By Jeff Cato, VP of Sales at CoreVault
February 15, 2013

CoreVault Online Data Backup Expert Tips: Best Practices for Data Retention Setting

Data retention is a substantive and critical component of legal compliance. While data retention can be “boring” and may even be considered a “non-priority” item by some organizations, it is risky to ignore it. The regulatory environment is unlikely to soften, and the cost of non-compliance is set to escalate in the future.

However, wisdom does not lie in backing up everything and anything for a long time to come. That would be impractical. Keeping too much information is as much a risk as keeping too little information. The problems of e-discovery may make the whole backup unviable and information inaccessible. An effective balance must be achieved keeping in mind your business data requirements, legal requirements, and costs of retaining information in different kinds of backup and storage media, including tape backup, local server backup, or cloud backup.

The foundation for data retention and management is laid down when an organization draws up a well thought-out plan and implementable data retention policy. The policy must then be uniformly applied across the board and over the network to any cloud backups / mirroring and replications that may have been performed to create a defensible environment.

Data retention is all about determining how much of your data you want to retain and for what period. While the schedule of retention need not be elaborate, it must be ensured that all kinds of specifics are included, such as categories of data, retention periods for such data, data distribution protocols, and retention of such data by users. The policy document must define minimum retention periods and maximum retention periods and what must be done with the data when the retention period expires.

Interim archiving of backups in local servers or cloud backups may be used to meet legal preservation requirements. This type of archiving may be required to meet litigation requirements or for instituting a legal hold as soon as a legal or governmental action is anticipated.

Retention policies must be defined for archived data. This data may be archived in the cloud backup server or on a local backup server or tape. The data must be categorized and retention periods must be defined for each category of archived data.

Finally, a data deletion policy must be integrated with the data retention policy to ensure that no one deletes information indiscriminately. The deletion process must be layered and each deleted record must be first marked for deletion, approved by the management for deletion and then deleted and certified as deleted giving all the reasons for the same.

If your business wants to learn more about data retention and why businesses are embracing cloud backup, then download our latest whitepaper today. You can also reach out to one of our cloud experts to discuss how we can help improve the protection of your data.

About the Author: Jeff Cato is V.P. of Sales at CoreVault, an online data backup and cloud based data storage company located in Oklahoma.


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