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Digital hoarders unmasked

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Research commissioned by Veritas Technologies shows that the vast majority of IT decision makers are posing significant risks their organisations due to bad hoarding habits.

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Veritas research highlighted serious issues in data management
Veritas research highlighted serious issues in data management
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73 per cent of all respondents indicated that they store data that could be potentially harmful to their organisations

IT decision makers are hoarding their digital files and saving 54 per cent of all the data they create

Employees struggle to determine if data has long-term importance or value

A whopping 82 per cent of IT decision makers admit to being hoarders of data and digital files according to research carried out by information management specialist Veritas Technologies.

 

Following its Data Genomics project that analysed tens of billions of files and their attributes from many of its customers’ unstructured data environments, Veritas commissioned a study to analyse the data storage habits of IT decision makers and global office professionals.

 

The research, conducted by Wakefield Research on behalf of Veritas Technologies across 13 countries and more than 10,000 office professionals and IT decision-makers, looked into how individuals manage data.

 

Significant concerns regarding data hoarding were highlighted, with 73 per cent of all respondents indicating that they store data that could be potentially harmful to their organisations. These include: unencrypted personal records, job applications to other companies, unencrypted company secrets and embarrassing employee correspondence.

 

The findings highlighted that IT decision makers are hoarding their digital files and saving 54 per cent of all the data they create. In addition, 41 per cent of all digital files created go unmodified for three or more years.

 

While this indicates that data hoarding behaviour is common across organisations, 48 per cent of office professionals admit that they wouldn’t trust a data hoarder to turn in a project on time.

 

Respondents are also willing to do the unexpected in order to keep the files they’ve hoarded. Almost half (45 per cent) would rather work weekends for three months than get rid of all of their digital files. Meanwhile, 46 per cent would rather throw out all of their clothes (!) than their digital files.

A significant majority of IT decision makers were overwhelmed by the extent and amount of data that they are hoarding. About three quarters of IT decision makers frequently take time away from their daily responsibilities to deal with data hoarding.

 

In addition, 69 per cent of office pros admit to abandoning efforts to organise and delete their old digital files because it’s too overwhelming.

 

Employees struggle to determine if data has long-term importance or value. As a result, 47 per cent of ITDMs have heard employees say they are afraid they’ll eventually need to refer to the data again.

The amount of data their company stores would increase the time it takes to respond to a data breach, according to 86 per cent of IT decision makers.

 

Moreover, what is being retained could itself be harmful, with 83 per cent of IT decision makers and 62 per cent of office professionals admitting they retained items that could be detrimental to their employer or their own career prospects. These include: unencrypted personnel records, job applications to other companies, unencrypted company secrets and embarrassing employee correspondence. Personal files make up quite a bit of the ‘junk’ saved, with 96 per cent of IT decision makers admitting to saving unnecessary personal files.

 

In May 2018, the European parliament will implement the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), a set of EU-wide laws designed to harmonise data protection across the region.

 

Both EU-based companies and those outside doing business within are affected. With a focus on protecting EU citizens and their data from misuse and lax data security, the consequences for non-compliance are potentially huge. Maximum non-compliance fines are the higher of $22.3 million USD (€20 million) or four per cent of worldwide turnover.

 

Chris Talbott, solutions leader at Veritas Technologies said: “In today’s digital age, virtually every organisation struggles with the challenges brought on by exponential data growth. As a result, office professionals and IT departments have reacted by hoarding data for ‘potential’ use in the future.

 

“To make matters worse, employees are downloading everything from personal music and photos, to shopping lists on the same servers, which could lead to serious brand integrity issues, hefty fines and regulatory inquiries if not properly managed by the IT department.”

 

 

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