11:07 AM
George Crump
George Crump
Connect Directly

Keeping Data Forever vs. Data Retention

Keeping data forever vs. data retention is going to become an increasingly fierce battle. In the past data retention strategies always won but as we discussed in our first entry in the series the technology is now available to store data forever and as we discussed in the second entry the technology is there to find it when you need it.

Keeping data forever vs. data retention is going to become an increasingly fierce battle. In the past data retention strategies always won but as we discussed in our first entry in the series the technology is now available to store data forever and as we discussed in the second entry the technology is there to find it when you need it.The alternative to a keep it forever strategy is to have a very specific data retention strategy, something that I used to be a promoter of. The challenge with implementing fixed data retention strategies is that first you have to get various non-IT departments to decide exactly how long their data needs to be retained. Herding cats may be an easier task. Many will say they want their data kept forever anyway. Which then you need to convince them why they shouldn't. Obviously in the keep it forever strategy you are giving them exactly what they want. Giving people what they want is always popular.

Other departments will want their information deleted rather quickly or to follow some obscure guideline. Reality is that different types of data needs to be stored for varying lengths of time and the regulations that dictate those timeframes are often vague and change frequently. The challenge is most people don't store or tag their information by how it should be retained, they either don't have the time, don't know how to tag it or wouldn't know what the retention policy is even if they could tag it. The odds of you properly categorizing all the data in all its forms into the right retention windows are stacked against you. The man hours to properly identify up front and as an ongoing bases all the data which is being created in your enterprise, and then to properly move that data into the right retention buckets at just the right time are going to be staggering.

Finally and probably most condemning to retention policies is the fact that digital assets are too portable. As a result even if you build the perfect data retention strategy, are able to maintain it and verify that data is deleted at just the right time, employees have a tendency to look after themselves first, not the organization. It is difficult to stop an employee that finds some condemning data that may hurt the organization but helps or protects them. They can for example email the data to a personal email address or copy it to a USB stick. You have to assume if the data was going to hurt the organization it is going to get out somehow. It seems like it always does. The organization's best bet, other than never doing anything wrong, is to at least know about potential threats and be prepared to defend itself. If the data is deleted as part of a retention policy, that is hard to do.

In our next entry we will wrap up this series with looking at the costs associated with a keep data forever strategy and how to keep those costs under control. The strategy needs to be accomplished while meeting the typical cost challenges beyond hard costs; power, cooling and space.

Track us on Twitter:

Subscribe to our RSS feed.

George Crump is lead analyst of Storage Switzerland, an IT analyst firm focused on the storage and virtualization segments. Find Storage Switzerland's disclosure statement here.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
Partner Perspectives
What's This?
In a digital world inundated with advanced security threats, Intel Security seeks to transform how we live and work to keep our information secure. Through hardware and software development, Intel Security delivers robust solutions that integrate security into every layer of every digital device. In combining the security expertise of McAfee with the innovation, performance, and trust of Intel, this vision becomes a reality.

As we rely on technology to enhance our everyday and business life, we must too consider the security of the intellectual property and confidential data that is housed on these devices. As we increase the number of devices we use, we increase the number of gateways and opportunity for security threats. Intel Security takes the “security connected” approach to ensure that every device is secure, and that all security solutions are seamlessly integrated.
Featured Writers
White Papers
Current Issue
Dark Reading's October Tech Digest
Fast data analysis can stymie attacks and strengthen enterprise security. Does your team have the data smarts?
Flash Poll
10 Recommendations for Outsourcing Security
10 Recommendations for Outsourcing Security
Enterprises today have a wide range of third-party options to help improve their defenses, including MSSPs, auditing and penetration testing, and DDoS protection. But are there situations in which a service provider might actually increase risk?
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
Published: 2014-10-24
Cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerability in admincp/apilog.php in vBulletin 4.4.2 and earlier, and 5.0.x through 5.0.5 allows remote authenticated users to inject arbitrary web script or HTML via a crafted XMLRPC API request, as demonstrated using the client name.

Published: 2014-10-24 in Not Yet Commons SSL before 0.3.15 does not properly verify that the server hostname matches a domain name in the subject's Common Name (CN) field of the X.509 certificate, which allows man-in-the-middle attackers to spoof SSL servers via an arbitrary valid certificate.

Published: 2014-10-24
WP-Ban plugin before 1.6.4 for WordPress, when running in certain configurations, allows remote attackers to bypass the IP blacklist via a crafted X-Forwarded-For header.

Published: 2014-10-24
Stack-based buffer overflow in CPUMiner before 2.4.1 allows remote attackers to have an unspecified impact by sending a mining.subscribe response with a large nonce2 length, then triggering the overflow with a mining.notify request.

Published: 2014-10-24
Electric Cloud ElectricCommander before 4.2.6 and 5.x before 5.0.3 uses world-writable permissions for (1) and (2), which allows local users to execute arbitrary Perl code by modifying these files.

Best of the Web
Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio
Follow Dark Reading editors into the field as they talk with noted experts from the security world.