According to one recent study, there are about 2.5 quintillion (!) bytes of data created every single day. For businesses to be able to extract the valuable information hidden inside that data, they need an effective way to manage it – one that goes above and beyond what your operating system is designed for.
Because of the sheer volume of information that the average business is now dealing with, data lifecycle management has become a topic of critical importance. But what is this process, and how can you make sure you’re applying it to your own organization in the right way? The answers to those questions and others require you to keep a few key things in mind.
It All Begins With Data Creation
By far, the most immediate part of the data lifecycle management process is also one of the most important – data creation.
Your organization is creating data all day, every day – but if you don’t make an effort to “discover” it – both on-premises and in the cloud – it remains unstructured and, as a result, typically unprotected. Therefore, the data creation process and the data discovery process go hand-in-hand. By identifying the types of data you have and the location (including things like personally identifiable information, protected health information and more), you lay the groundwork for securing and even optimizing that data moving forward.
The Ins and Outs of Storage Management
Once your data has been created, you can then set about properly securing it. A significant part of this involves making sure that critical data is housed in the most appropriate locations, and that effective data security controls are applied.
A storage management platform can be used to not only create data security policies depending on the type of data you’re talking about, but it can also help you create workflows that address both any compliance requirements you have to deal with AND your organization’s own policies at the same time.
For a refresher on the fundamental steps in the data lifecycle, check out this video.
Diving Deeper Into Data Use
Next, you can use real-time reporting and security tools to uncover HOW that data is being used by the people across your organization. This also lets you stay current as to whether those internal security policies and compliance rules are actually being followed.
In other words, the right tool will not only help keep track of when a file is created, edited, accessed, retrieved from the cloud and more – it can also instantly generate reports on that activity so you always know what is going on with your essential information.
This also allows you to stay current on one of the age-old rules of data security: anybody who does not need access to a particular file to do their job should not have access to that file, period.
In an era where the cloud has made it easier than ever for employees to communicate and collaborate with each other, another key part of data lifecycle management becomes monitoring data sharing among those employees.
As an average file is shared, it may move between a wide range of different locations. Not only can it go from the cloud to on-premise and back again, but along the way it will touch different private storage locations, applications, and even operating systems.
Effective data lifecycle management depends on your ability to not lose track of that data during its “journey,” which is another task that the right solution (and the right partner) can assist you with. Regardless of how many times data is moved, copied and shared, you’ll always know exactly where your sensitive data rests so that you can take the most appropriate security actions as soon as possible.
Archiving Data is Critically Important, Too
Something that a lot of people don’t realize is that just because data is no longer being regularly accessed doesn’t mean that it isn’t critical – and thus, worthy of being protected. This, too, becomes another cornerstone of your data lifecycle management process because that data still needs to be A) available, and B) secure in accordance with the unique compliance rules of your industry.
Therefore, a big part of your data lifecycle management process needs to involve archiving information in a way that also accurately classifies it in accordance with not only those industry compliance rules but also your internal data security guidelines, as well.
The End of the Road: Permanently Destroying Your Data
Every so often, there will come a time when data needs to be destroyed. Sometimes you need to free up storage space, and other times you’re confident that this information will never be needed again.
It’s essential for you to realize that simply dragging that data to the Recycle Bin and hitting the “Empty” button is not enough to get the job done. Because of this, the final part of the data lifecycle management process involves destroying that data in a way that is every bit as complete as it is permanent.
For the best results, you should employ a solution that is compliant with the United States Department of Defense Directive on data security. This includes features that will allow you to encrypt that data, redact sensitive information from it, quarantine it in the right way and, finally, “shred” it.
Not only does this go a long way towards reducing your data footprint (and thus making the management of your remaining data easier), but it still helps protect that data for the entirety of its existence – even those files that aren’t long for this world.
Look up terms you are unsure about here: Data Security Glossary.
Outer Edge Technology: Your Partner in Data Lifecycle Management
If all of this sounds like a complicated and time-consuming process, that’s because it is. But when the stakes are this high, nothing less will suffice. Even a first-time compliance violation for accidental misuse of sensitive information can cost your enterprise dearly – which is why data lifecycle management is so important.
If you’d like to find out additional information about how to strengthen and empower your own data lifecycle management efforts, there’s a good chance that we can help. Contact Outer Edge Technology today at 1-844-OET-EDGE or fill out the “Contact” form below so that we can get in touch with you and discuss these and other important IT matters in more detail.