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Identify and Remove Redundant IT-Related Files

Redundant IT-Related Files


Retaining any volume of obsolete IT-related files (installers, disk images, application logs, data exports, database backups, etc.) burdens the organization with unnecessary cost and exposes the organization to unnecessary risk. The larger the number of files kept, the greater the costs and risks. Northern’s software solution (NSS) can be quickly configured to identify these files and provide staff with a click-through process to remove them. Very large data footprints can be parsed, across geographical regions, and including multiple platforms (traditional on-premise file storage, SharePoint, SharePoint Online, O365, other cloud platforms, Exchange Online, etc.).

By removing unnecessary IT-related files the organization will:

  • Improve information and infrastructure security
  • Reduce exposure to regulatory risk
  • Improve compliance with internal directives
  • Reduce costs and improve resource usage efficiency
  • Reduce complexity of migration and transformation initiatives

Northern is currently providing some of the world’s leading organizations with this type of solution, and enabling them to realize these values. Contact your Account Manager or the Professional Services team to schedule configuration in your environment.


Obsolete and redundant installers, disk images, application logs, data exports, database backups, etc. are kept for much longer than necessary, or even forgotten.

The organization can be exposed to unnecessary and unmanaged risks:

  • These files may contain login information or sensitive network details – compromising data and infrastructure security
  • These files may contain data subject to laws or internal policies, which is now neglected and left outside of normal governance procedures – leading to compliance and reputational risk

The organization is burdened with unnecessary costs:

  • Primary, secondary, disaster recovery, and backup storage is consumed by worthless files
  • Staff are unknowingly investing time in protecting and maintaining access to these worthless files
  • Migration and transformation projects are, unnecessarily, made more complex and expensive

This situation continues to exist in most organizations due to specific challenges:

  • Identifying these files across a large file service can be time-consuming and technically difficult
  • Preparing concrete and digestible information to decision makers can also be time-consuming
  • It can be very difficult to enable decision makers to act, in a suitably efficient and effective way
  • Actions, if taken at all, can be point-in-time and not offer a long-term solution

Northern offers a way to overcome these challenges.

Northern Solution

The diagram and explanation below shows the workflow implemented in the organization, using NSS, to identify and remove redundant, IT-related files:
  1. NSS Scans the file system to identify obsolete IT-related files (older installers, disk images, application logs, data exports, database backups, etc.), and stores the results in the SQL database.
  2. IT Admins are notified when the scan is complete.
  3. IT Admins can view the results in the NSS Console web interface.
  4. From within NSS’ web interface, obsolete and redundant files are either moved or deleted.
Key Risk Indicators are clearly displayed and the effects of individuals taking action are clearly visible:
File lists are easy to work with and files can be quickly quarantined or deleted:

Key Risk Indicators Established

The number of redundant IT-related files, and the total size of these files, are established as a Key Risk Indicators (KRIs). These KRIs can be used to establish controls; requiring action when set thresholds are reached. They are also tracked over-time to allow comparison and measure levels of success.
The table below shows the tasks involved in implementing this Northern solution, the time required, and who is responsible to perform each task:
1Import configuration settings0.5 hoursNorthern
2Run analyses in environment and verify resultsVaries*Automated
3Determine which files are obsolete (set criteria)1-4 hoursCustomer and Northern
4Configure Quarantine if files will be quarantined1-4 hoursCustomer and Northern
5Delete/quarantine files that are obsolete or suspected to be obsolete1-2 hoursCustomer
6Measure success by calculating volume of deleted or quarantined data and numbers of files1 hourNorthern
* Expect scan speeds of approximately 2000 files per second. An environment with 100 million files will take approximately 14 hours to scan.

The implementation of this solution requires minimal investment by the organization and, by identifying and removing redundant, IT-related files the organization will achieve real value.

  • Improved information and infrastructure security by the removal of files that may contain login information or sensitive network details
  • Reduced risk of legal non-compliance by the removal data that is beyond its retention period or no longer belongs to the organization
  • An improved ability to satisfy internal audits as the files retained are known and properly curated
  • Costs are reduced as primary, secondary, disaster recovery, and backup storage is used more efficiently
  • Staff are able to focus their attention on data that is of value to the organization
  • Complexity and cost of migration and transformation projects are reduced
NSS DeployedVersion 9.91 or later
SQL DatabaseSQL Server 2012 or later
NSS Solution Area(s)Centralized File Service Management (CFSM)

More of what we deliver

Reduce risk

Security breaches, cyber-crime and data privacy regulation – your organization’s data will inevitably contain sensitive information.

Reduce cost

Storing your organization’s data is costly, especially when considering all expenses associated with housing the data.

Increase efficiency

Efficiency of those owning and being dependent of the data decreases as it becomes increasingly chaotic.

Corporate responsibility

Pressure mounts on all organizations to take more social responsibility – IT services, internal or external, need to incorporate capabilities facilitating CSR.
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Get started

If you wish to start using NSS to identify and remove redundant, IT-related files, please contact your Account Manager, or the Professional Services team, to schedule the first action: import configuration settings.

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