Jim McGann, Index Engines (http://www.indexengines.com/), says:

Organizations have become extremely good at stockpiling electronic data – hoarding it, in fact. Companies continue to add storage and disk space, allowing users to keep more emails and documents rather than purging, resulting in an immense and ever-growing data lake, putting companies at risk.

Between networks, desktops, disaster recovery backup tapes and other environments, documents and emails are copied and replicated several times, making the bulk even worse. Data sits hidden on legacy backup tapes, servers and hard drives like Pandora’s Box, containing unknown information.

For this reason corporate IT departments are embracing defensible deletion strategies, where they can legally purge large quantities of historical data, without violating compliance requirements or company policy. A viable place to start is to break down your data environments and prioritize the data that represents the most risk and liability – creating a tiered classification based on storage capacity and presumed data risk. The highest risk data environments are typically email servers and legacy tapes. Using this approach can make a monumental task much more manageable.

Understanding user files and email across the corporate network is crucial to developing and applying policy. Data mapping is used to profile content across all environments, allowing greater understanding of what data exists and its location. It can provide information such as age of the data, owner, locations, email sender/receiver and even sensitive keywords. An actionable data map can then execute the decisions to keep data or defensibly delete what is no longer required.

Companies need to understand what exists, develop a plan to manage it, and take action. In today’s legal and regulatory climate it is a risky proposition to sit on potential “smoking guns” and hope that judges and lawyers are not technology savvy enough to request this data.

White Paper Link and Write-up: Defensible Deletion Methodology – Link:


Defensible deletion has become a key records management strategy for organizations facing frequent litigation. Saving all data, and not managing it according to current regulations and compliance requirements, and those of tomorrow, is too risky. This White Paper will help you kick off a defensible deletion program, defining a methodology and workflow that is manageable and achievable.