Managing Unstructured Data: Avoiding Internal Knowledge Gaps

Most IT managers know that managing an unstructured data environment can be a daunting task. Before beginning an unstructured data management project, many factors should be considered, including the number of storage devices, the size of a particular dataset, the number of files in the dataset, and , perhaps the most intimidating, unique unstructured data environment. reside.

One-size-fits-all solutions can often inadvertently sweep important features of unstructured data environments under the rug. Admittedly, this simple, short-term fix is ​​easier than going out of your way to customize the best solution for each organization’s data set. However, anyone undertaking an unstructured data management project should be warned: this methodology can create a longer-term detrimental effect known as “insider knowledge.”

Insider knowledge is what is left over when a group of people spend time setting up data management systems within an organization and then leave their roles without passing on critical information about the data management system. to those taking over. This makes things incredibly difficult for those inheriting the cluster system and, chances are, organizations that currently have this problem just haven’t realized it yet.

The Beginning of the End: Creating Insider Knowledge

Today’s storage administrators are busy and perpetually dispersed. Their daily responsibilities typically include:

  • Creating Shares and Exports
  • Designing a File System Layout
  • Assigning devices to each app or dataset
  • Track down unused data
  • Organization and coupling of workflows to datasets

Often, with their busy day-to-day environment, IT team decisions and actions are taken with a siled approach. And as the project progresses, a unique language known only to the IT professionals overseeing the project is created. They can create their own tags and place files according to a certain organization system. However, most of this information is not written, which means that it must be deciphered as an uncorrected code. This language is “insider knowledge”.

Insider Knowledge and the Great Resignation

Why is this a problem? As long as someone knows what’s going on in the overall data picture, that’s fine, right? Good …

Relying only on the team of IT professionals who created the workflow means they have to stay with the company forever to make their systems make sense. After all, once people with this knowledge leave, they are largely lost to the company forever.

It’s not a bet worth having a company’s employees just stick around to see the data management project come to an end. The threat that insider knowledge poses to organizations is that only people with a sense of how the system works can properly onboard the next hire. It’s a great position for IT pros who know everything about the system because there’s a sense of job security, but it’s not great for the organization.

For organizations, 44% of employees in the labor force are active job seekers. The Big resignation showed that job seekers today have the upper hand in the market and that good talent can be bought off and poached to companies without notice. When, not if, an organization’s IT team members leave, it is imperative to have a well-documented and organized foundation for the unstructured data management system so that the next team can pick up where she had stopped.

Otherwise, when team members leave, they will inevitably leave gaps in knowledge and questions will arise such as:

  • Do you host 20TB of dead app data on your NAS?
  • Is that 20TB of data something the storage admin was planning to remove, or does it matter?
  • Will you pay to keep this data on Tier 1 drives?
  • Do you have old employee files that were archived on other storage devices but never deleted?

The implications of insider knowledge are important to remember before you start tackling a data management project. It’s really as simple as planning for the future and deciding not to give a few people control of an entire company’s unstructured data stores.

Let technology take care of it: what to ask to find a solution?

To manage unstructured data, there are now many tools on the market built with insider knowledge (and pre-existing codes within organizations) in mind. By automating the process as much as possible, organizations can avoid headaches when their IT team moves on. Here are some questions to ask to help you find the right tool:

  • Data location: How many storage devices are there? How many data centers are there? And in how many countries are the data centers distributed? Are there any who live in the cloud?
  • Scan Capabilities: Do the aforementioned locations of the data affect the tool’s ability to analyze it? What functions can be performed, from simple scanning to analysis with big data capabilities?
  • Presentation: How do you receive information from the tool? Is it digestible and usable? Will it easily highlight forgotten datasets?
  • Consequences: When you have the information at your fingertips and you have the insider knowledge in front of you, how can that help you move forward to promote a healthier unstructured data environment?
  • Time: How long will it take? How much data can the engine scan? And will it affect the status quo?

These are questions that IT managers need to find answers to before deciding on the best solution for the long-term success of their organization. Regardless of understaffing and overstretched IT teams, in today’s modern data center, the last thing to do is to give a few IT professionals complete control over the non-compliant data management system. structure of a company.

Staff turnover is never fun. In IT, this can have serious repercussions for the whole organization if IT teams are forced to start from scratch on projects because there is no one left to translate the language of the system that was built on the insider knowledge.

With the amount of data being created every day, now is the time to clean up and automate the process as much as possible, because the time to decide on a solution that works for today was yesterday. IT managers who take the time to evaluate new technologies and comprehensive data management solutions available will be prepared to spend their budgets wisely to reduce the risk of mishaps, delays, cost overruns, and even staff turnover. IT team.

Donald E. Patel