The Importance of Data Management
Over the years it has become well understood that the value organizations place on data is substantial, and that value has only continued to grow. Taglines such as “Data is the new oil” have repeatedly crept their way into discussions and articles about information technology, and while perhaps a bit over-used, they are not off the mark. Data is representative of information, and information is a critical business asset.
While there is ample discussion about how data can be leveraged and even how data is most effectively stored, another key component is the management of data. For data to be used as an information asset, no matter the use case or how it is stored, the data must actually be available when it is needed. In addition, there are a number of critical, and sometimes even legal restraints to this availability. Only the correct, authorized people should have access to data containing sensitive information. In some cases, data must be made available with strict performance considerations, while in other situations organizations will prioritize the economics of storing the information. It is also crucial to maintain the integrity of the data to ensure that when the data is made available, it has not been corrupted or altered in any way – including by malicious outside actors.
To complicate things further, the amount of data being stored has grown rapidly, and in many cases, organizations are unsure exactly what data they are storing, or more importantly, if that data holds any value. Typically, only a small portion of an organization’s data has been identified as “mission critical” – in which the value is crucial to the operation of the business. A slightly larger amount of data is redundant, obsolete, or non-valuable data, while a third – and the largest – portion of stored data makes up this unknown, or “dark” data. Storing large amounts of unclassified, unknown data can be costly; it can result in wasted storage capacity, it can result in missed opportunity to leverage potentially valuable information, and it can put the company at risk for falling out of compliance with legal regulations and for falling victim to a cyber-attack. Data management solutions and practices can help organizations sift through their data, properly store valuable data, reduce unnecessary data, and classify unknown data.
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