Top 4 reasons to adopt data lifecycle management


Managing data throughout its lifecycle has become a strategic imperative for it teams. Faced with staggering data growth, it leaders recognize the need to adopt solutions and practices that not only control costs and reduce risk, but also effectively manage a wide variety of data types to achieve competitive business advantage.

August 16, 201712 mins
Man With Laptop | Iron Mountain

Managing data throughout its lifecycle has become a strategic imperative for it teams. Faced with staggering data growth, it leaders recognize the need to adopt solutions and practices that not only control costs and reduce risk, but also effectively manage a wide variety of data types to achieve competitive business advantage.

Researchers expect the amount of data to double every two years through the end of the decade, with the preponderance of growth comprised of unstructured data such as e-mail, social media, SharePoint interactions and other collaborative communications.1 Businesses are using this data to drive innovation and improve customer satisfaction through data analytics, the Internet of Things (IoT) and other initiatives.

But organizations also face enormous challenges in ensuring that they can protect, preserve and manage their data at every stage of its lifecycle. Without a coherent and comprehensive approach to data lifecycle management, organizations face huge risks, including spiraling storage costs, potential security breaches, noncompliance with regulatory requirements and an inability to respond to e-discovery demands. Beyond these tangible risks is the potential for missed opportunities, caused by an inability to leverage the strategic value of data through business intelligence and analytics.

Developing a comprehensive plan and strategy for data lifecycle management can feel like an overwhelming challenge for many IT organizations, particularly those trying to address the problem without the benefit of a trusted and experienced partner. There are myriad issues to deal with, such as the following:

  • Where and how to store data in the short and long term
  • Where and how to back up data
  • How to make sure data is accessible when needed for e-discovery requests, compliance or other business requirements
  • How to ensure rapid and complete recovery in the event of a disaster- whether physical or cyber
  • How to ensure data protection when the data is off-premises, in the cloud
  • When and how to move data to more cost-effective storage as it evolves during its lifecycle, from idea to production to accessible archive and then to cold storage
  • How to ensure that consistent and auditable policies are applied for data retention and disposal

Adding to this complexity are the numbers of options organizations now have as they build out their storage infrastructure strategy. Organizations can use public clouds, private clouds, hosted cloud services, on-premises solutions or even software-centric approaches such as storage virtualization or software-defined storage. Plus, organizations still have data and documents in a variety of formats, including paper, tape and disk, and in some cases, in audio files, medical images and more. Developing a flexible solution that addresses an overall data management strategy is not a simple task. Progressive companies consider providers with great technology backed by experience and in-depth knowledge.

This white paper examines the top four reasons why organizations must focus on developing and deploying data life cycle management as a strategic initiative. It also explores where and how to use specific solutions, along with the benefits of working with a partner that can offer a comprehensive approach to data life cycle management that meets the current and future needs of any organization.

Reason No.1: The Digitization Of Business Operations

Organizations of all sizes are more reliant upon digital operations than ever before. Digital transformation is a major driver of business processes and innovation as IT teams strive to leverage digitized data for competitive business advantage. IDC has predicted that worldwide IT spending on digital transformation technologies will reach more than $2.1 trillion in 2019,growing at a compound annual rate of16.8%.2

The stakes for IT teams have probably never been greater. The decisions that IT leaders make-in terms of which companies to choose as strategic partners or how to best deploy technologies such as cloud computing, software-defined data centers and IoT-will likely determine the fate of their organizations.

One of the most important responsibilities for the IT team is to develop and execute an effective data lifecycle management strategy that uses best practices to protect, preserve and manage data at all times. A successful data management strategy is essential to digital business operations for the following reasons:

  • Controlling costs: If your strategy is to keep buying more storage devices or more space in the cloud to support data growth, you will eventually obliterate the IT budget. A data lifecycle management strategy places value on your data as it moves through the various stages of its lifecycle. Once data is no longer useful for production environments, it can be moved to less costly storage, whether that is on-premises, in the cloud or in a hosted off-site tape vault. By working with a strategic partner to build and execute a data lifecycle management plan, your organization can leverage a wide range of technology solutions to keep costs down for all of your data, including backup, replication and archiving.

  • Leveraging data for competitive advantage: In a digitized business, data is the lifeblood of the organization. Companies depend more and more upon analytics to satisfy the needs of customers and employees. With a data lifecycle management strategy, IT can develop policies and procedures to ensure that all data is consistently tagged and indexed so it can be found and accessed whenever it is needed, whether it is in a business-critical production environment or a data archive. Many organizations struggle with using the right technologies to tier data and create consistent policies that maximize the value of data. Working with a strategic partner, IT teams can use best practices to establish enforceable governance policies that future-proof the value of data for as long as it needs to be retained.

  • Accelerate time to value: Time to value is a critical aspect of the digital business. Organizations must be able to deliver data, services and applications much faster than ever before to satisfy the needs of a more "consumerized" customer and employee base. A comprehensive data lifecycle management strategy makes everyone in the organization more productive, from customer sales reps to service technicians to application developers. You not only give these individuals and teams the ability to find and access data whenever they need it, but also eliminate the information silos that prevent effective collaboration across the company-and collaboration is one of the hallmarks of a successful digital business.

These are not the only benefits of data lifecycle management for the digital business. You will also be able to drive major improvements in security, compliance and data archiving, as discussed in the following sections.

Reason No.2: Security

A data breach or other security incident can be devastating to any organization. It is not only costly, but can also cause long-term damage to brand reputation and customer goodwill. Security is much more complex in today's business environment because most organizations are using on-premises solutions and off-premises cloud services to store, back up, replicate and recover their data. In addition, cybercriminals and others who would do harm to your business have become much more adept and sophisticated in preying upon any real or perceived gaps in your data protection schemes.

As organizations embrace cloud services and other models for data storage and archiving, they must work with vendors they trust to protect and secure their most prized assets. A data lifecycle management strategy will incorporate data protection as one of its core capabilities. As data becomes diffused and moves to a wider variety of places, choosing a single vendor to protect, preserve and manage data can offer much greater levels of security than trying a do-it-yourself approach. This is particularly apt if you are deploying public cloud models, where you lose visibility into your data and increase the risk of attacks from software-as-a-service or shadow IT initiatives that fall out of IT's control.

Working with a single vendor for data lifecycle management can mitigate these risks, particularly if the vendor offers a full complement of on premises and cloud solutions, including cloud backup, cloud archiving, disaster recovery, tape backup, tape archiving, restoration and migration, and secure asset disposition. Iron Mountain is a leader in data protection and storage because it offers all of these capabilities and constantly stays ahead of the curve in delivering data protection services to its customers. The Iron Mountain portfolio has evolved from physical storage and protection to encompass digital storage as well, with the same level of care, protection and innovation.

As an example, Iron Mountain has partnered with Virtustream to leverage its Virtustream® xStream® and Viewtrust® software to orchestrate, automate and secure cloud storage services for Iron Mountain cloud-based service offerings, including infrastructure as a service. With Viewtrust integration, Iron Mountain can facilitate infrastructure compliance with a broad range of security frameworks. In addition, Iron Mountain leverages its own highly secure, mirrored data centers to host its cloud services, ensuring the highest levels of physical and cybersecurity to customers

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