Are You a Data Hoarder? The Dangers of Data Hoarders in Business

In a time when data storage seems to be pretty much unlimited, organizations are storing vast amounts of old, redundant information. Here we’ll explore the ramifications of data hoarders for your business.

Read more: Top Cyber Security Threats to Organizations

What Is Data Hoarding?

Data hoarding is the accumulation of saved files and information over time, whether on a personal computer or on a shared network within a corporation. Whether digital hoarding is happening at an individual or enterprise level, it’s a huge security vulnerability.

Data hoarding is the accumulation of saved files and information over time.

Data is arguably the lifeblood of a company. It informs key decision makers on everything from how to budget for the upcoming quarter to where inefficiencies lie. The more you lose sight over data and its storage, the more likely your business will suffer a breach in data security. Data hoarding costs your company in more ways than one.

Data Hoarding Impacts

Hoarding excess amounts of old files can negatively impact data security. Files often contain sensitive information, and if they’re unencrypted, they’re at risk of getting hacked or stolen.

Furthermore, storing excess files severely hampers your organization’s flexibility and efficiency. When old and redundant files clog up your data stores, it makes the information harder to find.

Contrary to the idea that you’re doing your team or your organization a favor by saving files for future reference, you’re throwing those files into a blackhole that you’ll have a hard time retrieving them from — if the need ever actually arises.

Read more: How a Cybersecurity Incident Hurts Your Brand

Costs of Data Hoarders

If sensitive information gets leaked or hacked, your company brand suffers as a result. You may have to win back the trust of key clients. Data hoarding and its associated security risks can cost your company its reputation, but it can also incur huge operational costs.

In relation to data loss and breach of security, your company may get charged with a fine for breach of data protection, copyright laws, or other compliance issues.

Purchasing more storage than you need encourages data hoarding.

In addition, cloud storage makes it incredibly easy to purchase more storage as needed. With limitless cloud space, it’s logical when network users don’t think twice about saving files. However, the costs of increasing cloud storage capacity quickly add up. This is especially the case with businesses with multiple locations, as the cloud may host a copy of the data for each location.

The other side of this add-it-when-you-need-it mentality is that some businesses purchase more storage capacity than they actually need. This not only encourages future data hoarding, but it also costs companies around the world more than $62 billion every year, according to Business Insider.

Tips to Limit Data Hoarding in Your Business

You can start rethinking your company’s approach to data storage and management with these tips.

  • The CIO should set the right cultural tone around data security and storage best practices.
  • Remind network users on a regular basis that they should refrain from saving personal data, including photos and emails, on the cloud.
  • Create a company policy with a “spring cleaning” schedule. Multiple times per year, users should manually delete old and redundant files. At the IT level, implement processes to automatically purge old data after a set period of time has lapsed.
  • Some cloud service providers have monitoring tools that assesses how much data is being used and how frequently users open files. This can assist in deciding which files you can purge.

Mitigating the Risks of Data Hoarders

It’s easy for companies to store excess amounts of data, whether intentionally or accidentally. Plus, the growing capacities of cloud servers make it ever easier to add more data storage space. However, hanging on to old data and keeping copies of copies puts your company’s data at risk, hampers efficiency, and can incur financial and reputational costs.

There are some steps your company can start taking now in order to limit data hoarding. With the CIO leading from the front on best practices, implement new storage practices and take advantage of monitoring tools. These small but effective changes to your company’s culture will encourage mindful file saving and deletion.

Lauren Hansen
Lauren Hansen is a content writer covering IT strategy and trends, enterprise networking, and PM software for CIOInsight.com, enterprisenetworkingplanet.com, project-management.com, and technologyadvice.com. When she's not writing about technology trends, she's working out or spending time with family.

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