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Data retrieval puts a major strain on IT departments

Time consuming data retrieval requests are putting a big strain on IT teams, at least according to a new piece of research.

Iron Mountain (a storage and data management outfit) conducted the study, and spoke to a number of senior IT bods across Europe (including the UK) to get their opinions on exactly what weight big data was putting on their shoulders these days.

The headline news is that those interviewed said they're seeing yearly increases of 60 per cent in terms of requests for data, as staff members are more likely to be trying to leverage data to better do their job, or gain valuable customer insight and the like.

Those interviewed said that the rapid growth in data volume of recent times is the primary driver of information retrieval requests – as the volume of info is such that more and more of it cannot be stored on individual computers. And the second biggest factor pushing up such requests is the fact that companies need to restrict access to data for security and data protection reasons, so staff need to request access to make use of said data (and keeping copies of data isn't permitted – so they may need to ask again, and again...).

The third most important factor cited by the report is simply the growth of organisations, with more employees meaning more requests. Finally, human error such as accidental deletion of data is also leading to more data retrieval requests.

It's also worth noting that further volume is generated by external data requests – or these can even represent the majority in some cases. For example a German telecoms outfit said that despite having several thousand employees, most of its data retrieval requests come from law enforcement agencies.

As to which sectors had the highest volume of requests? Those were manufacturing, services and healthcare.

Christian Toon, Head of Information Risk for Europe at Iron Mountain, commented: "Data protection and information value are important areas worth taking seriously, but it is important to understand that they will also impact data storage and retrieval processes. We believe that tiered information storage is the answer: defining what is most used, most critical and most confidential, as well as what is essentially dormant, and then structuring your storage, access and back-up process accordingly."

He added: "Keep high-value, highly active documents readily available, but relegate more archival and other types of information to more economical forms of storage."