I find myself talking to large businesses about data retention on a regular basis – it is a hot topic currently and for a good reason. Data is the heart of every organisation, no matter what industry it operates in. Without intellectual property, customer records, emails and other critical information, many companies would not be able to successfully continue with their operations.
Data retention is a policy that defines how data records are kept according to time period, generational rules and data formats. Generally, data retention is dictated by Federal, State and Territory governments, different industries, such as insurance, legal, medical, financial and other membership bodies.
The importance of data retention affects businesses in different ways. Often it is simply a case of meeting data compliance or adherence to regulatory requirements defined by a peak body. In simple terms, data retention policies are adopted by businesses to manage against the risk of losing intellectual property over a specific time frame. This could also include initiatives of preparedness against legal litigation, financial records management, etc.
Businesses today are increasingly adopting cloud based infrastructure and applications which consequently affects the way a business backs up and retains legacy data. Often leveraging cloud services may significantly reduce the ability for businesses to adopt the same data retention that they previously controlled autonomously in-house through tape and disk to disk methods. Many cloud backup services are not able to sustain long data retention regimes. This comes down primarily to the limitations of backup software and/or backend storage infrastructure. Adopting cloud based backup solutions need not compromise the existing data retention policies; instead this should significantly enhance the availability of restoring multi-generational data on demand.
Due to the complexities of maintaining data retention policies, it is not simply a case of setting and forgetting retention periods for organisational data. Frequent reviews are important and a necessary process to evaluate these policies over time. Additionally, data management also includes monitoring, auditing, searching, administration and ongoing management of business critical data.
It astounds me how many times I have had discussions with IT professionals about data retention where the comment is thrown back at me that data retention is not that important, or a 3 month retention policy for an organisation is more than adequate. A common mistake made by external IT support professionals is not addressing the specific and individual needs of the organisation pertaining to data retention policies. The following points illustrate the main misconceptions which can be prevented:
We at LiveBackup understand the importance of data protection and have built a cloud backup platform to adhere to the most stringent data retention regulations in the market today. The key advantages that I would like to put emphasis on are:
LiveBackup is fast becoming the benchmark in data protection services for Australian business, meeting challenges of data retention today and into the future.♦ End