Managing the Explosion
Today the biggest challenge in front of an organization is the management of data for security and storage
Since India is the second largest country when it comes to mobile phone users, it’s high time that the Indian telecom sector understands the importance of using the right technology to address business and operative challenges. One of the key issues worth considering for this sector is the impact of the data that’s being generated and how does one manage the same?
Solving the Conundrum
Mobile phones and devices are used for multiple activities—calls, SMS, instant messaging, internet browsing, downloading videos, games, etc. All this translates into data being generated for the user’s telecom service provider. This data needs to be retained for meeting regulatory compliances, basic records monitoring, audit, and disaster recovery reasons. With 3G adoption going up and increasing penetration of smartphones, this issue will become more challenging.
In terms of managing all this information, this trend creates innumerable challenges for organizations, since buying more storage involves significant costs. Some of this data is in the unstructured format. The problem with managing unstructured data is that data is typically very scattered and is not assigned ownership. In addition, problems exist with identification of an old or irrelevant data, allocation of storage to the appropriate business unit or department, and understand data usage and consumption trends.
Are We Prepared?
How can an info-centric management approach help these organizations mitigate these challenges and ensure that the data is comprehensively protected? Also, how can they leverage the benefits arising out of technologies like virtualization, cloud computing, etc? How can they minimize the time required to pull out an information?
In an information management approach, organizations are able to search for such information quickly and efficiently. They have backed up data according to the predetermined policies, archived data for long-term storage and e-discovery purposes to help them find information later, and deleted records after a predetermined timeframe to reduce the volume of information IT has to store, manage, and discover. This not only assists organizations in ‘protecting’ the customer’s data, but also helps them to manage important company information.
Comprehensive Information Management Approach
The following recommendations will help in creating a comprehensive information management plan, which can help the telecom companies to address the issues related to the enormous data growth.
You need to know what is it that needs to be protected.
Know What to Protect:
Records and Information Management (RIM) Program:
Get started with a formal plan as soon as possible, and then refine it accordingly to address specific laws and regulations governing the retention and availability of information. Without a formal plan it is difficult to know when and what to delete, which drives over-retention and creates an additional risk.
Periodically Delete Electronically Stored Information (ESI):
According to the Symantec Information Retention and ediscovery survey, globally, most organizations (79%) believe that a proper information retention plan should allow them to delete information. Yet, 20% of organizations still retain archived data forever. This means that a large percentage of organizations are not correctly deploying the archive to minimize data through expiry and by implementing document retention policies.
The survey found approximately 40% of organizations worldwide keep data on their backup tapes infinitely and use those backup tapes for their legal process. This exposes them to the costly and dangerous proposition of restoration in the event of litigation. Backup is intended for recovery purposes, and 30-60 days is the longest data should be backed up. Files should then be automatically archived or deleted. Using backup only for disaster recovery enables an organization to delete older backup sets within months instead of years.
Although telecom companies will continue to face issues related to the information explosion, however it’s only by following a well-planned information management strategy that they can mitigate the crisis and also will be able to successfully manage meeting regulatory mandates in terms of information retention. The author is vice president, information management group, Symantec