Despite the buzz around Big Data's potential to transform business, many organizations must still deal with practical concerns related to storing such large volumes of information. All of this data is heavily regulated by numerous outside entities, each with a say in how long it is kept, in what format it must be stored, and other governance regulations. However, many CIOs are still unsure what role governance should play in their data archiving strategy.
When data is archived, it is moved from an active database to a lower-cost, more cost-effective storage platform. With a well-planned archiving strategy, the data remains available. The benefits data archiving offers include improved system performance, faster backups and recoveries, reduced IT maintenance, and lower storage costs as data is compressed.
Why is archiving important to governance, risk and compliance (GRC) departments? Data brings a long list of inherent risks which GRC can proactively address during the planning stage of an archiving project. This list includes, but is not limited to litigation related to what data is saved; how it is stored; retention time and retention policies; regulatory and privacy compliance, which includes data at rest; responsiveness to compliance audits, such as financial, tax and Sarbanes-Oxley; and update compliance policies and procedures based on new data and tools.
Too often, GRC is not involved at the beginning of an archiving initiative, or worse, until a serious problem surfaces. Typically this department is only alerted to approve data to be purged and to identify any legal holds. However, there are many benefits of archiving which will interest the governance group, and by working with IT from the beginning data retention policies can minimize risk without affecting the production database.
GRC groups are stakeholders in any archiving strategy. While IT is concerned with system performance and reducing total cost of ownership, governance should also have an active voice in this process to mitigate risk. As Big Data volumes grow, the policies, procedures and laws related to compliance are evolving. Creating an archiving strategy aligned with the needs of both groups will ensure the organization is best positioned to respond to the demanding nature of audits and regulatory inquiries.