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Electronic Records Retention: Enterprise Strategies


Electronic Records Retention: Enterprise Strategies Presented by: David O. Stephens, CRM, FAI To the: Nebraska Chapter ARMA International April 19, 2006 – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Electronic Records Retention: Enterprise Strategies

Electronic Records Retention Enterprise
  • Presented by David O. Stephens, CRM, FAI
  • To the Nebraska Chapter ARMA International
  • April 19, 2006

Our objective today The What, Why and How of
Electronic Records Retention
  • Introduction Basic principles of records
  • EER A truly historic opportunity for records
  • The role of EER in enhanced data storage and life
    cycle management
  • The business case for ERR
  • ERR in desktop computing environments
  • ERR in IT-managed production applications

ERR Defined . . .
  • . . . The act of retaining computer-based records
    in digital format for specified, pre-determined
    periods of time, commensurate with their value,
    with subsequent disposal or permanent
    preservation as a matter of official
    organizational policy.
  • Or, in plain English, getting rid of dead data
    as soon as it dies!

  • Few organizations do records retention well.
  • Still fewer do ERR well, or indeed at all!
  • Lets introduce the subject of ERR by making some
    brief comments about records retention in

Common mistakes in retention
  • Retention schedules poorly developed too
    general or too detailed.
  • Inadequate coverage for electronic records.
  • Inadequate implementation strategy.

The goal 80 to 90 perfect!
  • Records retention is never perfect!!!
  • Some employees will always circumvent whatever
    policy or guidelines are in place.
  • But 80 to 90 perfect is a big success!

Getting to (nearly) perfect in enterprise records
  • Clear, comprehensive policies and schedules
  • Aggressive purge day strategies
  • Employee / departmental compliance requirements
    with penalties for non-compliance
  • Retention audits by corporate compliance officer

Enterprise retention strategies must be
successful in five recordkeeping environments
  • 1. Active paper records at departmental
  • 2. Inactive paper records in storage facilities
  • 3. Personal working papers kept in desks,
    credenzas and bookcases
  • 4. Data in computer applications managed by IT
  • 5. Electronic records in desktops,controlled by
    their creators

Basic questions concerning data life cycle
  • What happens to computer data as it ages?
  • Does the value of data increase or decrease as
    time passes?
  • Do storage management requirements change as data
    ages through its life cycle?
  • In the world of paper, these are questions that
    records managers have addressed for decades!
  • But not in the world of IT, where retention has
    not been widely practiced.

ERR Its in the embryonic stage!
  • According to one study, 47 of the respondents
    reported that electronic records have not been
    specifically included in their organizations
    retention schedules.
  • Another study 81 of the respondents reported
    that rules for automatic purging of data, under
    authority of retention schedules, have not been
    incorporated into their organizations computer

ERR A truly historic opportunity for RM
  • As it is practiced in the USA, records retention
    is, by far, the most important component of RM.
  • And ERR is, arguably, the single most important
    issue in RM today.

The ten most important issues in RM today (in my
  • The role of RM in improving business performance
    by adding value to business processes
  • Sarbanes-Oxley and the role of RM in corporate
    governance demonstrating the integrity of
    records and recordkeeping systems
  • The role of RM in transitioning to a (nearly)
    all-digital recordkeeping environment
  • ISO 15489, benchmarking and best global practices
    for RM
  • The impact of September 11th and RMs role in
    enhancing information protection and security

In my opinion . . . The ten most important issues
in RM today
  • 6. RMs role in enhancing the enterprise
    accessibility of information
  • 7. Implementing best practices for records
    retention Getting to (nearly) perfect in in the
    five major recordkeeping environments
  • 8. Bringing data life cycle to the desktop and to
    system applications through retention strategies
  • 9. RMs role in the improved management of e-mail
  • 10. The role of RM in long-term data retention /
    digital preservation

ERR is related, either directly or indirectly, to
nearly all these issues!
  • ERR is key to the future of RM.
  • If RM can do ERR, it will be relevant to what
    organizations want and need from this
    professional discipline.

ERR Its required for advanced professional
practice in RM!
  • If records managers presume to operate enterprise
    records retention programs at an advanced level
    of professional practice, they must
  • Bring records retention to every desktop in the
  • Bring records retention to every IT-managed
    production application that requires it.

ERR The two key components
  • 1. A policy prescribing how long electronic
    records must be retained, usually referred to as
    a records retention schedule.
  • 2. Strategies and tools for implementing that
    policy, in two major computing environments at
    the desktop and for IT-managed production

And, separate methodologies are required for data
of temporary and permanent values
  • Ultimately, every byte of data will be either
    deleted or otherwise rendered unprocessible, or
    it will be retained, sometimes indefinitely or
    for extended periods of time.
  • Retention strategies are required for both sets
    of disposition actions.

Selling ERR must be based on a viable business
  • Given the fact that ERR has not been widely
    practiced, if it is to be done, it must be sold.
  • So, is there a viable business case for ERR, and,
    if so, how compelling is it?

Both sides of the business case
  • First, we will first look at why ERR has not been
    widely practiced and the factors militating
    against a compelling business case.
  • Then, we will look at the logic of ERR and why
    its in an organizations best interest.

If getting rid of dead data is such a good idea,
why hasnt it been widely practiced???
  • A largely invisible problem no physical /
    visible manifestations.
  • In some situations, its cheaper to retain than
  • For decades, IT had carte blanche to buy all
    the storage they wanted no questions asked!
  • No strong advocate among key stakeholder groups.

None of the key stakeholders in business
computing strongly advocated ERR, so it didnt
  • IT departments Data retention not a priority
    no methodology or expertise.
  • Vendors Driven by customer priorities. Data
    retention not historically an issue. But this is
  • Data owners Usually content to take whatever
    data they can get.

The business case for ERR is weak if the
following four circumstances are present
  • 1. The growth of data is modest and the budget
    for storage is stable.
  • 2. Data retention needs do not exceed the life of
    the system.
  • 3. Data retention does not pose a performance
    problem for the system or accessibility problems
    for the users.
  • 4. Ongoing retention does not pose a legal risk
    to the organization.

The biggest perceived weakness in the business
case Media capacity and the cost of storage
  • With media capacity increasing at 60 per year
    and the cost-per-megabyte declining at 35 per
    year, it is often assumed that there is no viable
    business case for ERR.
  • But . . . this view neglects the explosive growth
    of data and increases in the total cost of data

The total cost of data ownership
  • The total cost of data ownership is unknown or
    poorly understood in most organizations.
  • The fundamental problem The total cost of data
    ownership continues to rise, even while media
    costs continue to decline.
  • As weve noted, increasing media capacity and
    declining cost per MB leads many IT specialists
    to conclude, erroneously, that there is no viable
    business case for ERR.
  • Actually, what is happening is that these two
    trends create a virtually unlimited demand for,
    and consumption of, data storage!

The growth of data The traditional IT response
  • Buy a bigger electronic warehouse that is,
    purchase additional storage capacity.
  • This is counter-productive, because additional
    storage hardware requires additional staff
    support (which is the biggest component of
    storage costs), as well as other resources to
    administer the storage function.

The logic of the business case Five key factors
  • 1. How much does it cost to store and maintain
    all the computer data in the organization? When
    building the business case, the total cost of
    data storage and maintenance must include the
    cost of administering the data over its entire
    life cycle, not just the cost of the storage
    media on which the data resides.
  • 2. How much of the current volume of stored data
    is useless that is, it is inactive and is no
    longer needed for any purpose?
  •  3. What would be the cost and benefits of
    disposing of all such data? On the other hand,
    what will be the costs, risks and benefits of not
    doing so?

The logic of the business case Five key factors
  • 4. What has been the rate of growth in stored
    data in recent years, and what growth rates are
    forecast in the foreseeable future? How will
    this growth affect the overall data storage
    situation, including the additional costs that
    must be borne?
  • 5. To the extent that data storage is being
    currently under-managed or even mismanaged, how
    could the systematic disposal of useless data
    contribute to better overall storage management?
    What costs and benefits would be quantifiable as
    a result of this?

Key trends in data storage
  • As weve noted, storage capacity is growing at
    over 60 per year while performance improves at
    less than 10 per year.
  • Average annual storage demand rates for all
    platforms is 50 to 60.
  • The value and criticality of data is increasing
    exponentially while the percentage of data that
    is actually managed is declining.

Key trends in data storage
  • Storage device capacity is growing more than 10
    times faster than device performance.
  • Storage is growing faster than disks are getting
  • More data is being accumulated for longer periods
    of time without effective management of its life
  • SOURCE Computer Technology Review.

The explosive and unprecedented growth in
data storage
  • Hard disk drive capacity and server capacity are
    doubling each year.
  • SOURCE How Much Information study, Univ. of
    California, Berkeley, 2003.
  • Relational databases are growing at the rate of
    125 each year.
  • SOURCE META Group.

Why the unprecedented growth of data???
  • Accelerated digitization of business processes
    throughout the enterprise.
  • Greater capacity of data storage systems (60
    percent annual growth).
  • Corresponding declining cost / megabyte
    (declining at 30 to 40 annually)
  • Ten years ago, the cost / MB was approx. 15
    today, its just a few cents!

The explosive and unprecedented growth in
data storage
  • Annual storage growth
  • rates are expected to
  • range from 60 to over
  • 100 annually for the
  • next five years.
  • Generally, the quantity of
  • stored data doubles every 2
  • to 3 years.
  • Source Computer
  • Technology Review

The explosive and unprecedented growth in
data storage
  • The META Group forecasts data increases of a
    hundred fold within the next five years.
  • The total expenditures necessary to accommodate
    this growth will escalate more than ten fold
    during the next five years.
  • Over the next five years, given a six-fold
    decrease in price per terabyte and a hundred-fold
    increase in the quantity of data to be stored, a
    thirteen-fold increase can be expected in total
    data management costs.

The explosive and unprecedented growth in
data storage
  • The total cost of managed storage now rivals or
    exceeds the investment in systems and servers,
    and often accounts for 50 or more of total IT
  • Data storage costs will rise to three-quarters of
    all IT spending over the next few years.
  • Source Storage Inc.

Simple formulae for calculating the cost of data
  • For every dollar spent on acquiring storage
    hardware, another 5 to 7 will be required to
    operate the devices over their service lives.
  • For every 1 per MB spent on disk storage, the
    total spent to manage that storage ranges from 3
    to 8 per MB per year.
  • The cost of managing storage hardware ranges from
    2 to 10 times the cost of its acquisition.
  • SOURCE These metrics were gleaned from various
    computer journals.

The cost-avoidance impact of ERR Buying a new
disk drive
  • Cost of acquisition - 10,000.
  • Annual cost of operation - 3 to 8 for every
    dollar spent on the hardware.
  • Average service life 5 years
  • Total cost - 250,000
  • Cost if this device was not needed / never
    acquired - ZERO!!!

Cost-avoidance resulting from better allocation
of storage resources
  • A company has 24 terabytes of data residing on
    its high-end storage array, but only 17 TBs
    require very high performance and availability.
  • Thus, the company migrates the 7 TBs to near-line
    servers, which cost one-fourth the price of
    high-end storage.
  • Re-deployment of this 7 TBs costs 140k, but
    frees 560k of high-end storage for re-use, for
    an immediate net payback of 420k an effective
    ROI of 200.
  • SOURCE SMS. 2003.

The business case for ERR Conclusions
  • The case is viable and based on sound logic.
  • However, ERR doesnt sufficiently affect
    competitive position or quality of service to
    rise to a priority issue for IT.
  • In other words, its in the realm of a good
    idea nice to do rather than have to do!

ERR and data life cycle management
  • Theres never been a better time than now for
    information lifecycle management, because the
    growth of information propelled by business
    continuity, compliance, and the proliferation of
    unstructured content such as rich media and
    e-mail is far outpacing the growth of IT
    budgets. ILM helps companies around the world
    deal with this growth while lowering the overall
    cost of data ownership.
  • Joe Tucci, CEO, EMC

ERRs contribution to better data life cycle
  • Identification of data aging rates, access
    requirements, protection levels, and data values
    and how they change over time.
  • Development of data retention and storage
    policies and procedures, prescribing where data
    should be stored in the several stages of its
    life cycle.
  • Automatic, policy-based migration of aging data
    onto optimum storage platforms.
  • Purging of expired data as per the retention

The four stages in the life cycle of data
  • Active stage Typically lasts for 30 days and
    requires high-performance disk storage.
  • Reference stage Typically lasts for 60 days and
    usually requires disk and automated tape storage.
  • Archival stage Frequently lasts up to 7 years
    and sometimes longer. Storage solutions include
    non-automated tape and the newer ATA disks.
  • Delete / destroy stage The end of the data life

Probability of data access by stage of life cycle
  • Active stage gt.5
  • Reference stage gt.1
  • Archival stage lt.01
  • Delete / destroy stage lt.001
  • SOURCE Computer Technology Review, 2003.

The major driver for ERR
  • Unrestrained retention of electronic records
    poses an unacceptable risk for many
  • This risk is greatest for the desktop and email
    less so for production applications.

The biggest risk of unrestrained retention The
  • While undefined / indefinite retention of data
    residing in IT-managed production applications
    poses some degree of risk and often has adverse
    storage or other consequences, the single biggest
    ERR challenge is the desktop!
  • The desktop is an RM basket case!

Needed Desktop Records Management for Dummies
  • There are approximately 100 million office
    desktop users in the USA.
  • Very few of them are furnished with good guidance
    concerning how to manage and retain these
  • This is, arguably, the single greatest failure in
    RM today!
  • But . . the desktop is where over half of all
    digital content resides!

Bringing RM and retention to the desktop
  • Electronic records management will be
    successfully implemented at the desktop level
    when every desktop user will be routinely
    declaring records on a daily basis, as a part of
    their everyday business processes. All declared
    records will have a correctly assigned
    classification code, with a 95 or higher
    accuracy rate. And the disposition of all
    declared e-records will be governed under
    approved retention rules that are fully compliant
    with regulatory requirements. And finally, the
    volume of stored e-docs will be shrinking rather
    than growing, because large scale, accountable
    destruction will be occurring routinely.
  • Bruce Miller, IBM

A specious argument Bringing ERR to the desktop
is not feasible
  • Another way to increase storage capacity is for
    IT administrators to demand that users themselves
    clear out their older files from the system (with
    the added threat that files over a certain age
    will be automatically deleted from the system if
    users take no action). This is clearly
    ludicrous. The cost to a business to (a) spend
    considerable amounts of time reviewing all their
    data . . .
  • Source Document World

A specious argument Bringing ERR to the desktop
is not feasible (contd)
  • . . . and then (b) to have to make decisions
    about the potential value of data and act
    accordingly is inestimable. Users will always
    believe they use their data more often than they
    do. What is really needed is a method of
    automatically moving older, less frequently used
    data from high performance disk drives attached
    to the server, to less expensive secondary
    storage devices.
  • Source Document World

Bringing ERR to the desktop Six basic principles
  • 1. Responsibility for retention rests with
    individual desktop users.
  • 2. Retention should be content-driven / records
    series related (users are required to comply with
    the retention schedules).

Bringing ERR to the desktop Six basic principles
  • 4. Users may dispose of all desktop documents of
    unofficial character at their discretion
    (provided they do not exceed the retention
    requirement for official documents.)
  • 5. Most desktop documents are of relatively
    short-term value. Consider a default retention
    of 2 years.

Bringing ERR to the desktop Six basic principles
  • 6. Desktop Purge Day are strongly recommended as
    the single most effective step in retention
  • Labor requirements Between 4 and 16 hours per
    user per year, exclusive of email.

Users Guide to Managing Electronic Records at
the Desktop Level
  • Bringing Professional Records Management to the
  • Filing Records Created by Desktop Applications
  • Protecting Records Created by Desktop
  • General Retention Policies for Electronic Records
  • Retention of Records Created by Desktop
  • Responsibilities for Disposing of Electronic
  • Records Management Practices for Email
  • Saving E-mail
  • Deleting E-mail
  • Using AutoArchive to Save and Delete Messages

Bringing ERR to IT-managed System Applications
Six Steps
  • 1. Obtain cooperation / participation of IT
  • 2. Collect summary data describing system
  • 3. Solicit data via questionnaire
  • 4. Interview applications developers and data
  • 5. Integrate data retention requirements into
    enterprise schedules
  • 6. Implement application retention requirements
    under a new IT policy for data retention

Step 1 Obtain cooperation / participation of IT
  • Retention Schedule development 3 to 9 month
  • Retention implementation Integrate data purge
    functionality into application environments
  • A multi-year project

Step 2 Collect summary data describing system
  • You need
  • A general description of all system applications
    IT is running, usually contained in an
    Applications Portfolio, Systems Directory.
  • A list of data owners and applications developers.

Step 2 Summary data describing system
applications (Sample)
  • System name Personnel Information Management
  • Business function Comprehensive data about the
    employment history / current status of individual
  • Data owner Jane Smith
  • Applications developer John Doe
  • Platform UNIX
  • Applications software PeopleSoft
  • Database Oracle
  • Disk size / space 32 GB

Certain applications may be disregarded as
  • Schedule real business records in system
  • Applications containing pass thru data (data
    feeds, system interface) are not usually
    scheduled since they are not, themselves,
    repositories of retained business records.
  • Schedule the lakes and ponds, not the rivers
    and streams!

Solicit data via questionnaire Six key questions
  • 1. Briefly describe the business process or
    function performed by this application.
  • 2. Has any provision been made to "flag" or
    identify inactive data in the application?
  • 3. What data retention practices are currently in
    place for this application, if any?
  • 4. Is any inactive data routinely archived or
    otherwise deleted or "purged" from this

Solicit data via questionnaire Six key questions
  • 5. If yes, describe the functionality for purging
    inactive data and indicate when this occurs. For
    example, can the software effectuate a
    system-wide purge of expired data based on
    specified, pre-defined retention criteria, or can
    it only accomplish manual deletions of individual
    data records?
  • 6. Please share any opinions concerning how long
    you believe inactive data from this application
    should be retained for operational or business
    purposes, and elaborate on the reason(s)
    justifying these opinions.

Step 4 Interview applications developers and
data owners Four key issues
  • (1) Validate the data contained on the survey
    forms for each application
  • (2) Define the electronic records series the
    schedulable bodies of data contained in each
  • (3) Define the retention values of each
    electronic records series and to make preliminary
    retention decisions for each of the
  • (4) Discuss strategies and functionality for
    implementing the retention periods.

Step 5 Integrate data retention requirements
into enterprise schedulesThree format options
  • (1) Media specific (separate schedules for paper
    and electronic)
  • (2) Media independent (one schedule that doesnt
    distinguish between media types)
  • (3) Multimedia (one schedule but separate,
    specific guidance for redundant data on multiple

Step 6 A new IT policy for data retention
  • For most organizations, the only feasible
    strategy for incorporating purge functionality
    into all applications software requiring it to
    adopt a new IT policy requiring that such
    functionality be incorporated either at the time
    of initial systems design or at the time of the
    next technology upgrade.

Step 6 A new IT policy for data retention
  • This policy is designed to make all applications
    retention-capable within three to five years.
  • This would be a huge victory for ERR!!!
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