For many businesses and organizations, protecting data is a high or top priority. Data lifecycle management (DLM) is the process in which data is created, stored and, in some cases, eventually deleted.
The idea of a data “lifecycle” refers to the changing value of data over periods of time. The lifecycle ends when the data becomes obsolete and there is no longer any justification for its storage. Obviously, some data, for historical purposes at least, might merit permanent storage. However, for most organizations with limited budgets, decisions must be made on whether or not data merits continued preservation or not.
Since data can accumulate very rapidly in busy organizations, data lifecycle management solutions must create a smooth flowing process in which data is recorded, classified, stored and transferred. Decisions must also be made on data redundancy and whether storage takes place on-site, off-site, or at multiple locations.
DLM solutions often store data according to its importance in the daily activities of an organization. Such data is said to be stored in a hierarchical fashion. The data which is used regularly is placed in storage in which there are fewer files that can be more easily browsed and searched. Other data, usually of greater age, is stored in more “remote” locations. For example, to look up older information that is not used frequently, one might need to access an off-site storage server.
Threats in data lifecycle management
DLM is vulnerable to both internal and external security threats that can lead to problems like data loss and breach of confidential data. Such events can have catastrophic consequences for a business or organization.
Security threats often occur due to weaknesses inherent in the DLM system itself, but also to practices used by those employees working with the DLM system. For example, in many cases insufficient control is maintained over confidential data. Studies have shown that private information is often found in company emails, network files, laptops, USB drives, and in other unsecured areas.
Lack of proper password and computer security often leads to problems in the workplace. Employees will often use unauthorized computer software, for example, that could contain viruses or malware. Many employees also allow unauthorized people to access computers, or use company devices improperly.
Protecting data from intrusion and loss is not only a matter of having the proper technology, but also additionally requires a disciplined organization that maintains the best security practices.
DLM solutions continue to evolve
The latest developments in data lifecycle management involve new ways of valuing data that allow managers to more effectively store data. The idea is for data to be optimally stored at the right place and at the right time, and to be easily traced when necessary. When files are migrated, the local system still retains the identifying file attributes, but the data is stored in the remote location.
DLM systems provide organizations with an effective and efficient process for storing data, but it is necessary to implement proper security to maintain system integrity.