Does your organization store data in the cloud? Whether you choose private, public or a mix of both, you’re not alone. According to a report from RightScale, 95 percent of organizations are currently using cloud storage, and they’re doing this in a variety of ways. 62 percent of organizations are using private cloud models; 60 percent are using public cloud models, and 26 percent are using a hybrid model.
Storing data in the cloud may seem like a budget-friendly option at first. But though the monthly price may look appealing, experienced users know that there are “hidden costs” that add up quickly. RightScale states that “optimizing cloud costs is the top initiative across all cloud users (53 percent) and especially among mature cloud users (64 percent).” Unexpected costs may include transactional fees, contract lock-in costs, compounding storage needs, retrieval fees, network egress fees and getting data into and out of the cloud.
Other major cloud challenges include security, compliance, governance, management and lack of resources/ expertise. The number one cloud initiative in 2017 is optimizing existing cloud costs.
The bottom line? Your IT department or data center needs to cut costs where it can, and that means not paying to store the data you don’t need. That’s where secure data erasure comes in. This software-based data sanitization method can help you safely and permanently destroy data that’s no longer necessary for business or compliance purposes.
Veritas states in its Global Databerg Report that 15 percent of the average company’s data is considered business-critical, 33 percent is redundant, obsolete or trivial (ROT) and 52 percent is unclassified (dark) and holds no value. That means around 85 percent of your organization’s data isn’t business-critical and can be erased to reduce the costs of data storage and management.
Using Blancco’s Cloud Data Storage vs. Data Erasure ROI Calculator, you can determine how much you could be saving on cloud storage each year when only monthly cloud costs are considered. See the example below.
So if your organization is storing 250 TB per year, and 85 percent of your data is dark, redundant, obsolete or trivial (ROT), you could be saving over $150k on hard cloud costs.
Adding in Soft Costs
We already talked about some of the added, or “soft” costs that cloud storage includes. According to Gartner, the 2016 average Annual Storage Cost per raw TB of capacity is $1,593. This includes annual operational expense, lease, depreciation, maintenance, installation and taxes, as appropriate, for all hardware, software, connectivity, personnel, disaster recovery and occupancy.
Our costs calculator focuses on a general average for cloud storage monthly fees—which adds up to a (low) estimate of $150 per terabyte for offerings such as Amazon and Google. If you do the math, adding in soft costs could mean you save up to ten times more than your result!
You can see how erasing unnecessary data on either active or inactive (end-of-life) IT assets could save you money. But are there any other benefits?
Data Erasure to Reduce Risk
Data erasure also reduces your impact in the case of a cyber security breach. The less data there is, the more likely you are to know exactly where all your data lives at any given time and protect it correctly. By classifying what data is necessary vs. unnecessary and securely erasing the data you don’t need, you can ensure good data governance and meet data hygiene best practices.
Data Erasure to Meet Compliance
In addition to knowing what data you have and where it’s stored, implementing classification and data erasure policies can also help you meet compliance. Many industries require electronic records and customer data be kept for specific amounts of time, such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) of 1996 (HIPAA). These rules require a covered entity, such as a physician billing Medicare, to retain required documentation for six years from the date of its creation or the date when it last was in effect, whichever is later. They should then be disposed of properly.
Data Erasure to Reduce Fines
Let’s take the upcoming EU General Data Protection Regulation as another example of necessary compliance. This regulation covers all organizations that handle data from EU data subjects and guarantees the “right to erasure,” also known as the “right to be forgotten.” This allows individuals to request their data be permanently erased. Noncompliance with the EU GDPR may result in fines up to €20 million, or 4% of the worldwide annual revenue of the prior financial year.
So, can using data erasure save money? If you haven’t yet, be sure to try out the calculator to find out!Then download the accompanying guide to learn more about what your data erasure savings number means.