Expert Speak

Role of channel partner in helping customers manage information

helping customers

How effective are businesses at managing their company’s information?
A thought provoking question for sure! The malady of data explosion in this age of digital information is slowly affecting the operations of all businesses. While one is grappling with rising storage costs, there needs to be an initiative to handhold and guide the business to manage information better with the deployment of the right technology, opines Vineet Sood, head, channels & alliances, Symantec.

This is where a channel partner needs to step in and be the trusted advisor to the customer. Today, a channel partner is the customer’s go to person when it comes to understanding the range of technologies in the market, the best option suited to meet their specific needs and actually be present throughout the sales cycle from pre-sale to the actual deployment phase. Within this space, managing information has become a niche area as there are technologies that actually help in reduction of storage costs, protect information and help manage the customer’s data lifecycle effectively.

The following are information management tips that can help service providers show their customers the benefit of archiving, backup and e-discovery technologies.

Help the customer to understand the difference
It is important to understand the difference between the need for recovery and the need for discovery. Service providers should advise their customers to develop policies that dictate what information is important to keep and what can be deleted. That way, there is no guessing – what needs to be retained is clearly defined.

Don’t be afraid to hit the delete button
Backup is not an archive, and it is not recommended to use backup for archiving and legal holds. Organizations should retain a few weeks of backups (30 – 60 days) and then delete or archive data in an automated way thereafter. By using backup only for short-term and disaster recovery purposes, organizations can backup and recover faster while deleting older backup sets within months instead of years. That’s a huge amount of storage that can be confidently deleted or archived for long-term storage.

De-duplication to the rescue
Regardless of IT budgets, no customer wants to store duplicate data unnecessarily. To combat duplicate data, service providers must help their customers implement deduplication everywhere within applications and within a backup environment. Businesses that deploy deduplication as close to the information sources as possible free network, server and storage resources. When deduplication is combined with shorter retention periods, enterprises enable tapeless disaster recovery via replication for better SLA. Furthermore, failure to implement deduplication can result in buried files making them difficult to retrieve, which in turn slows data recovery.

Develop information retention policies
Storage costs are skyrocketing as over retention has created an environment where it is now 1,500 times more expensive to review data than it is to store it, highlighting why proper deletion policies and efficient search capabilities are critical for organizations. By developing and enforcing information retention policies (what data can and cannot be deleted, and when) automatically, organizations will reduce overall risk than ad-hoc, manual deletion. Service providers should also advise their customers to use a full-featured archive system to make discovery as efficient as possible. This will reduce the time and cost it takes to evaluate litigation risk, resolve internal investigations and respond to compliance events.

Deploy data loss prevention technologies
Data loss prevention technologies should be deployed to measurably reduce a customer’s risk of data breaches, demonstrate regulatory compliance and safeguard their customers, brand and intellectual property. Solutions providers should look for a solution that discovers, monitors and protects their customers’ confidential data while providing insight into the ownership and usage of information. When it time for your customer to enter litigation, you don’t want important data and records to mysteriously go missing. Data loss prevention technologies can help customers see what data they have and where the data is moving at any time.

It’s important to be proactive in the efforts focused at getting customers on track to where they need to be and save the company valuable time and resources in the process. Having a solid information retention plan is essential to ensure a healthy and agile system. Helping your customers stay ahead of the game will position you as a valuable resource and trusted advisor, strengthening your relationship and securing their business in the future.

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