How Data Hoarding Is Costing Your Business

September 19, 2013
By guest blogger - Emily Miller

The ability to collect and analyze large amounts of data is one of the most useful developments in business technology. With this data, businesses not only provide better customer service, but they can also improve their advertising campaigns, perfect their products and manage their reputation based on the results of data analysis.

However, in order for this data to be helpful, it must be chosen carefully, well organized and properly evaluated. Simply keeping every piece of data a business can collect is not only useless, but it can also be harmful.

Understanding Data Hoarding
Data hoarding occurs when a business collects and keeps way too much data. The business may collect and store data it doesn’t need or it may fail to remove duplicate entries from its database. This often occurs when a business doesn’t have a proper plan in place to decide what should be saved and what should be discarded. Research has shown that data hoarding is common, with up to 80 percent of the average company’s active files remaining untouched for three or more years.

Dangers of Data Hoarding
Data hoarding can cause several significant problems, including the following:

  • Wasted storage space: When businesses continue to store excess data, they waste costly resources, including object-based cloud storage. Even though storage space in the cloud is relatively inexpensive, the business still loses money.
  • Legal issues: The more data a company stores, the more data it’s responsible for protecting. If hackers access the company’s databases, the company will face lawsuits and legal sanctions for every piece of information that’s compromised.
  • Decreased productivity: With so much unnecessary data to sift through, employees can’t be as productive, which costs the business time and money.
  • Diminished employee effectiveness: Excess data storage leads to poor organization. When a company’s data isn’t organized properly, the inability to locate needed information quickly results in employee miscommunications and poor customer service.


Prevent Data Hoarding
To avoid all the problems that can arise from data hoarding and improve the effectiveness of data collection and analysis, IT managers should develop a comprehensive data retention policy that applies to all levels of the company:

IT managers should carefully consider which pieces of information are important for the company to organize and store and which should be promptly discarded.

They should also create a detailed procedure that employees can use to ensure that no unnecessary data or duplicate entries make their way into the company’s databases.

The company should solicit feedback from employees and management at all levels of the company to make sure that everyone understands the policy and knows how to properly implement it.

No matter what industry a company is in, it’s inevitable that the company will need to store and utilize data. However, storing too much data can be almost as dangerous as failing to store enough. To get the most out of data storage and analysis, companies need a solid collection, storage and organization plan that will prevent data hoarding and allow them to use their data effectively.

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