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May 31, 2018

Despite the increasing capabilities of information management technology and despite how long organizations have been trying to implement better information management, the most frequent question I get from clients is “How do we clean up network shares?”

And despite seeming like something that should be easy to do, it is anything but that. Which isn’t to say it’s complex — it isn’t. But like diet and exercise, which are simple in concept but arduous in practice, cleaning up your network shares requires a simple approach with a ton of elbow grease.

In this post, I want to lay out an approach for cleaning up network shares that has been successful at organizations of varying sizes across a range of industries.

The first step is to acquire file analytics software to help you evaluate the documents on your network shares. Even a small organization will have a few terabytes of content on shares, which translates into millions of documents — far too many to evaluate manually.

The good news is a range of file analytics tools are out there, from the dead simple (like a Tree Size Professional, which costs under $100) to the extremely sophisticated (e.g., Active Navigation, Nuix, ZL Technologies, StoredIQ, Concept Searching, etc.). So, depending on your budget and maturity level, you’ll find technology to assist you in your network share cleanup efforts.

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