Data hoarding is just like physical hoarding: it creates useless junk that makes it very difficult to find what we need when we need it. Shred unused drives and documents!
Collecting data, while useful, can quickly become a problem if collection turns into data hoarding. Organizations have reacted to the data explosion by hoarding data in the hope that one day they’ll get round to mining it for something useful or turn it into something valuable. Instead of being useful, they’re creating a digital wasteland.
While a percentage of data will inevitably be valuable, much of it is redundant, obsolete, trivial or unknown and hasn’t been accessed in years. Data hoarding can lead to security and compliance risks, which carry financial and reputational penalties.
The same goes for physical data; when was the last time you took a critical look at your accumulation of business information? The daily influx of documents that make your business run can be an asset or a hindrance. If you are collecting and housing information that is of little use to your business, the clutter is detrimental to the efficient execution of your business processes.
Are you a data hoarder? Here are some tips to fix the overabundance of data.
Know the risks.
If you don’t know what you’re storing, you can’t be compliant. Employees hoarding personal files could violate copyrights, not to mention data privacy rights. If your personnel staff haven’t sifted through old hires work papers, you could easily be holding onto documents, both digitally and physically, that are no longer required by law to retain. Once you’ve established that you have old files to get rid of, the next step is quite obvious…
Focus first on data that is redundant, trivial, or obsolete. Deletion of these files should be guided by a policy. Once you’ve cleaned up your data and made it current, create a schedule to regularly clean out old data, whether it’s once a quarter or twice a year.
Speaking of policy…
Keep information as long as you need information and use the delete key as necessary. Don’t allow your personnel to fall into the “I might need it someday” sinkhole. With the advent of online cloud storage solutions, the capacity to hoard has never been greater. Checks, balances, policies, and procedures are your biggest assets to data management.
Don’t forget about old hard drives and old paper files.
If you’ve managed to get a hold on your data, don’t start hoarding obsolete hard drives and paper files. These are items that should be permanently destroyed by an insured and professionally trained company. Hard drives shouldn’t be tossed in the trash; instead, rely on a company that offers hard drive shredding services. Hard drive shredding works similarly to how paper documents are destroyed, and the added bonus is you can toss your old paper documents in with your “to shred pile.” Both hard drives and paper data will be completely pulverized, making the information impossible to recover and be used again.
For data clean up, whether it’s in paper or hard drive form, consider hard drive shredding and document destruction services that can offer complete and total security.
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