1) More data equals more risk

The more customer financial records, patient health information and old emails you keep around, the more risk you run in the case of a data breach, whether accidental or intentional.

2) More data means more noise.

All too often, the results you actually need — the relevant results — are all too hard to find. Separating signal from noise becomes progressively harder the more noise you have to sort through.

3) Storing your data isn’t free.

While the cost to store an individual byte of data is declining, total storage costs for organizations are rising. This ironic situation is a result of the Jevons Paradox: The less expensive a given resource becomes, the more of it people consume.

4) Data analyzed is a lot more valuable than data stored.

Big Data advocates are fond of saying you should store your data and figure out how to analyze it later. But just storing data doesn’t get you more insights; using the right software to analyze that data does.

Put another way, data stored only has theoretical value, while data analyzed has practical value. Google had to crawl the Web to make it searchable; but the company’s real value is its search capability, not its ability to store Web pages.

5) The more data you have, the less you can trust it.

In an ideal world, you would maintain one copy of data you think is important to run your business, or is required for regulatory compliance. But once again, reality is far different. With multiple people working on different versions of documents and with different versions of those documents moving around in email, on laptops, and in various storage repositories, keeping one version of your data is nearly impossible.

That holds true whether we’re talking about financial transaction records or corporate documents. Multiple versions of content can and will exist. One of the few ways to deal with the issue is to discard versions that are no longer needed.

The above list is excerpted from an article in All things D entitled Five Reasons To Throw Your Data Away by Bob Tennant (ht: Rob Robinson.

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