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Information Classification Ignorance Costs Organizations

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One of the key tenants of records management is understanding the difference between mission critical information and unnecessary data that can be disposed of. Unfortunately, the vast bulk of records retained by organisations today are not classified and waste budget dollars spent on storage while being potentially non-compliant, one recent study has revealed.

The survey of professionals in 14 different counties and on 3 different continents showed a startling lack of understanding when it came to the problems caused by disorganized information. 86% of data in storage was found to be obsolete or useless to the business, with 54% existing as ‘dark data’ – meaning that the organization had no intelligence regarding it’s contents. This could be as harmless as Christmas party photos or as dangerous as illegally downloaded adult content, but the lack of knowledge regarding it’s nature is alarming.

But before taking steps to rectify this situation, staff members must be able to recognize the difference between the different types of information. As of today, there are three widely acknowledged classifications of data for modern businesses:

Business Critical Data – identified and classified, and is vital to the operational needs of the organisation.

Redundant or Obsolete Data – everything from old business data to staff personal files; which is identified and classified but still retained despite having no use to the organisation and which costs money to store and maintain.

Dark Data – which could contain anything ranging from business-critical information to non-compliant high-risk data such as adult material, but which the organisation has not identified – it is simply being stored without knowing what is there.

Managing information according to these principles can have extremely positive effects on budgetary spending. One estimate led to the conclusion that the average mid-sized business is wasting over half a million dollars on unnecessary storage, and could be eliminated by running regular data audits. Data hoarding rewards ‘strategies based on data volume, not business value’ and eliminating this costly mentality should be a priority.

Looking for advice on how to dive in and take charge of your records management program? Our team of experts at The Data Vault have been helping businesses of all sizes with their information for over 30 years, and are committed to assisting in any way they can. Whether you’re looking for help on efficient storage options or simply searching for a secure way to destroy physical data, our complete solutions can meet the unique needs of the modern operating environment. Contact us today and we will be in touch!

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