Data is the lifeblood of any business nowadays, whether it’s patient records or trade reporting data or student research, it’s important that long-term data is handled in the right way to optimise the cost of managing the data against the value gained from it.
The recent advances in technological capabilities have led to an explosion of data being created.
“Between the dawn of civilisation and 2003, we only created five exabytes; now we’re creating that amount every two days. By 2020, that figure is predicted to sit at 53 zettabytes (53 trillion gigabytes) — an increase of 50 times.” — Hal Varian, Chief Economist at Google.
Many businesses have focused on the problem of handling ‘big data’. However, the bigger issue is around the long-term management of that data as the explosion in the amount created has resulted in existing methods of managing data no longer being fit for purpose. Where do you store it all in a secure way that you can still access and use it when you need to? Existing process constraints mean data is often trapped in silos around the business or archived in data warehouses and is not easily accessible or usable. On top of this, how we are using data is changing too. We are becoming more data-driven, using data to significantly improve how we make decisions, improve operations and how we deliver our products and services and a great customer experience. If we don’t take control now of our long-term data management we risk unnecessary risk and exposure to security breaches or non-compliance, and a lack of access to this wealth of data means we are missing out on a potentially valuable data source.
It’s not good enough to just have a backup copy of your file stored somewhere. Today you need to think about; do you need to keep that data and how long for? If so, how often will you need to access it? Who will need to access it and why? How can you keep a record of the lifecycle of that data, while maintaining its integrity? What would happen if you went back to the file and could no longer access it because of a system or software update? And it’s not just about the process of managing your data, you also need to think about; How do you break down the data silos across your business, so you can share one single view for better-informed decision making and collaboration across your lines of businesses and geographies? How can you use that data to make further enhancements on efficiencies of running the business while providing a better customer experience? Even with all of that in place, you still need to think about how you meet your compliance and regulatory requirements; How do you meet new requirements as they are introduced comfortably without investing in resources or creating large project teams to deliver?
This growing problem needs a new approach
Imagine having the ability to make your data usable across your business in a secure, cost-optimised way. Your data would be preserved for the long-term, giving you complete confidence that you could still access that data if needed in 5 years’ time, 20 years’ time, 100 years’ time. Not only that, the data includes a full audit trail for throughout its lifecycle so you can see who has accessed it and when, while maintaining the original immutable version for your compliance and regulatory requirements or evidence providing.
Dynamic retention policy handling makes it simple to manage the data requirements and access across your business, and secure user permissioning means you can share data to increase collaboration across the business while remaining confident that people have access only to the data they should.
Keeping on top of compliance and regulatory requirements is no easy task. Bringing your data into one view with an ability to search, collate and then securely export that collated data is a game-changer. It sounds easy, but the reality is that a lot of businesses are struggling to get their data in the right place, let alone to do so in a secure method.
As many businesses are now starting to move to the cloud to exploit further data benefits, it’s important to maintain the dynamicity of your data and more importantly, that you maintain control of your data. It’s not uncommon nowadays to be using multiple cloud providers to store data or a hybrid of cloud and on-premise, so your data lifecycle management processes need to be able to accommodate that flexible infrastructure you are delivering your business on. Easier to manage data makes it easier to optimise your storage costs as you can automate where your data is stored based on usage and access, so you can reduce over-reliance on expensive ‘hot’ storage or hardware. Automated retention schedules also mean data can easily be deleted when it is no longer required, further reducing your Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) and exposure to the risk of data breaches on data stored needlessly.
This problem isn’t going to go away. In fact, it’s going to be exacerbated further as the amount of data we create and manage grows exponentially.
Big data isn’t the problem, it’s how we manage our long-term data to get the most value from it at the minimal cost. We then need to harness that data to continually improve how we run our business and the value we offer our customers.