The Compounding Cost of Hoarding Data Over Time

Team Wiretap
9/17/18 9:12 AM

Headlines swirl around news outlets exposing data breaches regularly. And the cost of data breaches continue to increase over time. As of July 2018, IBM reports that the average cost of a data breach is $3.86 million. 

With breaches rising in prominence and expense, another concerning trend is the skyrocketing amounts of data. IDC estimates that by 2020, the digital universe will contain more than 40 zetabytes of data. 

Organizations around the globe have large datasets that come with inherent risk and liability and leaders need to proactively consider best practices when preserving and protecting data.

Why Store Data? 

Organizations are required to store datasets for a period of time in order to a comply with a variety of regulations such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) or the Sarbanes–Oxley Act.

However, being required to store data to fulfill a requirement does not mean that it needs to be stored forever. In fact, in 2006, the U.S. Supreme Court  ruled that companies are immune in the case of litigation if they can demonstrate that they delete data based on a repeatable and predictable process in the course of conducting regular business. So—a data retention policy is not only a protection measure from potential lawsuits, but also saves data storage costs.

The Compounding Cost of Holding Too Much Data

We’ve heard of compound interest, where an asset grows in value over time. However, the compounding effect can intensify a negative factor, as well. And keeping data over time has the potential to compound in risk value.

More Data, More Risk

The more data you collect, the greater the confidentiality risks and the more steps your organization will need to take to protect that larger amount of data.

Data storage is expensive

While data reduction technologies have helped by enabling data compression, the cost of storing a consistently growing volume of data inevitably climbs.

Higher costs to work with data (e.g. eDiscovery, archiving)

Holding onto valueless and unnecessary data is likely to result in the need to restore that data and search it for little to no reason—except for the fact that you are still storing it. This includes both for responding to litigation demands and to Subject Access Requests through the GDPR.

So how can you protect yourself, your team, and your organization from these risks and costs?

A data retention policy that fits your industry and business needs is best practice. The key is identifying all of the data sources and types in your company's ecosystem to have a comprehensive data retention practice in your organization.

The Data Source That You Aren’t Thinking About


Data no longer lives in simply ‘traditional’ sources. Enterprise collaboration platforms (e.g. Workplace by Facebook, Yammer, Microsoft Teams) has the potential be one of the most abundant and unstructured data sources in an enterprise—with data being produced in every communication keystroke. 

And since employees simply speak more casually and candidly on communication platforms, it is imperative for leaders to know how to search and extract from this data set.


Learn about Aware for:

Workplace by Facebook Icon
Workplace by Facebook
Microsoft Teams and Yammer icons
Microsoft Teams and Yammer

*This article is provided for general informational purposes only, and may not reflect current law in your jurisdiction. No reader should act or refrain from acting on the basis of any information included in, or accessible through, this Post without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice.

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