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Ways to Avoid Data Hoarding at Your Business

Coworkers discussing data over a computer

Businesses typically generate substantial amounts of data on a daily basis. With hybrid workplaces growing in popularity, employees expect to be able to access workplace data on multiple platforms, causing the line between professional and personal devices to blur more than ever. Having accessible data can be an important issue for employees, but it also makes it harder for an organization to have adequate visibility into the data stored on its devices.

This lack of visibility paired with the excessive amounts of data being generated regularly can be a security risk for businesses, and they may find themselves with a data hoarding problem that’s difficult to resolve. As an organization, are you confident in your data management procedures, or are you guilty of data hoarding?

The first step to mitigating the risks of data hoarding is to determine what data policies your organization has in place, if any. Setting firm policies around workplace data management is key to ensuring your data storage doesn’t spiral.

Here are a few ideas you may want to consider:

  • Set policy parameters around the types of data permitted to be stored on business devices.
  • Define what constitutes critical data vs. non-critical data to keep on devices.
  • Outline a timeframe for how long non-critical data should remain on devices.
  • Determine what types of data can be removed immediately from devices.
  • Create accessibility guidelines for who can access certain data at a given time and what data should have limited access.

If you don’t have policies in place as of yet and are unsure where to begin, try implementing a few parameters for newly created data to give your organization a fresh start without having to backtrack too much. One major culprit of unintentional data hoarding that’s easy to address is email. Many employees keep countless emails without deleting them, sometimes allowing sensitive information to remain in their inboxes much longer than it needs to. Encouraging team members to regularly clean out their inboxes is a simple yet practical step toward effective data management.

In addition to establishing data management policies, it’s just as important to train your employees on the security risks present from overly accessible data. Routine data security training is essential for protecting your organization against data breaches. Your employees are often your first line of defense against attacks and should be equipped with the knowledge and resources necessary to prevent incidents and minimize risk.

Consider training employees on the common methods criminals use to access classified data, such as phishing attempts, social engineering and taking advantage of weak passwords. Having strong training protocols in place can keep your data safe on all levels of your business. Your organization should also have a thorough incident response plan in place in case of a breach so that designated employees know what actions to take to limit the impact of the attack.

Workplace flexibility and cloud storage have made effectively tracking and organizing data difficult, but keeping a lot of data around isn’t necessarily a bad thing. What’s crucial is having a line of sight on the data being stored on work devices and setting policies that protect against security risks.

At Creative Planning, we help our clients assess their data management policies and identify areas of improvement. Our security experts can work with you to establish a robust information security strategy to ensure your confidential data remains just that. Contact our team today to learn more about what we can do to strengthen your data security.

This commentary is provided for general information purposes only, should not be construed as investment, tax or legal advice, and does not constitute an attorney/client relationship. Past performance of any market results is no assurance of future performance. The information contained herein has been obtained from sources deemed reliable but is not guaranteed.


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