Legacy Data Remediation

Legacy Data can be defined as data that resides within the confines of a company and yet holds no business, regulatory or legal requirement for retention. In other words, the data incurs cost and risk without providing any value. Estimates and experience illustrate that it can commonly be between 50% and 80% of all of the data held by the company. So why do companies hold so much of data? There is no one single answer, but there are some common reasons:

  1. Companies have inadequately designed or implemented records management procedures, and records retention scheduling, in particular.
  2. IT systems have not evolved with the business or regulatory requirements of the company.
  3. Divestiture over the years has merged disparate IT or records systems resulting in a loss of overall understanding as to the type of records and where they are located.
  4. Classification and categorization of information has been poorly defined, or has changed over time.
  5. Legal holds have been placed on storage media as a precautionary measure without really understanding if the preserved information is where it is thought it might be, and the risk of being accused of spoliation exists.

There are a plethora of additional reasons, but the results are the same: increased cost of ownership and increased risk from unnecessary preservation.

Most companies over-preserve and many companies would like to remediate legacy data but do not tackle it due to a perceived legal risk or for lack of understanding about the costs they currently bear. At SullivanStrickler we can help tackle this pernicious problem; it will only get worse if a solution is not implemented.

The two primary concerns with Legacy Data Remediation are storage and discovery cost.

Storage cost: If we take a conservative estimate of 50% of data being termed as legacy data then consider the costs to create this data, move it, back it up, store it, and ultimately dispose of it. It is not just the physical storage of the data to consider, although charges from off-site storage vendors can be significant and represent an on-going cost in perpetuity until something is done.

Discovery cost: At times of litigation preservation holds are implemented and it is the duty of a company to anticipate the likely or possible event of being sued when they are in disagreement with another party. If the company cannot demonstrate where potentially relevant data is and as importantly is not, then it is prudent for them to preserve any information store that could be argued as being relevant to the case. The less organized and categorized the data is the harder it is to defensibly delete and the more data there is to ultimately discover. Discovery costs escalate significantly when larger amounts of data are to be sifted through and ultimately reviewed and produced.

At SullivanStrickler we can run effective Legacy Data Remediation programs that can produce justifiable ROI's in the same budget year for storage costs alone, with the added bonus of risk mitigation. We can provide legal hold analysis, provide data mapping and data flow reports, determine relevant retention schedules, create obligation reports, rule in or rule out data sources, provide opinion and ultimately testify to that opinion.

Contact us today to learn more