When it comes to creating files, today’s users are prolific to say the least. User files represent the fastest-growing data type within organizations. Some estimates indicate that as much as

October 1, 2010

3 Min Read
How to Reign In the Wild Proliferation of User Files

By Novell Guest Blog 2

file cabinet

When it comes to creating files, today’s users are prolific to say the least. User files represent the fastest-growing data type within organizations. Some estimates indicate that as much as 80 percent of all digital data is “unstructured”—in other words, file-based data generated by users—and it’s growing at an astounding rate of 60 percent per year. Here’s the thing: some users are packrats—saving multiple iterations of everything they create while others download every document they find on the Internet. When their hard drives fill up, they simply back up the data to the network. So, how can VARs help customers to get their data under control? The answer involves identity management. Here's why.

Documents, presentations, spreadsheets and other file types are the primary output of employee productivity and represent an organization’s intellectual capital. And while they consume more storage space for longer periods of time, these files are important—that’s why we store them and back them up. But aren’t some more important than others? That’s the crux of the problem. How do you know which files are truly valuable? Which files are stale? Which files are redundant? And what files simply don’t belong on an enterprise network in the first place? How many copies of Avatar do you want on your network, really? It’s scary to consider what might be stored on your organization’s file servers.

The unchecked proliferation of user files is a big problem. And as you know, the bigger the problem, the bigger the sales opportunity. Companies have simply been throwing money at file storage—in terms of both infrastructure and administration—hoping that that would solve the issue. Besides the escalating, unsustainable cost concerns, that “quick fix” just complicates matters, as the less intelligence your customers have about their file storage environment, the more difficult it is for them to run an efficient data center or fully profit from their digital assets.

The Solution: Identity Management

When you get right to the heart of the matter, it’s really the “who” that determines whether a file is important to the business. Who authored it? Who modified it last? Who has access to it? It’s the answers to these questions that make a file important. So identity is key.

By leveraging organizational identities in existing directory services, customers can intelligently manage their unstructured data through identity-driven policies. They can better track and understand storage patterns, and allocate and manage storage based on its relevance and business value. Equally important, they can save on capital, operational and administrative costs while strengthening data governance.

As you might have guessed, I’m building up to something here. There actually is a software solution that can deliver all of these benefits on top of existing storage solutions, regardless of platform. There you can learn about a unique solution for intelligent file storage management. We’ve got an ROI calculator there that you can use to project a customer’s cost savings over time if they take control of file storage. There are also some videos there that illustrate just what an enormous problem this is becoming.

dan dufault novell

Check it out—including the videos at the bottom of the page. I think you’ll find it both entertaining and insightful.

Dan Dufault is global director of partner marketing at Novell. Guest blogs such as this one are part of The VAR Guy's annual sponsorship program. Read all of Dufault's guest blogs here.
 

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