In the quest to take control of your data, it can (and should) feel like a never ending process. It’s not enough to archive your data, no matter how thorough you are. Managing your data for future use is a live process that needs constant attention and care to reap the rewards from such diligence. And with technologies and capabilities advancing at warp speed, it’s important to regularly review the measures you’ve taken to protect your assets to make sure they continue to deliver what you need.
I’m writing this blog for those of you who have already started the data management journey, perhaps safeguarding your data and moving towards the digital preservation stage. Reward yourselves with an extra 20 gold coins for getting that far, though as you’ll no doubt know by now, there is still a way to go until your final battle with Bowser.
To progress to the next levels, ask yourself this…
- Is your data truly safeguarded? Not just backed up or archived (two very different things BTW..); is your data protected and regularly checked to guarantee 100% data integrity? Are regular checks performed on that data to make sure there is no data degradation?
- If your data is safeguarded, review what data this includes. Is this just your critical data or one department’s data? Are there other areas that would benefit from safeguarding their data or would it benefit the organisation as a whole so you can start to see a more complete view of your data across the organisation?
Starting your data management quest is a daunting task, so a great way to take that initial leap is by focusing on safeguarding your critical data first. Once this data is under management it will be easier to replicate or extend your processes to bring other important collections and department data under management too. This will be an ongoing process, especially if you consider you own the smallest amount of data you ever will now; new data is constantly being generated and will require protection too.
Unlocking the cheat code for the next level
Once you have the basics in place and your data is safeguarded, you can move on to the digital preservation stage. Digital preservation is still a fairly new term and an important one at that as it’s about making sure you have long term access to your data, no matter what the future brings. This is not trivial. For example, think about how often you have to update your phone’s software just to make sure it stays compatible with your apps and new features as they become available. That’s just the software – the hardware (the phone) has a finite lifetime too.
A great example of someone who is progressing to this next level is the University of Sussex. Adam Harwood, Research Data and Digital Preservation Technologist, has built a business case for digital preservation and taken on the role of digital preservation ambassador to educate and positively influence his key stakeholders, conveying the value of digital preservation to the University and how it contributes to their long-term goals of providing wider access across the community. If you missed the announcement, here is more information on what the University of Sussex are doing.
Defeating Bowser and saving Princess Toadstool
Getting your data under management is an ever-changing discipline, especially as technologies have advanced significantly to be able to deal with the onslaught of such huge amounts of data. The amount of data we are generating, and the modern way that we work as organisations, have created new use cases for how people want to access their data and generate business value. As William Kilbride from the Digital Preservation Coalition (DPC) mentions in his recent blog, the DPC have just finished their busiest year (2017-8) and are expecting this year to continue to build on that, particularly as demand for guidance and information on this subject continues to grow.
With this in mind, we’ve recently rebuilt our Arkivum product stack to deliver on these new emerging use cases. This includes creating one platform to deliver everything from safeguarding, baked in preservation and records management, through to usability and compliance. We’ve also restructured the product architecture so that it can integrate seamlessly with our customers varying infrastructures, be it on-premise, public or private cloud, or a mix of the both.
Nowadays, you needn’t be restricted by only being able to deploy to servers on site. There are so many options available to you so you can select the right model for your specific needs. The most important point though is that you own your data at all times. There is no vendor lock-in (even with us) as it’s important that whatever happens in the future, you can still access your data, regardless of if your vendor still exists. For more details on what our new Arkivum offering includes, see our recent v5.1 announcement here.
You are not alone in this quest. It’s something we’re discussing more and more with our customers and across the wider community. This is where your wider network becomes invaluable as you can learn from others who are ahead of you in the process. Just remember to pay it forward to those who are behind you in the process too. Our domain experts are always happy to help so drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org if there is anything in particular you wish to discuss on the subject or you want to be connected with others who are going through this process.
We are also hosting a webinar, “Eat, Sleep, Keep, Repeat” which will focus on how customers are making the transition from safeguarding to digital preservation of their data. For more details or to register, click here.
21 Jan, 2019
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