It starts with corporate policies around data management. This is not a new idea. We've had issues around various types of data for years. Whether it's security, backup, disaster recovery or business continuity, there is a certain lack of understanding -- in some cases a total lack of understanding as to what corporate data is being stored -- and even noncorporate data that ends up on corporate storage.
The problem in most cases is that there are no clearly defined policies around data. We just buy more storage because we know storage is cheap now and we just keep adding to it. I've said that cheap storage equates to procrastination when it comes to retention policies. So, ultimately it's important to understand the data that you have and then identify what you need to keep and how long you need to keep it. If you keep everything forever, your mass of storage will just keep growing making data, particularly unstructured data, more difficult to manage.
Retention should employ practices, like data classification and information lifecycle management (ILM), to help identify the data on hand. Then, use that knowledge to determine the appropriate retention, archiving and deletion strategies for your industry and specific business.
Listen to the Unstructured data FAQ audiocast.
Go to the beginning of the Unstructured Data FAQ Guide.