Data compliance, data costs, and why strong data management is no longer optional

By Mark Benson

The data compliance challenge  

Data compliance is a hot topic, from GDPR to the steady stream of data breach stories in the media; in 2020, the BBC News website alone averaged one breach-related story every ten days.

In principle, maintaining data compliance isn’t complicated. For all data in scope, you just need to be able to demonstrate you have permission and good reason to use it, that you won’t hang onto it any longer than necessary, and show how you make sure it isn’t lost, leaked or misused while it’s in your care.

The challenge comes when you’re holding billions of individual pieces of data, some of them captured years before GDPR came along, and stored in ways that can turn a simple Freedom of Information request into a nightmare. How much data is held in A4 notebooks, on individual PC hard drives or backup tapes in remote vaults that no-one ever accesses?

Weak data management wastes money

And all that data has associated costs. There’s the latent cost of accessing it when you need it, for instance to fulfil that Freedom of Information request, the direct cost of storing it, and the missed opportunity cost if you’re not deriving value from it.

Like any physical asset, if data is in the wrong place, wrongly classified, incorrectly stored or used, it generates cost and risk and reduces its value.      

That’s where data management comes in.  Data management tracks and controls data throughout its lifecycle, from creation to deletion, so the nature, status, history and location of all the data you hold is always known and auditable.

 Strong data management is critical in the data age  

The need for data compliance and management isn’t new – it has been around since the first business accounts got audited, if not longer .

Effective data management has always taken significant effort, so it has tended to be done on a ‘good enough’ basis; make sure the bits that will be audited are right, and worry about the rest later.  

Regulation like GDPR has greatly increased the scope of data that needs to be compliant, and the exposure businesses face if it isn’t. At the same time, the emergence of data as ‘the new oil’ has seen an explosion in the amount of data to be stored, exploited and managed.

Businesses stuck in a ‘good enough’ data management mode face substantial and growing regulatory risks and potential failure to maximise value and optimise the cost of data as a key corporate asset.  

That’s why strong data management is no longer an optional extra for business in a data age. 

The data management journey

Understanding where your business is in its data management journey is a positive first step. 

The overhead of establishing and maintaining effective data management may be daunting, particularly for businesses which are starting from a low base. The good news is that there is plenty of technology out there to help, from automated discovery tools to the built-in data management capabilities that are increasingly a part of enterprise platforms.

Logicalis UK have extensive expertise and experience in helping organisations on their data management journey. To learn more, download our ebook on the subject or get in touch at info@uk.logicalis.com