Over three-quarters (77 percent) of IT decision makers worldwide are now more concerned about the impact of data hoarding than they were a year ago.
New research from Veritas was conducted among 10,022 global office professionals and ITDMs across 13 countries to look into how individuals manage data.
The study found that 82 percent of ITDMs admit they are hoarders of data and digital files and 83 percent believe that their company is a data hoarder.
Most (86 percent) ITDMs say the amount of data their company stores would increase the time it takes to respond to a data breach. Moreover, 83 percent of ITDMs and 62 percent of office pros admit they retained items that could be harmful to their employer or their own career prospects. Personal files make up quite a bit of the “junk” saved with 96 percent of ITDMs admitting to saving unnecessary personal files.
The UK has more self-proclaimed hoarders amongst office professionals than the rest of Europe. Seven out of every 10 (69 percent) office workers hoards data, compared to an average of 62 percent across Europe. Furthermore, four in 10 Brits never take action to follow through on plans for a data purge.
The data that Brits hoard is less of a risk to the company within which it is kept. Nearly all (94 percent) of digital hoarding office pros have items around that they don't need anymore. Some items include clothes they no longer wear (58 percent), electronics that no longer work (40 percent), and old newspapers and magazines (33 percent).
UK ITDMs believe the following items are currently saved on company computer systems include:
- Employee's job applications to other companies – 41 percent
- Unencrypted personal information – 41 percent
- Unencrypted company secrets such as confidential product plans – 34 percent
- Embarrassing or incriminating correspondence between employees – 27 percent
UK office pros and ITDMs save emails (32 percent), word processing documents (24 percent), photos (18 percent), music (11 percent), and videos (eight percent).
Employees in the UK have their reasons for hoarding files. Some of these include being afraid of needing to refer to the data again (44 percent), uncertainty on which files should be kept or deleted (35 percent), don't believe their files cause clutter (31 percent), and thinking that deleting files takes too much time (24 percent).
The report highlights that to solve the hoarding organisations need to educate their employees on culture and behaviour changes, define collaboration and responsibility, understand what is store, identify and remediate risks, and start to delete.
“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. 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,” said Chris Talbott, solutions leader, Veritas Technologies.