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How to Rein in Your Data in 3 Steps

Servers, Storage and Networking | Posted on September 13, 2017 by Matthew Sirbu

You want all the advantages that come with being a data-driven business.

You recognize that data is the lifeblood of a company’s competitive advantage. The Economist now calls it the world’s most valuable natural resource. Data helps you to better serve customers, pinpoint where to cut costs, identify risks and opportunities.

Today, over 80% of data comes from unstructured sources, like email, web pages, documents, and social media. In addition, there is more of it than ever. These are all contributing to the data tornado businesses are struggling to maintain, manage, and mine for value.

IDC predicts that by 2025, the world will contain 163 Zettabytes (ZB), representing more than a 44x growth rate.

Meanwhile, without reliable access to all that unstructured data, you’re making decisions based on an incomplete dataset. Structured information gleaned from your CRM or ERP solutions will not give you the full picture. In fact, more than a third of business leaders are basing decisions on data they don’t have, or that they don’t trust.

Computing hardware used to be a capital asset. Now, hardware is becoming a service people buy in real time, and the lasting asset is the DATA – Erik Brynjolfsson, Director, MIT initiative on the Digital Economy

You need a way to make sense of your data and manage it across a variety of storage options.

Here we cover the 3 steps toward healthy data governance.

Making Data Work for You 

Your data should be helping you get the best return on your investment. Instead, as your company grows, data becomes an anchor weighing you down and hampering your agility. Your IT team is struggling to meet greater and greater capacity and performance needs.

You need to store and maintain access to your data, but you don’t want to break the bank. You also need to plan for the growing data you’ll gather going forward.

Your first instinct may be to choose the option that yields the most data stored at the lowest cost. However, storing even a high volume of data has no value if it’s not being used to drive decisions.

Instead, the goal should be to deliver data where and when it’s needed and store it where it’s most cost-effective. To do this, you need a data governance engine, like Veritas Access, that provides a holistic way to manage data whether it’s stored on-premises, off-premises or in the cloud.

1. Set the Ground Rules 

The first step toward healthy data governance is to define your overall policies for retaining data. Assess your legal obligations for maintaining and auditing. Determine who does what with data, putting an emphasis on where data will best support business decision-making. Create rules to maintain data integrity based on the needs of your business users.

2. Know Where You Stand

Next, look at the tools available to help you assess the way data flows within your organization. Gather the relevant statistics surrounding your data, such as creation and access time, which will help you align your retention policies with what data you have today. Then your IT department can deploy those tools to cleanse the data and provide for proactive, rules-based retention.

3. Automate & Enable 

The final piece is a virtualization policy engine that enables automatic movement of your data across on-premises, off-premises and cloud storage pools based on usage patterns. This will allow you to let your data live anywhere but allow your users to see it all in one view so they can search and mine for information. You’ll be able to address a wide range of structured and unstructured use cases and workloads. At the same time, you’ll automate deletion or archiving for files that are no longer needed and assignment of lower-priority items to low-cost storage.

At Softchoice, we have helped many aspiring data-driven businesses build and manage their data governance policies. Whether you house some or all your data on prem, in structured databases and in the cloud, using tools like Access from Veritas Technologies will allow you to reap significant performance gains, lower costs, and make better, data-driven decisions now and in the future.

Written by Matt Sirbu, Director of Business Development, Data Center and Storage

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