How to protect your data from cloud ROT-ing

by Ana Lopez

Simon Jelley, General Manager for SaaS Protection, Endpoint and Backup Exec at Veritas Technologies.

What is the first image that comes to mind when you hear the word “rotten”? To me, it’s a soft, shriveled tomato – its once bright red skin has been overtaken by contrasting brown spoilage and greenish-white mold. Not a pretty picture, right?

Whether on fruits or other organic matter, people generally view rot as a bad thing. That’s why we use the acronym ROT to define something similar in business data management: redundant, obsolete and trivial data. Just as organic things often rot due to neglect, ROT data is the result of neglecting good data management practices. As much as a third of company data can be considered ROT (and another 52% is dark data with unknown valueat least some of which is almost certainly more ROT).

Let’s briefly explore each category of ROT data.

1. Redundant data

Data redundancy is a good thing. In fact, it’s an important part of the 3-2-1-1 rule of data backup and recovery, which I discussed in a previous article.

But the redundant data we are talking about here is different: it is unnecessary duplicative data and thus has no value. An example of this would be multiple identical copies of an employee’s spreadsheet that they have stored on the corporate network, all of which are also unnecessarily backed up in each of the three fundamental backups outlined in the 3-2-1-1 -rule.

2. Outdated Data

There are reasons to store data that may no longer be in active use. The most obvious of these are data compliance rules and regulations that stipulate that certain types of data must be stored for a certain amount of time, even if they are no longer needed for day-to-day operations. day operations. But not all data fits into that category – in fact, most don’t. Data that is no longer needed because it has been replaced by updated information and has no legal value is obsolete data.

3. Trivial data

As the name implies, trivial data is information that is simply not important. It has no value for business knowledge, business acumen or record keeping. I’m looking at you, cat videos everywhere.

Negative effects of ROT data

• Increased data security risks: The more unnecessary data you have, the harder it is to protect what really matters from threats like ransomware and other data breaches.

• Increased data compliance and governance risks: ROT data often does not comply with rules and regulations that require certain types of data to be deleted after a certain amount of time.

• Increased liability risk: Data retained beyond the required retention period may be used against your organization in legal and financial proceedings.

• Decreased productivity: ROT data makes it harder for employees to quickly find the information they need to do their jobs efficiently and effectively.

• Higher storage costs: ROT data is a major source of excessive storage costs. This has traditionally been a problem faced by enterprises in their own data centers when they need to add more physical infrastructure. But as cloud-based data rises beyond the amount of data While enterprises store on-premises, it’s also becoming increasingly problematic in the cloud. In fact, recent research suggests that 94% of organizations do not stay within their cloud budget and spend an average of 43% too much. And what are they overspending on in the cloud? You guessed it: storage, including backup and recovery, is number one on the list.

Steps to Eradicate ROT

Fortunately, there are ways to eradicate the ROT data in your organization. Here are several steps you can take.

1. Create a data taxonomy or classification system: This is a set of definitions, labels, and groups to organize your cloud-based data. This will help you identify ROT data.

2. Set up a single SSOT (single source of truth) location for each category of your cloud data. This is where the “correct” version of each data item is stored, reducing the likelihood that ROT versions exist elsewhere in the cloud.

3. Define policies for managing the ROT data you identified. These are rules and procedures you set up to remove the ROT from the cloud.

4. Remember this is an iterative process. Constantly update your data taxonomy, manage your SSOT location on an ongoing basis to ensure it is used correctly, and regularly enforce your ROT data policy with the procedures you’ve put in place to get rid of it.

This process can be complex, but if you don’t have the time or resources to focus on it internally, another option is to extend your existing enterprise data management platform to your cloud environments to autonomously classify your cloud-based data, deduplicate unnecessary redundant data in the cloud and archive or delete obsolete and trivial cloud data.

In conclusion, ROT data is bad. And the same problems it can cause in your data center can also happen in the cloud. Some can be even worse in the cloud, where control costs can be higher. But with the right tools and knowledge, you can reduce cloud costs associated with ROT data, while also simplifying your overall data management and improving your data protection.


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