Are you a hoarder? Do you compulsively hang onto things that have ceased to be useful or valid, perhaps because they might still serve some purpose? Data hoarding is all about stashing away all that “stuff” that your IT systems accumulate, just in case it comes in useful in the future.

With the arrival of big data, there’s further “justification”. Just think what business secrets could be unlocked by running big data analytics on the last ten years’ worth of transactional data – if you ever manage to get those analytics to work, of course.

However, data hoarding could also be putting your business continuity at risk in ways you might not have imagined.

To start with, hoarding data can become expensive in terms of storage. The more you spend on storage units and systems, the less profitable your enterprise is.

Not only that, your superfluous data will also start to clog up your systems. The data you really need (especially in the case of business interruption) is likely to be buried under mounds of useless, outdated data.

If your users cannot find the good stuff, they’ll end up using stale data as a basis for business decisions. And if they can locate the data they need, there may no longer be enough room on your system for them to do any useful processing of it.

To cap it all, stale data is still a security and compliance risk. The more you have, the bigger your risk.

So, like clearing out your filing cabinet, desk drawer, briefcase, or car, your data needs to be sorted and the junk has to be discarded. Some systems help you to do this automatically, by filtering on criteria like the age of the information.

You can also take steps like condensing transactional information previously gathered every second to store only hourly summaries.

Your storage space savings will be considerable and you’ll still get most or even all of the real big data advantage – once you’re up to speed with those analytics. So stop hoarding and become a happier, safer person or enterprise today!