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Is Your Data Underwater?

By Lee Johns

Is your Enterprise data is broken down into different categories? Like most companies, the bulk of your data is visible to your employees internally while a smaller amount of it is massaged into projecting the company view externally. The external corporate data includes financials, marketing, supply chain EDI, website information and more. This highly visible data is analyzed and reported on regularly, but your Enterprise data is similar to an iceberg. Your corporate data is visible externally but more than 80% of your Enterprise data is under the surface.

So what is the Enterprise data that is below the surface in your organization?

  • Corporate data is visible to the board, executive management team and external audiences.

  • Business unit data is mostly below the surface and generally not exposed to external communities. It helps each business unit plan their investments, manage their key performance indicators and track their financials.

  • Principal data such as supply chain pricing, business partner relationships, wages, legal agreements, IP internal research data, business metrics, real estate etc. is below the surface.

  • External Connected data from suppliers and research is below the surface

  • Meta data about the data is below the surface

  • Copy, backup and archive data, which can be a considerable amount, (up to 60%), of the total data capacity, is below the surface.

Because of the visibility of corporate data, a large portion of an IT budget is allocated to serve up this data quickly and ensure that it is protected. No one wants to be in the way of decision making and the external presentation of the data which impacts company performance and stock price, so this is entirely understandable.

But what about the rest of your enterprise the data? How important is it? How should it be protected, and how quickly does it need to be recovered? One way companies try to manage the bulk of their data is to reduce their data sets. To do this, they employ data services like compression and deduplication. These technologies can certainly reduce data footprint, but have no knowledge of the content and the relative importance of the data. This is why it is increasingly important for companies to understand their data taxonomy, establish data management policies and build an enterprise data catalog.

This can be a difficult task. Establishing corporate data governance plan designed by the executive management team to understand the importance of all data to their business and the significance of having it well managed takes time and senior management commitment.

In order to facilitate this process, IT departments should start analyzing and cataloging data within departments to make better decisions about how to store, classify and protect it. Implementing catalog management software will enhance your ability to efficiently manage data and improve the flow of information within the company towards corporate data governance.

Imagine if you had a catalog of every file and snapshot that enables you to pinpoint areas of storage inefficiency. You can easily identify unwanted objects such as old files that have not been accessed for a specified period of time. Find extremely large files, file types that may violate storage policies (video, music), unused virtual machines and so on. You can begin to manage inefficient copy data that stretches across many departments. With this information, you can effectively manage utilization and improve compliance and DR policies across your company.

Once deployed at a departmental level, having an effective data catalog can be expanded across the enterprise. If your company data resembles an iceberg, then it may be time for you to deploy an enterprise data catalog.

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