4 signs your in-house data management is untenable

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

To derive as much value from your information as possible, you need to follow several data management best practices. These routines include analyzing data transmission among environments, threat modeling your data storage solutions and testing your enterprise's ability to access mission-critical data when particular systems fail. 

"58% of IT departments said they lacked the internal resources to test DR plans."

Of all the priorities your business has to deal with, data management likely isn't at the top of the list. As a result, your data management practices may cease to be cost effective nor conducive to supporting ongoing business development. Here are four signs this may be the case and that it's time for a new approach:

1. Your data management costs grow annually

You can analyze your enterprise's ability to economize is a good measure of whether you have the time, talent and resources necessary to manage data. A business that economizes well either lowers or sustains costs as conditions of a given operation change.

For example, if your enterprise produces more data each year but finds a way to leverage existing data storage solutions to keep expenses stagnant, it's done a fine job of economizing. However, if data management costs rise annually, this is a symptom your staff doesn't have the time to strategically utilize existing resources. 

2. You don't have the resources to test your disaster recovery plan

Conducting granular, extensive tests of your DR plan can be expensive, but well worth the effort. According to a study from CloudVelox, which specializes in cloud testing, migration and automation, 58 percent of companies either never test their DR plans or do so infrequently. When asked why they didn't test their DR plans consistently, 58 percent of IT departments said they lacked the internal resources to do so. 

Simply saying you should incur DR testing costs doesn't help your business. In this case, seriously consider outsourcing DR assessment.

3. You have a lot of duplicate data

Duplicate data hampers productivity efforts across your enterprise. For example, if a sales associate has two contact records for the same person in a customer relationship management system, he runs the risk of using incorrect phone numbers and email addresses when attempting to reach prospects.

Depending on the industry in which your business operates, duplicate data can have litigious consequences. Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. found that, when investigators discover duplicate records in medical malpractice cases, care providers are more likely to face legal penalties. If your organization doesn't have the bandwidth to identify and eliminate duplicate data, partner with organizations capable of doing so. 

Do you have the means to create a threat model of your data infrastructure? Do you have the means to create a threat model of your data infrastructure?

4. You haven't developed a data security strategy 

Encrypting data at rest isn't enough to guaranty your storage solutions are protected. Who's managing the encryption keys? Where are those keys stored? What protocols must personnel follow to access certain data? Effectively securing data involves conducting a comprehensive assessment of how your organization stores, transmits and processes information. 

At the same time, your business's primary objective is to successfully deliver whatever services or products in which it specializes. In this situation, the resources at your disposal will go toward supporting customer-facing efforts as opposed to back-end concerns. This makes developing storage security strategies impractical – at best, you simply inform sysadmins, DBAs and others to employ security best practices. 

However, in order to support high-level priorities, IT staff may cut corners and make compromises. This is a sign they lack the time required to collectively create a threat model of your data management practices and develop a holistic strategy. Seek a provider that can not only stress test your data infrastructure, but also ensure regulatory compliance, dictate role-based access and establish secure backups.