Storage Growth: A Symptom of Inadequate Information Governance

Storage Growth: A Symptom of Inadequate Information Governance

An explosion, tsunami, and avalanche are adjectives that have all been used over the past decade to describe the amount of new data being created. The Petabyte (1,000,000 Gigabytes) has become the common order of magnitude used to describe the amount of storage capacity many enterprises are approaching or already have under management. The increasing costs associated with the technology and resources necessary to store and protect data at this magnitude is burdening organizations across a myriad of industries. IT departments are in a frantic search to find ways to reduce cost and capacity by moving data to the cloud and/or analyzing legacy data to determine how much of it can be deleted.

Each of these approaches can tangibly reduce costs related to storage, however, neither can be done without some level of information governance to guide decisions for what data can be moved to the cloud or disposed of. Cleaning up legacy data is an initial project many organizations undertake as part of their information governance program for two reasons.

  1. It provides the ability to prove an early success, and
  2. Hard cost savings in storage capacity are easy to quantify

In a survey conducted with attendees at the CGOC Summit last year, 42% of respondents identified reducing storage capacity as the major benefit. While the benefits in terms of cost are easier to see in storage, it only addresses a symptom. The lack of sound information governance and management over the years is the underlying problem. It continues to be a challenge for many organizations with a vast majority having just 40% or less of their information being managed as part of their governance processes.


The tremendous increase in storage capacity and cost is attributable, in large part, to the lack of policies governing decisions regarding what data had to be kept and protected, and that which could be eliminated entirely. IT has sought technical solutions to address the challenge such as compression and de-duplication. However, these are just a Band-Aid treating the symptom. They only address the size of data elements, but not the volume. Information governance practices implemented and consistently executed can have a significant impact on the storage capacity problem. It ensures that only data with business value or needing to be retained to meet legal/compliance requirements is stored.

Addressing storage growth through improved information governance will have a far more meaningful impact on reducing the amount of data retained and resulting in cost savings, which are not just confined to data storage. All the information governance stakeholders benefit from having less, but more valuable and quality data sets to work with in terms of reduced cost with increased accuracy and productivity. As the saying goes ‘don’t just treat the symptom, cure the illness’ (or something to that effect).

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