With GDPR just around the corner, businesses must confront an uncomfortable truth. Their data is dirty and disorganized. They don’t know where critical files are stored, and they’ve only a dim idea of how employees are sharing and accessing sensitive information.
It’s a little confusing, honestly. The same organization that might have an intricate, perfectly-organized filing system for physical documents might simply toss up its hands in frustration when it comes to the digital world. I’m certain most people understand the importance of organizing their digital data.
Yet it seems the majority of businesses simply don’t bother doing it.
That’s troubling – and not simply because of GDPR. With dirty data, a business is far more vulnerable to attack, and less likely to know it’s been attacked. And disorganized data storage and management makes it difficult for employees to do their jobs – have you ever tried collaborating on a project where there are twenty different copies of the core files?
In my experience, most businesses don’t bother with data hygiene not because of carelessness, but due to a lack of knowledge. They simply don’t know where to start. As I’ll show today, keeping your files segmented and organized is easier than you might think.
Let’s talk about where to start.
First, Bring In A Professional
Data hygiene can be overwhelming. Perhaps that’s why positions like Data Compliance Officer are now a thing. These professionals understand what’s necessary to keep data both organized and compliant with regulations like GDPR. More importantly, they can advise the organizations that hire them on how they can be more compliant.
As such, your first step in cleaning up your data should be to look for such a professional – even if you only hire them on a contract basis.
Next, Look Into Content Collaboration Tools
File sharing has an unimpeachable role in modern workflows. It’s your job to ensure that sharing can be done in a secure fashion – and more importantly, that you have visibility into the process. Gartner defines the tools that allow for such functionality as content collaboration platforms.
At their best, these tools allow workers to easily share files amongst themselves, while also allowing IT to prevent sensitive data from being stolen or misused.
Finally, Start Small With Your Cleanup Efforts
There are three different ‘types’ of unclean data – forgotten or neglected files, redundant duplicates, and outdated or incomplete documents. When you set out to start cleaning up your data, focus on tracking down these files first. Once you’ve done that, you might be surprised at how easily everything else falls into place.
Keep It Clean
Data hygiene doesn’t need to be complicated or overwhelming. If you take the right steps, it’s a surprisingly simple, surprisingly achievable goal. Follow the advice I’ve given here, and you should be just fine.