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Curb Inefficient File Service Use

A lack of policies and process to manage how file services are used leads to the accumulation of redundant, obsolete and trivial (ROT) data.

Research carried out by the Compliance, Governance and Oversight Council (CGOC) showed that organizations should expect only one third of unstructured data to hold business value or be subject to legal and/or regulatory hold. These conclusions are supported by Northern’s experience in delivering data footprint analyses for major customers. Accelerating data growth rates, an increasingly complex regulatory environment, high-profile data loss cases and the drive to maximize returns on latent data value are all generating significant momentum within the field of Data Management.

Organizations are realizing the opportunities presented by a more efficiently used file service.

Useful Resources


Valuable data does not become lost in the overall data footprint. The organization is better prepared to identify and grasp data-driven opportunities.

IT Senior Management

The IT organization is better able to ensure that returns on their continuous development of the file service are maximized.

Data Governance

Efforts to understand and improve data quality are simplified. Initiatives to enforce standards are not derailed by the volume of data to be processed.


The cost and complexity of low-level content analysis are reduced, improving the organization’s ability to apply e-records management systems to unstructured data.


Infrastructure investment and transformation/migration and operational costs are minimized, lifespans of existing systems extended.

Storage Management

Involving business users in data management initiatives stimulates a cultural shift towards long-term efficient file service use.

Business User

The agility of business users is improved; file searches are efficient, effort is not duplicated and opportunities are not missed.
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Valuable data hidden by ROT?

In order to effectively realize the latent value of the information that exists within your organization it is clear that you, as the Chief Data Officer, require a strong understanding of the types of information that are being accumulated. Establishing this understanding demands the use of techniques such as data processing, data analytics and data mining, all of which are dependent on an ability to query the organization’s unstructured data footprint.

Inefficient use of the file service; the accumulation of redundant, obsolete and trivial (ROT) data, significantly diminishes the ability to process, analyze and mine unstructured organizational data.

Northern’s Solution

A number of options are available to assist you in the identification and mitigation of ROT. Northern also offers the possibility to implement workflows that effectively adapt business culture and proactively prevent further ROT accumulation.

Focusing on the initial work of reaching an acceptable running state, where a history of data hoarding must be mitigated, Northern recommends the use of it’s Centralized File Service Management and Distributed Data Management solution areas.

The benefits

The identification and defensible deletion of volumes of ROT data offers benefits in all processes that involve the scanning and analysis of the unstructured data footprint. Specifically related to efforts to realize and integrate information value, benefits include:
  • Low-level analysis of large volumes of files can be extremely time-consuming. By initially performing a purely meta-data-based review of the data footprint, and using this review to focus in-depth analysis on a much smaller data footprint, organizations are able to significantly reduce time-lines for information value integration projects.
  • The software and services commonly used to perform in-depth analysis of unstructured data is almost exclusively tied to the volume of data to be scanned. Reducing the initial data footprint has immediate and considerable effects.
  • Data value realization is greatly simplified when file systems are properly maintained – with structures that are transparent and easily navigated, free from outdated and irrelevant files. This greatly improves team and organizational agility as well as reducing effort duplication.

Need to protect infrastructure investments?

Periodic infrastructure renewal, coupled with the necessary migration and transformation projects, form a key part of the provision and continuous development of the file service. Having invested in infrastructure, and performed the work necessary to put that infrastructure into operation, it is vital that steps are taken to guide its use.

Northern’s Solution

Northern is able to deliver a range of capabilities to align actual storage use with intended use. As a senior member of the IT organization, it is important for you to have access to analyses of how the storage infrastructure is being used, in order to determine which of these control/guide options should be employed and how they should be best configured.

Through Northern’s Centralized File Service Management solution area you are able to guide the implementation and tuning of policies and workflows that target the specific challenges that exist or emerge within your organization – ensure that returns on infrastructure investments are maximized.

The benefits

The ability to understand how the file service is being used enables senior members of the IT department to make informed and specific decisions that ensure returns on infrastructure investments are maximised.
  • Inefficient file service use is prevalent. Continuous investment in infrastructure without securing an understanding of how those investments are being used is not a long-term strategy.
  • Identification and remediation of inefficient storage use extends the life-time of infrastructure and offers opportunities for investment avoidance.
  • The ability to concretely show how previous investments are being utilized provides vital input into new budget discussions.
  • Exposing areas of inefficiency, and being able to quantify the effect that this sub-optimal use has, can enable the IT department to secure a wider mandate to implement policies that govern how the file service is used.
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