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‘Less is More’… Clean up the Attic!

by Bart Willemsen  |  June 9, 2020  |  Comments Off on ‘Less is More’… Clean up the Attic!

Riddle me this:

On Sunday evening, we enjoy a quiet moment on the couch, zapping through various channels until we reach the Discovery Channel. They air ‘Hoarders’; semi-documentaries dealing with people with, let’s just say a sometimes ‘unhealthy strong connection with or feeling for’ items and animals. They must be convinced of the problem, then the house gets professionally cleaned out and life can start from a new, fresh perspective. We watch those shows because it amazes us maybe how wrong things can go. Black mould, boxes stacked to the ceiling, unsleepable beds, various vermin and overall bad circumstances imply by comparison that we’re not doing such a bad job at home. But are we?

Common Sense at Home and in the Office: Howcome we watch that show in amazement, enter the office the next morning and look at our data center thinking ‘there’s still some space, we’re good’? When storage prices go down we continue to add to it, both in the cloud and on premises. And I can only wonder; how much fresher, healthier and overall more liveable would our data architecture become if we keep our attics at work as clean as the kitchen at home?

One of the first steps in operationalizing a data-centric practice for privacy programs, is data discovery. Uncovering the abundant wealth of data that we process. There are very few CIOs and IT Executives who truthfully and with confidence can say at any given moment in time: ‘Yes, I know all the personal data we have and why we have it, where it is, and for how long we should have it’. Which makes me wonder.

When I call up my bank (in fact, I don’t call them but call an app to the screen of my phone), within milliseconds they can tellme how much money in which accounts they are holding on my behalf. They also don’t double that money, making copies of it for different purposes. We do that with data though. Post-discovery, there are vendors who claim to achieve a reduction in data storage of 45%. I believe that is theory rather than practice, but have spoken to organizations who report back a 20-25% reduction of storage after ALL ROT data was professionally cleaned up. (ROT – redundant, obsolete, tertiary data, in other words, data without purpose).

By comparison, I am astounded that one of Gartner’s surveys shows that 66% of organizations need ‘two weeks or more’, to answer a single request from an individual as to ‘what data you have on me’. A simple question.

If data is the new gold, we should better control it as we control our monetary funds. This has to change. If the average cost of storing just 1 petabyte of data is still almost 800,000 USD/year, a reduction of ROT data following the ‘spring cleaning’ of our repositories can get us 20% back.

That’s money in the bank.

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Bart Willemsen
VP Analyst,
4 years at Gartner
11 years IT Industry

Bart Willemsen is a VP Analyst with focus on privacy compliance, risk management and all privacy-related challenges in an international context. With detailed knowledge of privacy in various jurisdictions, he's also proficient in security and risk management strategies. Read Full Bio

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