Although most organizations have long regarded their stores of data as one of their most valuable corporate assets, how this data is managed and maintained varies enormously from company to company. Originally, data was used to help achieve operational goals, run the business, and help identify the future direction and success of the company.
However, new government regulations and guidelines are a key driving force in how and why data is being retained. Regulations now require organizations to retain and control information for very long periods of time. Consequently, today there are additional objectives that information technology (IT) managers are trying to satisfy: to store vast quantities of data for the lowest possible cost, to meet the new regulatory requirements for data retention and protection, and to improve business opportunities by better analysis based on an increased amount of data.
This chapter contains the following sections: