Preventing ROT Data Accumulation with In-Place Data Governance

Preventing ROT Data Accumulation with In-Place Data Governance

Data never stops accumulating, which means that proactive measures are required to stay on top of data growth, even if you’ve just completed a ROT data cleanup. Investing in enterprise governance technology can supercharge your organization’s ability to preventing future ROT data accumulation.

Information Governance platforms that empower organizations to manage data in place are especially well suited for this challenge. In-place data governance refers to analyzing, classifying, and governing unstructured data in its current location, as opposed to once it’s been moved to an archive or repository. Our proprietary IG platform, Rational Governance, interacts with data where it lives and is accessed by enterprise users on a day-to-day basis, such as on file servers, local devices, or cloud shares.

Now that you’ve learned why and how to remove ROT data at your organization, this final blog post in our ROT series will discuss proactive techniques using in-place governance technology that will help you prevent ROT data accumulation going forward.

Create Records Taxonomies

Before you can act on data to prevent ROT data accumulation, it is first necessary to understand the content of your data. Taxonomies are searches that logically combine document metadata and content to classify documents. Building taxonomies for retained record types and for documents that may be redundant, obsolete, or trivial can serve as a key proactive measure in the war against ROT data accumulation. If you have just completed a ROT cleanup exercise using an enterprise governance platform (as discussed in our last blog post), you’ve likely already uncovered useful criteria for identifying records and ROT data that you can repurpose when creating go-forward Records and ROT taxonomies.  

Governance platforms equipped with machine leaning (like Rational Governance) can use examples of either record types or ROT data to build models capable of enhancing taxonomy searches that automatically identify potential record types or ROT data. Creating classifiers like taxonomies enables you to act on data more efficiently in two ways: by (1) automatically identifying and classifying data as it’s created and modified; and (2) serving as the basis for automated records retention and deletion actions.

Automate Record Retention and Deletion Policies

A primary cause of ROT data accumulation is records management procedures that are reliant on end users. Governance technologies can help organizations overcome this obstacle by automating records policies on data in place. Rational Governance’s Policy Engine enables users to attach data management rules and schedules to user-defined taxonomies. Rational Governance uses these rules to carry out data management policies such as data retention, deletion, preservation, litigation hold, archive, and migration. Automated deletion and retention policies eliminate the need for humans to act, ensuring data management is consistent and continuous throughout.

Monitor Sensitive Data

An additional step you can take to help mitigate risk associated with future ROT data accumulation is automatically classifying your data based on sensitivity level. A data sensitivity classification can be used to prioritize highly sensitive data for deletion first. As discussed in the first blog in our ROT series, over-retaining sensitive data especially can open your organization up to security and regulatory risks and liabilities. Search and machine learning capabilities like those in Rational Governance can facilitate data sensitivity classification and help to identify sensitive content like PII and PHI. From here, records managers can use tools like Rational Governance to prioritize and automate the deletion of potential ROT data that poses the greatest risk to their organization. To learn more about sensitive data classification, see our recent blog article on this subject.

Establish or Update Storage Policies

Taxonomies and automated data management can take you a long way, but it’s also important to formalize your organization’s policy for handling ROT data and set best practice guidelines for users to follow. While it’s true that most end users will prioritize the day-to-day tasks of their jobs before records management, well-established policies around individual data management are an important contributor to a culture of data mindfulness.

A Proactive End to the Series

Like death and taxes, ROT data accumulation is one of life’s inevitabilities. Ignoring ROT data only poses more significant costs, risks, and liabilities. Managing and preventing ROT data accumulation requires strategy, resources, and time – all of which can be aided by proactive planning and an investment in in-place governance technologies like Rational Governance. Be proactive, employ smart technology, and act on your data now.

Sarah Cole

About The Author

Sarah Cole

Senior Director of Consulting
Sarah Cole serves as Senior Director of Consulting at Rational Enterprise. As a technologist and eDiscovery veteran, Sarah is best known for her ardent advocacy of predictive and textual analytics in the legal technology space.