One of the major advantages of cloud storage is the ability to have all your data in one location. This makes it easy to find, sort, and compare information. Yet when you have too much data cluttering up your system, it renders your data-mining efforts less effective. Holding onto outdated or useless data also requires more space, which increases your storage costs while providing no benefit.
As you get ready to move to file-based cloud storage, it’s the perfect time to clean up your data stores. By getting rid of data that serves no purpose, you’ll reduce your storage needs, simplify data mining and make your system backups more efficient.
Determining what’s “old”
The importance of data has nothing to do with the date when a file was created. A file created yesterday that doesn’t have any impact on the future of your company doesn’t need to be stored, whereas a file created 10 years ago that predicted the company’s growth and is consulted regularly still provides meaningful value.
When looking for “old” data, look for material that serves no possible future purpose or, as the Harvard Business Review puts it, that doesn’t help your company look ahead, only toward the past. Facts and figures that estimate old sales or growth are unlikely to have any future utility and can be eliminated.
However, when it comes to stored email, that’s a different story. Unless the messages are just holiday greetings or other friendly conversation, be wary of deleting any business-related communications with fellow employees or associates. You never know when what you wrote in an email or memo might have an importance or be called into question, so it’s a good idea to hang onto communications indefinitely.
When you have multiple employees working on the same files, it’s likely that some of them will get saved as duplicates. Not only does this make it difficult to know which file is the correct one down the road, but it makes data mining more confusing. Deleting duplicate files is one of the most effective ways of cleaning up your data, yet the difficulty lies in finding the ones that are definitely the duplicates.
As you go through your saved data looking for old, useless files, use this opportunity to look for repeat files. If you see some file names that look the same, write them down, and then search for these file names on your hard drive and see if you get several files with the same name. If you find duplicate files, sort them by date. Generally, the most recently updated file is the one you want to keep.
Backing up Data
Once you’ve found and eliminated the data you don’t need, you can start moving that data to your object-based cloud storage systems. Even when you have everything stored on the cloud, don’t forget to perform regular backups to make sure you always have copies of essential business data in more than one place.
Also, start being pickier about which files you save to your cloud storage. Before automatically saving something, determine if it has any future utility for your company. Then keep data clean by sorting data and going back through recent files every few months to delete anything you don’t need. By keeping your data stores clean as you go along, you’ll keep your storage needs to a minimum and make data easier to find when you need it.
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