Since the dawn of time, humans have kept data in multiple forms, including cave paintings, ceramics, and war crafts. However, the practice of retaining data has raised some eyebrows in the modern digital world. That's because we have a lot of it - to be accurate, 44 zettabytes, and we add around 2.5 quintillion bytes of it daily.
The numbers may be adequate for some, but according to studies, 80-90% of all digital data is unstructured and ROT. This type of data is typically vulnerable to security, privacy, compliance, and regulatory risks. Furthermore, excessive data is known to slow down systems and affect the daily workings of the personnel.
There have been several attempts to handle this pile of data, with some triumphs and some failures. But it mostly remained unmanaged, waiting to explode. But now, with the latest breakthrough in data management – in-place management – we might have a chance.
In-place Data Management
To best understand modern in-place data management, we must first examine traditional data management systems.
Traditionally, one must first copy data from the company's data silos and carry it to a dedicated software. From there, the software is responsible for processing and managing the data, from the life cycle to access controls. Litigated and regulated industries have used this procedure for a long time; however, it is a time-consuming and costly process that requires additional storage. Therefore, it is used sparingly. Only 2-3% of data is under such dedicated management.
On the contrary, as the name implies, modern in-place data management operates in place. It avoids the time-consuming process of pulling and making copies of data from several silos. Instead, it manages data within the data sources. This no-copy, no-data-movement strategy saves time and improves the efficiency of the data management tool.
Watch Archiving Disadvantages – In-Place Governance vs. Traditional Methods for a better understanding.
But that's not all that in-place data management can do.
For instance, during an internal audit, a financial services corporation with over 50,000 employees uncovered a substantial volume of data on its systems. This data was dispersed across multiple office silos worldwide, notably in its file shares.
This unregulated data raised concerns across the organization since it was being held with ineffective defenses, exposing the corporation to severe legal, operational, regulatory, and security risks.
Further investigation revealed that the company was sitting on 4.5 petabytes of unstructured data containing:
- Unprotected sensitive data
- Personally identifiable information stored in publicly available file shares
- Incorrectly saved communications
- Critical production application data without backup
- Regulated data from a recently acquired entity that is at risk of data loss
- Hundreds of terabytes of obsolete data, raising risk and storage cost
The financial services company implemented an in-place data management solution to cater to this challenge. With the tool and proper information governance, the company was able to process all of the 4.5 petabytes of data.
Among these, it was able to classify over 200,000 documents and remediate over 1 petabyte of dark data. This assisted the company in substantially lowering its regulatory and operational risk exposure.
To further minimize risk, each file was tagged with a recommended action of Migrate (to a data archiving solution), Decommission, or Leave in place. It was also given priority depending on the associated risk.
Furthermore, the company's IT and compliance departments collaborated to modify policies and processes to guarantee that data was managed more successfully in the future.
The financial services company in the case above was fortunate to promptly identify, analyze, and resolve the matter. However, many others find themselves caught between industry-specific regulations, millions of dollars in fines, and ineffective management tools. Not to mention the irreparable reputational damage. Therefore, it is high time to look into and handle your dark data if you have not already.
Contact our experts for a better understanding of in-place data management.