Let’s say you are moving to a new house. What do you take with you?
You might pack up all your clothes, shoes and toys. But, before you head out the door, you might decide to toss the old VHS tapes and leave the spare vacuum cleaner behind.
Moving to a new home is like upgrading your data storage systems. You need to keep what’s important and valuable, but don’t waste precious resources moving unnecessary stuff.
A data housekeeping strategy is one of those things that, if done well, can add a lot of value to your organisation. But it takes time and effort.
The key is to start small. Here are some guidelines you can use to get started:
Do an inventory of all the data in your organisation. Ask yourself: Where does it live? Who owns it? How old is it? What kind of shape is it in?
Know where your data is stored and who has access to it. This will help you comply with both industry regulations and internal policy. It will also help you determine how at-risk you are from internal and external threats.
Create policies for handling new data. This includes developing procedures for how data is produced, managed, archived and disposed of — as well as creating a mechanism to enforce your policies.
Train employees on proper data management. Your employees are responsible for producing much of the content that will eventually be stored in your data system, so they must know how to manage it properly. Set up training sessions and establish protocols and guidelines for practices, including saving files correctly and naming them appropriately.
Define metrics for measuring the success of your policies.
Organisations often fall into the trap of thinking they are managing data security simply because they have policies in place. Policies are a great start, but you’ll need to test and measure their effectiveness to see actual results.
For example, the percentage of employees who understand their responsibilities around data management may be one metric; another might be how many times certain processes are used or what kind of improvements have been realised due to implementing new controls.
Develop a process for reviewing and updating your policies as needed. Many businesses have policies created years ago and haven’t kept pace with changes in technology, customer expectations or regulations. An annual review of your security practices will help ensure that you’re taking full advantage of current tools and techniques that can impact risk reduction.
It’s easy enough to assume that our files are being taken care of. Who doesn’t have a version of Microsoft Office loaded on their computer? Who doesn’t have a hard drive with plenty of space? Surely these programs take care of themselves, right?
Developing a data housekeeping strategy is not a small task because it involves many moving parts. However, it’s an increasingly vital component of any organisation. At Wyntec, we guide business owners to create an efficient system. After all, the key to a successful data housekeeping strategy is this: you must know what you have, where it’s located and how it’s being used.
Contact us today for more information!