Symantec 2010 Information Management Health Check

Survey of 1,680 execs shows good understanding but poor execution. 5 step action plan proposed.

Last month Symantec released its 2010 ‘Information Management Health Check’ survey of 1,680 senior IT and legal executives in 26 countries. The report includes three main findings and Symantect’s recommendations for a fix. While the study covers many industries, its findings will have echoes for those working in the technical data field.

The first finding was that there is a huge gap between information management goals and practice, between what enterprises realize they should do and what they actually do. 87% of respondents realize that there is a need for an information retention strategy, but only 46% have such a plan in place.

Finding number two is that the gap between goals and reality is driving common mistakes. Enterprises are ‘over-retaining’ information, keeping everything ‘just in case.’ 75% of backups have infinite retention or are on legal hold. Current estimates are that there might be as much as 38 petabytes of backup tape dedicated to retaining enterprise information forever in a format that is difficult to access and manage. Many companies are performing legal holds incorrectly, using their backup systems inappropriately instead of an archival system. While most companies prohibit employees from creating their own archives, 65% admit that end users routinely do so anyway.

One reason for the large amount of unnecessarily stored information is the fact that it is 1,500 times more expensive to review data than it is just to store it. But the burgeoning data volumes blindly backed up mean that backup windows are ‘bursting at the seams.’ Some ‘weekend’ backups take more than a single weekend. The situation for recovery from a backup is even worse as the time taken to restore the backup behemoths brings a disaster recovery program to its knees.

Symantec recommends offers a simple 5-step action plan to solve the IM. This involves the creation of a formal information retention plan. Stop using backup for archiving and legal holds—backup is for disaster recovery and should just hold a few weeks of data—the rest goes to archive. De-duplication further reduces the data storage footprint. And finally, delete data according to the plan. The survey, performed by Applied Research-West, is a free download from

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