Data fragmentation takes place when an item of data in memory becomes broken up into many pieces, which are not closely linked. Often, it occurs following attempts to insert a large piece of data into storage which has already undergone external fragmentation – or the division of free storage into several small pieces over time.
Now, IT managers are convinced that the strength of business decision making is being undermined, and associated costs soaring, as the fragmentation of corporate data across IT infrastructure puts organizations at risk.
At the same time, IT systems and solutions built and used within organizations, without proper authority (also known as “Shadow IT”), are emerging.
According to a recent survey of IT managers by Freeform Dynamics, over three quarters (80%) of those who took part believed that problems with data inconsistency and availability are affecting business decision making.
An even greater number (83%) expressed fears over the security of their business information as it becomes increasingly dispersed, both across an organization’s own network and externally.
The vast majority of respondents (93%) say that controlling the situation is proving a challenge, as is tracking and monitoring key corporate information, while 84% said the expenses associated with this were an extra worry.
The independent research report which dealt with issues of data fragmentation, titled Storage Anywhere and Everywhere, was based on interviews with 300 IT specialists in medium-sized businesses on both sides of the Atlantic. It was sponsored by Mimecast, which handles companies’ most important data – the information that travels through email systems.
Other key findings of the survey included:
- A huge majority (88%) said that keeping up with growth and demand for data storage is problematic, while a similar number are concerned that storage costs are becoming uncontrollable.
- Over 80% claimed they were already experiencing security threats in their organization and more than a third (38%) described these issues as “acute”.
- A high proportion (just over 90%) of participants considered email to be a common way of sharing key information across an organization, to the extent that its failure would cost their business money. Over half (just over 60%) reported that the risk was made more serious by the use of localized offline email storage, such as PSTs on desktops.
At the same time, the research suggests that information-related needs and expectations continue to rise, and that access to key data, and its protection are vital – equally data must be shared without loss of control.
And, while most recognized that uncontrolled use of public cloud services can exacerbate data fragmentation, many are also convinced that adopting cloud storage and archiving achieves consolidation with no sacrifice of access or convenience.
“These days CIOS are guardians of corporate data rather than IT real estate managers” said Chief Strategy Officer of the Mimecast cloud email services company Matthew Ravden. “They concentrate on securing, storing and managing the organization’s most important data and making it work for individual users and the whole business.
He also noted that despite this, “it can be hard even for a CIO to know where critical business data is stored.”
Ravden went on to explain that “what’s also clear is that it’s perfectly possible to adopt the right policies and technologies to tackle data fragmentation before the problem becomes too great, and to use the data to the business’s benefit.
In this sense, archiving solutions has a key role to play in business.