The Compounding Cost of Hoarding Data Over Time

by Aware HQ, on 9/17/18 9:12 AM

Headlines swirl around news outlets exposing data breaches regularly and the cost of data breaches continue to increase over time. As of July 2018, IBM reports that the average cost of a data breach is $3.86 million. 

With breaches rising in prominence and expense, another concerning trend is the skyrocketing amounts of data. IDC estimates that by 2020, the digital universe will contain more than 40 zetabytes of data. 

Organizations around the globe have large datasets that come with inherent risk and liability and leaders need to proactively consider best practices when preserving and protecting data.

Why Store Data?

Organizations are required to store datasets for a period of time in order to a comply with a variety of regulations such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) or the Sarbanes–Oxley Act.

However, the requirement of storing data does not mean that it needs to be stored indefinitely. In 2006, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that companies are immune in the case of litigation if they can demonstrate that they delete data based on a repeatable and predictable process in the course of conducting regular business. A data retention policy is not only a protection measure from potential lawsuits, but also saves data storage costs.

The Compounding Cost of Holding Too Much Data

We’ve heard of compound interest, where an asset grows in value over time. However, the compounding effect can also intensify a negative factor. Using that logic, data retained over time has the potential to compound in risk value.

More Data, More Risk

The more data you collect, the greater the risks. With a larger dataset, your organization will need to take more steps to protect that larger amount of data.

Data Storage Is Expensive

While data reduction technologies enable data compression, the cost of storing a consistently growing volume of data inevitably climbs.

Higher Data Management Costs 

Holding onto valueless and unnecessary data makes searching cumbersome and often increases a company's liability. This is true when teams are responding to litigation demands and for Subject Access Requests through the GDPR.

So how can you protect yourself, your team and your organization from these risks and costs? It is best practice to implement data retention policies that align with your industry and unique business needs. Identify and understand all of the datatypes in your company's ecosystem and build to have a comprehensive data retention strategy for your organization.

*This article is provided for general informational purposes only, and may not reflect current law in your jurisdiction. No reader should act or refrain from acting on the basis of any information included in, or accessible through, this Post without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice.

Topics:Data Management