– Jim McGann, VP of Information Discovery, Index Engines (www.indexengines.com), says: 

Understanding and profiling enterprise user data, its’ location and who owns it has been next to impossible for most organizations.  Regulatory, legal and compliance requirements are forcing organizations to better understand their data assets, manage it, and clean it up in order to avoid future liabilities. 

Data mapping can provide you the tools to better understand your data environment. Original data maps were created with face to face interviews, defining what data resides on which server and who owns it.  They don’t get to the granular level that is required by today’s demanding legal and risk management requirements.  Newer actionable data maps, based on enterprise class indexing technology, can help control costs and reduce resources, manage risk and liability and classify and manage data based on policy and storage rules. 

High speed, enterprise class indexing technology creates an actionable data map, providing comprehensive knowledge of data assets and a profile of user content to enable you to take further action.  High speed, efficient indexing will support petabytes of data which can be processed in reasonable amounts of time and with minimal resources.  This indexing platform must also support all classes of storage environments and data sources, including LAN filers, email databases, desktops and even backup tapes in order to ensure comprehensive knowledge of the enterprise.  This tool must allow for automated processes so that IT organizations can take action, such as migrating data to a legal hold archive, move to cheaper storage or defensibly delete what is no longer required.

Some use cases of a data map would be:

·         Find user data owned by ex-employees and determine if it has value to the business by reporting on last accessed data.  Purge data that has no value and reclaim storage capacity.

·         Find and manage all user pst’s email files.  Determine if it has been accessed or modified in the past 3 years, purge pst’s that are no longer in use.

·         Migrate user data that has not been accessed in 5 or more years to less expensive storage, including the cloud.

Data maps provide significant value to any organization and allow IT organizations to not only support legal and compliance with the information they require, but also to recoup storage capacity.  Analysts estimate that anywhere from 40 to 60% of storage capacity contains data that has no value or use to the organization and can be purged.  Implementing a data map is a cost effective strategy that will become a core component in tomorrow’s data center.

About the Authors

Jim McGann is VP of Marketing for Index Engines (www.indexengines.com), a leading electronic discovery provider based in New Jersey. McGann is a frequent writer and speaker on the topics of big data, backup tape remediation, electronic discovery and records management.