Creating an archiving strategy requires addressing four considerations: what data should you keep; how do you store that data; how do you use that data; and how can you delete that data. Just copying data to tape (or, more likely now, cloud) doesn’t address all the issues.

Decide Which Data to Archive

There are two very simple archive strategies. You can archive all of your data, or you can archive none of your data. Neither of these simple approaches is likely to meet business or regulatory needs.

Instead, like almost every other IT project that involves data, you need to start by understanding your data. You need to understand which regulations apply to the data you collect, including data that’s not stored in formal databases. With this understanding, you can decide which data needs to be preserved and how long you need to retain it.

Decide How to Store Archived Data

Every storage media and device has an associated cost, and this cost isn’t limited to the cost of the physical media the data will be stored on. You also need to buy software licenses and pay the operational staff that monitors and manages the archiving process. In addition, archived data doesn’t just sit idle, and there are costs associated with how easy or hard it is to access the data for e-discovery or analytics purposes.

This isn’t strictly a question of the storage type, either. While some legal purposes may require archiving data in the exact format it was collected, sometimes archiving may be easier or meet other needs better if you transform the data to a new format. In addition, security considerations may require encrypting the archived data.

Using Archived Data

If you never needed to look back at archived data, there’d be no reason to keep it at all. But you do need to use it, and the right tools and approach will make that easier.

Often, using archived data requires searching it, whether to comply with a legal request or a GDPR data subject access request. Using archiving tools like Veritas Enterprise Vault makes it possible to search and recover the relevant archived data more easily.

Another use for archived data is in analytics. Modern data analysis methods find value in old data, but you need to access the full history to get the most value. Moving large volumes of data around can be tricky, so consider using secondary storage like Cohesity that enables you to run analytics workloads directly on the storage platform.

It’s also important to consider transforming archived data periodically to ensure it continues to be usable. Old formats may no longer be readable, so data formats may need to be upgraded to new versions. It may be appropriate to move data that’s no longer needed for archival purposes into a data lake where it can be easily used for analytics.

Manage Deleting Old Archived Data

You should know how long you need to keep all your archived data and have an automated process to delete it when it’s no longer needed. Tools like Enterprise Vault help you ensure workflows are properly executed.

Have you thought through all (or any) of these archiving issues? VAST IT Services supports a full suite of tools and IT services to help you store, manage, and use your archived data effectively. Contact us to learn how you can manage your archived data more effectively.

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