(but make sure you don’t keep data too long either)

According to a recent article in ZDNet, the volume of all data worldwide will top 163 zettabytes by 2025 as enterprises experience a 50X increase in the data they must manage. One of the biggest challenges for businesses when it comes to managing all this data is that they don’t know what’s in all the files in their storage systems. That’s because IT teams simply can’t keep track of what every user is saving. They also aren’t always sure how long ago each file was created and when each file was last accessed. Lacking this information, IT tends to keep files longer than necessary—figuring that’s the safest route.

As recent high-profile court cases and federal hearings demonstrate, any old data files you hold onto, especially emails, could come back to haunt you. If your business is ever taken to court, plaintiffs and investigators will try to gain access to old files and look back as far as they can to mount evidence against you. You don’t want to risk someone finding a 20-year-old email that might include incriminating evidence, and which was unintentionally archived longer than necessary. But you also don’t want to delete any files too soon. Either case could create problems in the court room, and in your daily operations.

Avoiding Legal Liabilities

Most businesses are aware of the required minimum amount of time they have to hold onto data files. These minimums are usually driven by tax and regulation requirements. What often gets overlooked is the maximum amount of time that data should be saved. Once files reach a certain date, there’s no reason to keep them around, especially if they might contain information that could have a negative impact on lawsuits brought in the future.

That’s where a data archiving solution comes in handy. In addition to classifying files by type and automatically moving the files off of your primary production storage systems, data archiving can be programmed to automatically delete files when they reach the maximum required retention date.

If your current archiving solution provides this capability, you’re in luck. But check with legal counsel to determine what the maximum retention date is for all the data you store. It will vary depending on the type of files you are archiving, who created them, and when they were last accessed.

Archiving That Keeps Up with the Business

In addition to helping mitigate your legal liability, archiving data makes sense from the standpoint of classifying older files and emails, and saving on storage costs as you move data from your primary storage systems to less-expensive, secondary storage. Even if you’re not storing hundreds of terabytes of data, these expenses can still pile up, despite having lower cost storage options available.

Archiving and migrating data to secondary storage is also helpful for businesses that want to reclaim primary storage, especially all-flash tiers. In addition, moving stale data to secondary storage reduces costs, while still maintaining availability. It also lets you gain value from being able to access older data or data that isn’t mission-critical. Those files can easily be found in the archive, which can still remain available to end users.

With less production data to store, you will discover that you can speed up your system backups and restores. This could prove very valuable should you experience an outage and need to recover files.

Archiving is also a big help when it comes to compliance. Some regulations require businesses to keep certain records for many years, and you need to be able to easily find records when an audit takes place. For example, health regulations require records to be kept for the lifetime of each patient plus seven years. Mortgage records must be kept for the life of the loan plus seven years, and vehicle identification numbers (VINs) must be kept for 99 years.

If you lose track of files because of a poorly organized system, you might find yourself facing stiff regulatory fines. With archiving, you can enforce governance policies and preserve data based on corporate, regulation, and industry standards. Using built-in eDiscovery tools, legal and compliance officers can then quickly search, select, and retrieve data from the archive repository.

The New Reality of the Digital World

For businesses looking for a data archiving solution, many of our customers rely on Commvault Complete™ Backup & Recovery because it also handles system backups, restores, and indexing. The solution reduces the combined time typically required to back up, archive, and report by more than 50%, and you can scan, collect, back up, and archive data all in one operation.

You can also eliminate up to 90% of redundant data at the source. With document filtering capabilities, the solution enables you to pinpoint how long you want to store specific file types and the date on which the files should be deleted. Your legal team can also perform eDiscovery to streamline the review of file and email data.

By handling both archiving and backups, Commvault Complete makes life easier for IT because it’s one less tool to integrate with the rest of the enterprise. And who doesn’t want to free up time for IT teams? With less time needed to manage storage tools, these valuable resources can work on more strategic projects that support the business.

Moving ahead with an archiving solution means your business can also better address the new reality of the digital world, which is seeing exponential increases in storage every year1. Intelligently storing and managing files to meet your legal and compliance requirements means you can ensure data remains valuable to the business but does not create unnecessary problems or costs in the future.

For further information on data archiving and Veristor’s backup-as-a-service solutions, visit https://veristor.com/services/managed-services/cloud-backup/

1 According to the Enterprise Storage Forum’s Data Storage Trends 2018 survey, more than 40% of enterprises project their current storage capacity will grow between 1 and 99 terabytes in the next two years. Approximately 37% expect growth ranging from 100 terabytes up to 10+ petabytes.