Why Data Hygiene Is Critical To Effective Business Continuity

Why Data Hygiene Is Critical To Effective Business Continuity


I’ve always been one for personal cleanliness – and not just because you make a better impression when you’re well-groomed. Staying clean and ensuring your surroundings do the same is not only good for your mental health, it also keeps us physically fit. As an added benefit, keeping yourself organized ensures you’ll always be able to find stuff exactly when you need it.

At this point, you’re probably wondering what any of this has to do with your business.

More than you might think, actually. See, everyone knows the benefit of staying clean, organized, and healthy in the real world. Yet at the same time, a startling number of businesses do nothing of their sort with their data.

They don’t keep track of how files are shared and used on mobile devices. They don’t know where their customer data is stored. They don’t know if copies exist of a particularly-sensitive file – and they barely know where the original is.

In other words, their data hygiene is absolutely terrible.

That’s a problem, and not in the least because GDPR will come hand-in-hand with some hefty penalties for anyone who doesn’t take proper care of their data. You’ll get hit with a penalty if you can’t delete a customer’s data because you don’t know where it is. You’ll be forced to assume everything was compromised in a leak or breach since you won’t be able to pinpoint what data was taken.

It isn’t just regulations like GDPR that are an issue here, either. Having dirty data not only makes your business more vulnerable to attack, it also makes it more difficult for your staff to do their jobs. For example, how can they collaborate on a project when there are ten different copies of the project files?  

More importantly, it makes disaster recovery an outright nightmare. How do you know what files a compromised or damaged system contained? Where are your backups? How current are those backups?

To protect your business and ensure it runs as efficiently as possible, you need to keep your data segmented and organized. You need to give yourself the capacity to manage, monitor, and control every sensitive document within your organization. But where do you even start?

Here are a few tips:


  • Hire a data compliance officer. Data hygiene, especially if you’re running a large enterprise that’s never practiced it before, is an overwhelming task. Having a dedicated professional on-staff to help you through it is highly recommended.
  • Implement a content collaboration solution. Managed service providers and vendors the world over understand the importance of secure file sharing, and its role in enterprise collaboration. That’s why a ton of great solutions now exist to allow your business to take control of its data without impeding staff.
  • Understand what data is ‘dirty.’ On paper, there are three types of unclean data – forgotten files, duplicates, and outdated/incomplete documents. When you initiate your cleanup efforts, focus on those files first.
  • Utilize automated backups. Once you’ve organized all your data, you’ve one thing left to do – back it up. Automated backups are essential here, as people can make mistakes (such as forgetting to run a backup).


Keeping clean is critical, whether you’re talking about yourself or your data. By practicing good data hygiene, you’ll protect yourself from a wide range of security threats, help your staff stay productive, and give yourself the resilience to weather even the greatest disaster. Now get out there and start cleaning.

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