Data hoarding means pointless expenses and fines for companies

Companies could waste $891 billion by 2020, storing files they don't need.

Data hoarding is real. It's present among pretty much every enterprise, and it is also causing a whole lot of trouble for them. These conclusions were released in a new report by information management company Veritas Technologies. Out of 10,022 global office professionals and ITDMs polled for the report, 73 per cent said that the data they keep could actually be harmful to their organisation. 

That is because a significant portion of those files include unencrypted personal records, job applications to other companies, unencrypted company secrets and 'embarrassing employee correspondence'.  Another, more tangible problem is in storage. The report claims 86 per cent of this data is basically useless, but it could cost businesses $891 billion in cost by 2020. But how real is data hoarding, actually? According to the report – very real. 

More than half (54 per cent) of all data created gets stored somewhere. More than four out of ten files (41 per cent) go for years without ever being changed. The report also says these hoarders would go to extreme lengths to keep these files – they’d rather give up on their clothes, and even weekends (!!) rather than files. Almost half (45 per cent) would rather work weekends for three months, than delete the files. Three quarters have also said they take the time out of their daily responsibilities to deal with data hoarding. 

“In today’s digital age, virtually every organisation struggles with the challenges brought on by exponential data growth. As a result, office professionals and IT departments have reacted by hoarding data for ‘potential’ use in the future,” said Chris Talbott, solutions leader at Veritas Technologies.  

“To make matters worse, employees are downloading everything from personal music and photos, to shopping lists on the same servers, which could lead to serious brand integrity issues, hefty fines and regulatory inquiries if not properly managed by the IT department.” 

Things are bound to change when GDPR kicks in. The EU data regulation has strict policies on data hoarding, with fines being €20 million or more, for those that fail to comply.