Most enterprises are not following their own advice when it comes to information management, according to Symantec's 2010 Information Management Health Check Survey.
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Although 87% of those polled said they believe in the value of a formal information retention plan, only 46% actually have one.
Too many enterprises save information indefinitely instead of implementing policies that allow them to delete unimportant data or records, the survey report said.
Respondents admitted that 75% of back-up storage consists of infinite retention and 25% of data backed up is not needed for business.
Poor information management leads to rampant storage growth, unsustainable back-up windows, increased litigation risk and expensive and inefficient discovery processes, the report said.
Nearly half of the enterprises surveyed are improperly using their back-up and recovery software for archiving, the survey found.
The consequences of these information management missteps are severe and far-reaching, the report said.
"Storage costs are skyrocketing as over retention has created an environment where it is now 1,500 times more expensive to review data than it is to store it, highlighting why proper deletion policies and efficient search capabilities are critical for enterprise organisations," the report said.
Back-up windows are also increasing, while recovery times have become prohibitive, and with the massive amounts of information stored on difficult-to-access back-up tapes, the report said e-discovery has become a lengthy, inefficient and costly exercise.
Enterprises need to regain control of their information because the costs of waiting for the perfect plan are far outweighed by the benefits of being proactive, the report said.