You’ve probably heard of Hoarders, the show that sheds light on real-life hoarders whose homes, cars and lives are full of useless clutter. You may have even felt shock or disgust when watching these episodes, but it’s not just physical hoarding that’s become a problem. Several years ago, a YouTube comedy show filmed a parody of Hoarders, featuring Michael, a so-called data hoarder. Although you might not have several dozen hard drives to store all your data, hoarding data can lead to just as much of a mess, especially if you’re hoarding on your company’s cloud storage.
Know What You Have
How do you best make use of the services from cloud storage providers? To start with, you have to know what’s on your drives. Don’t upload every file your company has saved over the years. Some might truly be better off in the recycle bin or a trusty filing cabinet. The cloud makes it easy to back up and share data, but you might be surprised at how much useless data you can accumulate over the years. If you’ve see employees come and go, you might not have any idea what’s in those folders. It might not sound like a big deal if you have a small company, but recent surveys suggest that most people maintain over 5 terabytes of data on average. Multiply that by 10 or 100 employees, and you’ll wind up forking over a hefty sum for storage.
Although you and your employees might not be emotionally attached to your data, you may not know what’s safe to delete. Obviously, you can and should remove copies of data that exist in several locations. The same holds true for different versions of the same file that may have been passed around the office. If you can’t remember when a file was used—or what for—deleting it might be in your best interest. Surely, you won’t work with every client again. Some old partners might no longer be in business or exist in the area. If you’re unsure about a file, you might take time to consult with the person or organization that the file belongs to. Consider passing off files to your clients for storage. When you can’t answer the question “How does this data help me do what I need to do?” it’s time to delete.
Encourage Employees to Escape Data Hoarding
As you delete files, you’ll see your data usage shrink, but it’s up to everyone if you want to make a large dent in your cloud storage capacity. Encourage employees to consolidate emails. Do you really need messages from four years ago? Similarly, your associates shouldn’t use business space for personal storage, so make a stand when it comes to personal photos, videos and music files lingering on your cloud servers. When employees leave your company, take the time to weed through their files. Keep only what you need. Just because cloud computing can store a googol of information doesn’t mean you should keep that much around.