my bed. And then there was pile of winter clothes in my closet I hadn’t needed since March. And how could I forget the things I loaned my friends months ago that they were only now returning to me?
All of a sudden I was overwhelmed with stuff. A lot of stuff. And most of it was just unnecessary. Way too many t-shirts that I don’t wear, office supplies I never used and countless other knick-knacks that really piled up on me.
The point is, I thought I knew what I had. But there ended up being heaps of things I had completely forgotten about, and it really came back to bite me. The packing I thought would maybe take a couple days ended up taking almost a week.
Companies are running into this problem now too, but on a massive scale. They have to manage an entire corpus of company data, and be responsible for everything under their umbrella. But what happens if they’re not exactly sure what information is in all those terabytes? That could mean accidentally leaving out a key piece of information during discovery, or failing to delete data that is past it’s retention date, or looking for something on legal hold that turns out not to be there.
Bottom line, it opens organizations up to unnecessary risk.
Don’t make my mistake. And trust me, it’s an easy issue to ignore. But when it eventually rears its ugly head, you’re going to wish you cleaned out your drawers, or your file-share, a lot earlier.