Twenty-three years ago, a major information technology company ran a commercial on the Big Game that people are still talking about. It was a brilliantly crafted portrayal of cowboys herding cats. “Herding cats” is an appropriate metaphor for a task involving endless effort to solve a countless collection of problems.
In today’s business environment, with the proliferation of data storage across so many devices, clouds and physical locations, business owners have more cats to herd than ever before. Companies must manage larger amounts of data, much of which is old, irrelevant, or redundant. Plus, it’s residing in more data sources than ever before, with each department and geographic location creating its own data silo. The IT industry has a name for this problem: data sprawl.
The shift to work-from-home and hybrid home/office arrangements for employees who create and access company data has accelerated data sprawl. Many on your staff might be using their own devices, personal email and cloud storage accounts for both company and personal projects. Flash drives are loaded, passed around and sometimes lost. All this largely unmonitored activity blurs the line between office and home and causes headaches for managers who worry about data security and data breaches.
Data sprawl not only creates security risks for organizations that maintain sensitive data on customers and employees, it also makes work more time consuming, decision-making more uncertain and serving customers more difficult.
What Can Business Owners Do to Control Data Sprawl?
As long as your employees are creating, storing and moving data, you’ll never have complete control over data sprawl, but there are several steps you can take to mitigate risk and make your teams more efficient and effective.
- Utilize cloud storage as the safe, affordable and highly accessible way to organize and protect your data. Cloud storage is only effective when you have an established protocol, and your managers and employees follow your set guidelines for collecting, processing and saving data and files. Check out this article on how to combat rising costs of cloud storage.
- Remove duplicate, redundant, and irrelevant data to save storage space and direct employees to the most current and relevant information. Your staff should be encouraged to delete unnecessary, redundant and/or incomplete documents and files, label their work files according to company standards, and move all finished work to cloud storage. Look into data deduplication software that can automate your processes.
- Integrate platforms and systems across departments to a unified view of customer accounts, rather than separate systems for accounting, sales and marketing (CRM) and supply chain.
- Embrace the new normal of a remote and hybrid workforce using multiple devices in multiple locations, both physical and virtual. The right policies and training are just as important as the right hardware, software and cloud storage. Your people won’t know the right thing to do until you teach them what to do.
Invision Can Help Your Business Contain Data Sprawl
Invision’s IT experts are senior level engineers who have planned, managed, maintained and repaired systems and networks across all kinds of businesses and industries for decades. There isn’t much, if anything, we haven’t seen and solved. For our long-time business clients, we’ve helped them take control of and contain their data sprawl as they’ve grown and technology changes.
For more than 20 years, Invision has provided IT solutions, including outsourced IT support, IT consulting and IT services to businesses throughout the Kansas City metro. From Olathe and Overland Park to Shawnee Mission and the Plaza, Westport, Independence, Gladstone, and beyond, our team develops tailored solutions to respond to the unique needs of businesses of all types to help them thrive, even in the case of data sprawl. Contact Invision for more information.