Information Governance Insights

Moving On Up!

Robin Woolen, MBA, IGP has worked in the field of information lifecycle management since 1994 with a specialty in strategic consulting focused on enterprise-scale information management.

It seems that everyone is moving to the cloud these days. A recent Gartner report stated that 75 percent of all databases will be deployed or migrated to the cloud by 2022, with just 5 percent ever considered for return to on-premise servers. Gartner goes on to say that this trend is mainly around analytics databases and software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications. That’s a lot of vital data moving out of on-premise server rooms and being handed over to third party vendors!

There are many advantages in this migration to the cloud, with cost savings in both hardware and staffing, and many organizations across all industries are obviously choosing this option. The concern for Information Management professionals is in the quality of the data in these systems. Data quality should also be a major concern for everyone in the organization, particularly when you consider a Vanson Bourne survey, recently commissioned by data-protection provider Veritas Technologies, of 1,500 IT decision-makers and data managers across 15 countries that found 52 percent of all data is unclassified or untagged.

Take the time to do it right before you hand it over to someone else to manage.


This means that over half of most organization’s data is unmanaged, unprotected and potentially unknown to its key people and decision-makers. Unclassified data is also a prime target for hackers because you can’t properly secure data if you do not know it exists. This trend gets worse when talking about the cloud with 5 percent of companies reporting they have classified all of their data in the public cloud and 61 percent said they have classified less than half of their public cloud data. This is a recipe for disaster. 

I know that you’ve heard it from me before, but data migration into a new environment is nothing new and always challenging. The critical issue is always identifying what is truly valuable to the organization from the Redundant, Obsolete and Trivial (ROT) information. The identification process can be assisted through technology, but the bottom line is that it takes time and effort by people that truly understand the data to make the judgment call of what to keep and what is not needed.

This cleanup activity is even more critical for analytical databases where the majority of a data scientist’s day is spent identifying the correct data stores and cleansing data before they run even one scenario. Leaving data unclassified data in one of these systems gets in the way of the goal of having a business intelligence program in the first place. To put it simply; Data cleanup will happen sometime. You can either do it before you migrate your data to the cloud and save money on the initial storage cost or you can do it later after the system has become unwieldy with extraneous data, but it will happen eventually.

Data is king in today’s world and every organization depends on it. As we can see by the results of the surveys above it is long past time to begin the process of ensuring data is refined so that it can truly be valued as the information asset that it is. Trust me when I say it is much easier to clean up your data while it is in house and fully under your control. Take the time to do it right before you hand it over to someone else to manage.

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