According to Gartner, Information Lifecycle Management is a strategy to information and storage management which realize that over time the value of information varies and therefore it has to be preserved accordingly. Information Lifecycle Management recognizes the importance of data changes and establishes policies for rapidly migrating and storing data on the correct storage medium. In addition, the policies can be modified as required to match the changing needs of the organization. This enables organizations to optimize their information processes by properly managing the lifecycle. The major areas of information Lifecycle Management are defined as follows:
Strategic lifecycle: In the overall approach of maintaining data processes, a company’s strategy is its most important asset. Each step of the process is strategically important and therefore the company needs to align itself to best practices for that particular step. For example, a CRM system can benefit from a better integration with the customer and better integration with the business logic. Therefore, it becomes important to align your organization’s overall data management process with the strategic lifecycle goals and objectives.
Archive and Retention: When dealing with large amounts of data, it is important for organizations to maintain all the data in a safe and recoverable form. It is also crucial for these organizations to retain every stage of the lifecycle and archive the data appropriately. As an example, in the case of a CRM system, an organization needs to maintain customer data at every stage of the lifecycle i.e., during retention, up gradation and archiving, as well as during any changes made to the system. Hence, all the stages have to be effectively dealt with and maintained.
Data archiving: This is the process of restoring any missing or obsolete data from any storage medium such as tape, hard drive, or any other device. This restores the missing data from any medium back to a state when it was first stored. Information lifecycle services deal with archiving a system’s data so that it can be recovered easily at any stage of its lifecycle. These services work well for data loss prevention, recovery of lost information within the organization, maintenance of data quality throughout the organization, and compliance with legal and regulatory requirements.
Data cleansing and de-cluttering: Cleaning of data and de-cluttering of data sets are important for a data lifecycle management plan. This enables easy access of information at every stage. Information cleansing removes duplicated, out-of date, unnecessary data so that one can easily access relevant data from any point of time. De-cluttering eliminates unnecessary data so that one can make use of the right data for the right purpose by making necessary connections.
Disaster recovery and restoration: Disaster recovery takes place after an event has occurred, and it is done in order to prevent any loss of data, or worse case scenario (human error), which could have led to loss of data. Disaster recovery is of utmost importance especially for organizations which are involved in hazardous activities and environments. Disaster recovery also takes place at the IT infrastructure before any errors take place. This enables easy restoration of all infrastructure at any stage of the life cycle by improving storage costs and reducing capital cost.
Surveys across the globe have shown that IT lifecycle has become a major concern for all large and small organizations. A huge majority of organizations believe that information can be more critical than humans and they can recover data faster. However, this belief is incorrect. It is observed that IT departments waste around 20% of their time each year on recovery, and this number is continuously growing. In addition, it is found that the wrong people are spending most of their time trying to recover data. The only solution to get faster data recovery is to train the right people in the right areas.
In today’s information age, there is increasing pressure from both the business and consumer sides for businesses to adopt more proactive approaches towards information lifecycle. For a successful information lifecycle, it is necessary to have a well-balanced mix of technologies, process and individuals. This requires comprehensive planning and implementation across an organization. It is necessary to monitor processes across the enterprise. Periodically, surveys are conducted to ensure that processes are not becoming inactive due to lack of training or improved technologies. Surveys will also help identify processes and personnel that are spending too much time on inactive data maintenance.