Man­ag­ing the Ex­plo­sion

To­day the big­gest chal­lenge in front of an or­ga­ni­za­tion is the man­age­ment of data for se­cu­rity and stor­age

Voice&Data - - DATA MANAGEMENT - Vi­jay Mhaskar

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.

Con­clu­sion

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

vad­mail@cy­ber­me­dia.co.in

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