Explore The Untapped Value Of Data Archiving

Topics: Data Backup and Archiving

Some enterprises are discovering great value in archiving data. Is yours? Here’s how to determine if you’re getting the maximum benefit from your archival programme.

Most businesses understand–at least in theory–the operational importance of data archives . For example, because many industries have rigid requirements for electronic document and file retention, you probably already understand you’re your o data archive can help when legal or compliance issues arise.

However, by not mining that data, you may be missing out on lucrative new business – or you may be overlooking a new way to tackle current projects more efficiently. In recent research from IDC, sponsored by Iron Mountain, more than 60 percent of respondents said their organizations are overlooking opportunities by failing to conduct business analysis. To be successful, you need a comprehensive data archiving strategy to ensure that your data is safe, secure and easily accessible.

How Data Archives Can Build Your Business

In the same global study, two-thirds of senior and executive managers cited risk mitigation and business development as positive results of data archiving. Among the forty percent of respondents who are actively mining their data archives, the average savings were €11.1 million from risk mitigation, €8.6 million from reduced IT operating costs and €6.9 million from additional revenue.

Specific ways to get the most value from your archives include:

Data as a legal aid. Your enterprise can use archived data to substantiate a legal position and to mitigate legal risks. For example, if a former employee claims his boss promised a promotion via company e-mail, producing the relevant messages could disprove the claim.

A boon to business. Survey respondents report using their archived data to improve customer service and discover new revenue sources. For example, big data analysis can scan archives to identify and respond to hidden trends.

Optimizing Your Data Archives

Many organisations archive a vast quantity of data: A typical organisation may maintain six or more archives. These archives hold:

  • email and messaging
  • files and file system data
  • security and incident logs
  • application database and structured files
  • web content and voicemail

To achieve any meaningful data analysis, it’s essential first to optimise the data archive. Start by establishing and enforcing a uniform policy to identify which data to archive. Then, ensure removal of duplicate data. Once you do this, the remaining data in your archive will require less space and be easier to analyse.

Tapping the data archive’s full value requires some communication among your firm’s various stakeholders, all of whom “own” data in it. For example, Legal and Compliance departments typically want to keep data secure and limit access, while the business side wants to share data across the company, to identify opportunities for monetisation. IT management can feel squeezed by these conflicting interests.

Data Archiving Cuts Costs and Creates Opportunity

The solution: Make development of a rational, cohesive archiving strategy an organisational priority.

  • Have your Legal and Compliance team, as well as other key departments, including Human Resources and Finance, collaborate with IT to articulate their needs.
  • Uncover the unspoken assumptions about data ownership and company priorities that may be causing roadblocks.
  • Balance risk management and business development goals.

This process won’t be easy, but it will be worth the effort to turn your archives into a gold mine of data.

To find out how, visit the data archiving microsite, here.

Iron Mountain Recommends:
Data Mining? Start By Analyzing That Structured Data.

Respondents to the IDC global survey reveal a striking contradiction: While structured data has the most value for business analysis, most organizations currently focus their efforts on managing unstructured data of limited value.

Unstructured data includes email, instant messaging, images, video and call center records. Unstructured data adds massive volume to the archive and the volume continues to grow with the rise of social media. Because of its use in legal and compliance efforts, unstructured data has been the focus of data archiving efforts.

However, structured data (which includes application, database and structured files), has far higher value for business analysis. After all, your organization structured that data for a reason. In many organizations, the volume of structured data is much lower than that of unstructured data.

Low volume, high value: That’s the formula for Return on Information . If your goal is to get more value from your data archives, maximise your structured data archives first.