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When it comes to an organization's file shares, there is often chaos. Piles of unorganized data, most of it ROT, clog up efficiency and present a compliance risk.
File Share Challenges
Chaotic, over-retained, and unorganized file shares cause problems for every company. Below are some common challenges organizations face.
While the value of information declines over time, the cost to manage it remains basically constant, so there is a widening gap as costs exceed value over time. Also, eDiscovery risk increases as information ages and context is lost, so there is an even larger gap as value declines and risk increases.
Equally important, if business people are drowning in their own data, they have a very difficult time actually getting value from information older than six months to a year!
The first step is to analyze your current structure (or structures if you have multiple file shares).
For each file share discovered:
Things to start considering:
The next step is organization which has several sub-stages within it.
Folders need to be capable of search/retention/security
When to consider migrating:
When to consider staying with File Shares:
A file plan lists the records in your office, and describes how they are organized and maintained.
A good file plan will help you:
When it comes to the plan for incoming files, one question that needs to be asked is where will the templates be stored?
There also needs to be a plan regarding how your users will work with the file share. Will they be working from a desktop? If so, the chances of lost files in case of hardware failure increase dramatically. This can also discourage the use of network for final versions, leading to more confusion.
As part of this plan, we also need to train users on correct folder creation. This helps to enforce security and allows for simple classification. Additionally, proper folder security helps enforce correct locations. Once all of this is in place, it is crucial to report on and monitor consistently.
There are a few options when it comes to organizing existing files: drag and drop (manual) or automated.
The drag and drop approach works well if the files are reasonably organized. To ensure accuracy, don't depend on end users to do this for you. This is a good time to consider disposing of ROT. If you can afford it, hiring temporary help will keep the project on a steady timeline.
The automated approach may work better if the files are not organized. In fact, this may be the only way to handle very disorganized file shares. There are several options including a mapping application or automated classification.
Similar to the previous step, there are several stages of the management phase of controlling your file shares.
There are four crucial tenants of an effective lifecycle:
When it comes to disposition, there are a few key considerations:
File shares can be a massive compliance headache if they are not properly managed. However, following the steps laid out above alongside an automated records management solution will allow your organization to take your files shares from chaos to calm.