ROT data is not just inefficient, it’s downright dangerous to businesses

In Singapore, SMEs and other MNCs have to consider taking proactive steps in information governance, especially when there are business ties with others operating in the EU bloc.

Companies without the tools to gain visibility into their data repositories, could easily result in weeks of lost time and productivity with a simple regulatory or legal request. Under the GDPR for example, fines for non-compliance could be as high as SGD $1,351,685 or up to 5 per cent of a company's annual global turnover.Though discussions on new data protection laws are still ongoing in Asia, there is an immediate need for leaders to acknowledge that it is time to identify business value and risk by taking control of their data.

With rising compliance challenges in the face of evolving data protection regimes, what measures should be taken to prepare for fast-changing data landscape? 

Data empowerment with information governance

Information governance is the strategy that organisations deploy to proactively manage information risk. This strategy requires the systematic integration of people, process, and technology to identify and protect the organisation's mission-critical information, while simultaneously eliminating information that contains no value. Taking a holistic approach to information governance will not only help organisations to be ready for changes to data protection policies, but free up precious internal resources to focus on business agility and innovation.

Visibility is key

The first stage of an information governance strategy requires gaining insight into an organisation's information ecosystem. Critical intelligence regarding the data's age, location, ownership and access control provides a roadmap for an effective evaluation of data assets. An effective information governance program will provide actionable intelligence to help a company improve unstructured data governance and reduce storage and management costs, risk, as well as achieve compliance.

Execute smart decisions

Once organisations have visibility into their information footprint, they must take action. IDC found that 52 per cent of corporate information that requires protection is currently not protected.Ultimately, the choice is between retention, protection, and deletion. By leveraging critical insights into the value of their information, organisations can assign classifications, deploy policies, and initiate cleanup. With the cost of managing a petabyte of data based on the Hadoop system costing roughly SGD $6, 749, 983 per year, it is imperative that organisations start cleaning up their information footprint as soon as they can. 

Resume control

Information governance does not occur overnight. Rather, with a systematic approach that brings together the right stakeholders to develop sustainable policies and aided by technology to analyze and automate the process; organizations will ensure successful governance outcomes.

Regulation and technology could be at odds but the key strategic outcomes are usually beneficial to businesses on the whole. Global trade would not have flourished if not for mutually-agreed rules and agreements, and it's important to look at data regulation in the same way. We are laying the groundwork for a digital future empowered by IoT where a lot more data will be auto-generated via smart devices. Leaders have to think forward and prepare for it by embracing the opportunity to turn dormant legacy data into a business asset, and lower their risk footprint at the same time.

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