When is it time for data to disappear?


Sean Catlin, CTO at Canopy

In the last couple of years, big data just got bigger. Before the world went digital, organisations had plenty of ‘structured’ data, but since then we’ve been emailing, tweeting, texting, Facebooking and video uploading, creating a vast amount of unstructured data for businesses to contend with.

As the value of an organisation’s data changes over time, IT professionals must manage it accordingly, choosing to retire or archive data, or ultimately remove it. But when all that data lives in a cloud or hybrid cloud environment, it adds a host of extra challenges around ILM (Information Lifecycle Management).

CIOs must first decide what bits of data can be tied to each deployment mode, for instance, off-premise, or a private, public or hybrid cloud environment. There are three issues to consider when making this decision.

  • Firstly, if you can’t afford to have latency issues, then data would be better off stored locally.
  • Secondly, CIOs must ensure they have the right back-up, recovery methods and availability contracts in place.
  • Finally, there are cost considerations when taking data to and from the cloud: cleaning up data before it goes into a hosted environment can help avoid huge cost burdens.

Modern ILM strategies involve a multi-tiered approach to handling data primarily for cost management reasons. Crucial factors in this decision making process are the availability of data, performance, back-up and recovery, and price. Companies must also find a provider with the appropriate ILM and security tools, but one that doesn’t compromise the ease at which data can be stored and extracted.

A balance also needs to be struck between tiers, such as with mission-critical applications and older records. Archived data can be stored on slower cheaper storage. For business critical apps, trust and control are important considerations. The IT department needs to understand the controls required by the business, what controls are already in place, and then identify the control weaknesses before putting a remediation plan into action to fix those weaknesses. Understanding where and when to put business critical apps in the cloud will become even more important in 2014-15 as businesses undertake pilot projects for business functions.

Companies that get their ILM infrastructure right today will stay agile, and can avoid costly alterations in the coming years as big data becomes more established and the importance of real-time analytics grows. Fast, reliable and secure access to information will be key in the race to become a truly digital business and remain competitive in the cloud-enabled world.

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