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Data retention value grows with storage needs

What’s the goal of data retention? Depends on the data. Sometimes it’s a second or two, so saving it is irrelevant. Other times, as with electronic health records, birth certificate data needs to be kept on file for 20 years or more in most states.

But how about 1,000 years? That’s the goal of Chris Puttick, CIO of Oxford Archaeology Ltd., which provides archaeology services for construction firms in Europe that need to comply with planning regulations. His job depends on strategic planning around data management.

“Archaeological data is extracted in a one-off ’experiment‘ with our teams on-site, excavating before the new road/airport/tunnel is built over or through it,” he told Features Writer Laura Smith. “What is observed, measured and photographed can never be repeated, leaving the resulting data the only surviving record of an archaeological site that had survived thousands of years before the excavation, or like this site, a mere 1,000 years, so our records should aim to be retained for at least as long, or the money and effort spent on the excavation was wasted.”

The corollary here is that what is stored must be found, so data retention strategies and technologies are equally important. And as data — and the corresponding information — consume more and more of our resources, it’s important to make management part of corporate governance.

One solution might be Generally Accepted Recordkeeping Principles, or GARP (save “the world according to” jokes), developed by ARMA International, which include accountability, transparency, integrity, protection, compliance, availability, retention and disposition.

If you want to learn more, log on to our virtual seminar on information governance on Sept. 16.

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