How to Safely Delete Obsolete Data

While you may think purging your data may risk you tossing information that may be needed in the future, it is even more of a risk to have too much obsolete data hanging around without the proper security measures. Not only does removing obsolete data clear up space, it also helps organizations minimize both legal and compliance risks. John Edwards, business technology journalist, shares an article on InformationWeek along with other technology experts on how to safely delete your obsolete data from your organization.

Reliable Identification. “‘A reliable way to identify obsolete data is to periodically review all collected data and then draft a retention policy based on sensitivity and need. Any data that doesn’t need to be stored should be deleted promptly,’ says Mungai. Beth Fulkerson, privacy and data security partner at law firm Culhane Meadows, adds, ‘To achieve comprehensive privacy compliance, organizations should create a data map listing all of the types of personally identifiable information (PII) collected, processed, stored, or shared. A data management policy can be created in a similar manner, involving different stakeholders for different types of data and taking into consideration laws that require deletion rather than retention.”

Safer Handling. “The best way to handle obsolete data is to minimize the amount of data collected. Mungai suggests that ‘By reducing the data that’s collected to only the bare minimum, organizations significantly reduce the risk of inadvertently storing unnecessary data. This approach is effective because it’s proactive instead of reactive.’ Kurup add that organizations should plan for archiving or deleting data long before it becomes obsolete.”

Key Components. “‘Training and change management are key components of a successful data management program,’ says Edwards. Kurup adds, ‘Adjusting user behavior related to email, file storage, tagging, and sharing can streamline data management and significantly reduce the amount of obsolete data created.’ To be successful, Kurup concludes, organizations should work to improve the user experience instead of just simply establishing new policies and procedures.”

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