Data Deletion - The Skill No One Uses

Data Deletion is important for compliance with General Data Protection Regulations

Posted on Wednesday, June 14, 2017

In the age of big data analytics, many businesses believe they must keep everything. Indeed the “need” to keep everything has become almost an obsession. Archiving services like Amazon Glacier seem to have been designed to tap into this compulsion, offering ultra-low long-term storage for holding information “just in case”.

Although the cloud has made it simpler for the CTO to plan storage capacity (or more likely, not), controlling costs is no easier. The trend for keeping everything, and off-loading to the cloud as capacity limits are reached is neither sensible nor cost-effective.

The lost art of data deletion

Effective data management is as much about choosing what to delete as what to keep. To bring their data estate (and costs) back under control, CTOs will need to work more closely with CIOs to understand what they are storing and why.

The “why are we storing this?” question is actually more than just a tool for defining what needs to stored. Increasingly strict data protection regulations means that businesses need to know exactly what information they hold – and to delete it once it has fulfilled its purpose.

Take the forthcoming General Data Protection Regulations that governs personal information belonging to EU citizens for instance. Failure to adhere to those rules, including deleting data in a timely fashion, could result in a fine of up to 4% of annual turnover– even for companies headquartered outside the EU.

Time to get a handle on data storage

The cloud has allowed businesses to scale IT systems quickly and efficiently – but it also seems to have introduced many bad habits, like an unwillingness to delete unused information. Working alongside the corporate legal team, CIOs need to draw up data retention policies – including data deletion deadlines. These can then be passed to the CTO for implementation.

As well as helping to keep the company compliant, CTOs will find that they are better placed to manage capacity on and off-site too. They may even be able to make better use of current storage hardware assets without needing to send quite so much information to the cloud.

If they can relearn how to actually delete data.

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