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Archiving and eDiscovery Community Blog

Symantec Survey Finds Infinite Data Retention Leading to Costly Backup and Archiving Mistakes

Created: 04 Aug 2010 • Updated: 29 May 2014
Katie Beck's picture
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We recently surveyed 1,680 IT pros and legal executives in 26 countries to find out how their companies are managing their information stores. Or should I say not managing their information stores.  Eight-seven percent of the respondents admit they recognize the need for an information management plan, but less than half of them have actually implemented one.
A comprehensive information management plan is critical to effectively managing ever-growing data volumes, while making it quick and easy to search for and recover specific records. However, it’s the fear of deleting important records that keep enterprises from moving away from the outdated strategy of simply keeping everything forever.  That leads to higher costs and longer backup windows.  With the massive amounts of information stored on difficult-to-access backup tapes, eDiscovery has become a lengthy, inefficient and costly exercise.
Another red flag is that nearly half of the enterprises surveyed are improperly using their backup and recovery software for archiving.  Seventy percent of enterprises use their backup software to place legal holds and 25 percent preserve the entire backup set when they perform a legal hold on files and documents.  Respondents said 45 percent of backup storage comes from legal holds alone.
Enterprises are also retaining far too much information.  Seventy-five percent of backup storage consists of infinite retention or legal hold backup sets.  Respondents also stated that 25 percent of the data they back up is not needed for business or should not be kept in a backup. 
Here are some best practices that organizations can use to get back on track with managing their information:


  • Create a formal information retention plan
  • Stop using backup for archiving and legal holds
  • Deploy deduplication to reduce storage amount
  • Delete according to your information retention policies  
  • Use an archive system for eDiscovery

Survey findings: 2010 Information Management Health Check Survey
We’d like to hear from you—how do you manage your ever-growing information stores?  If you've been able to get control over your data, tell us about it here so others can follow your example.