Don’t Let ROT Takeover: Shrink the Shared Drive

If you don’t work in information management, you probably define the word “rot” as a big mess. And really, when it comes to IM, ROT isn’t that much different.

Think about the hard drive on your computer or laptop. How well are files organized? How easy is it to lose important records because they aren’t saved in the right place? How many times do you open a file to find it wasn’t the document you were looking for?

In ECM-speak, that’s ROT.

Redundant, Obsolete, Trivial.

Now multiply your personal ROT by all of the users on your network’s shared drive. That’s a big, stinking mess. It’s time to shrink the shared drive.

Beyond being time consuming and inefficient, those unwanted files can cost you big in other ways too.

Are you getting gouged by the gigabyte? More and more of our clients tell me they’re outsourcing holdings to data centers that charge by the gigabyte. With a little thoughtful record management, businesses can save millions.

Obsolete records can also be used against your company in litigation. It pays to do some digital spring cleaning.

How can the FileFacets solution help? Here comes the technical stuff.

Redundant

Using a utility downloaded to your environment, files are analyzed for duplication by MD5 hash analysis. Files with the exact same content, regardless of the file names or dates, are marked as duplicates.

A simple rule such as “keep oldest”, or “keep newest” can then be applied to determine which file of a duplicate stays, and which one goes. When files are migrated, the redundant files are moved to a common folder, for deletion or archiving.

Outdated

There are two ways the FileFacets platform cleans up outdated files.

The simplest way is to simply assign a date threshold to your files. That flags older files for movement to an “Outdated” folder when records are migrated. This is a quick way to clean up obviously outdated files.

A more extensive approach involves the classification of files to your organization’s retention schedules. This approach is fully supported within the software as well, however it entails a larger time investment to complete.

Trivial

Trivial files don’t have ongoing business value.

Using FileFacets, files can be identified as trivial by file type, file size or age. Creating simple rules to remove files based on extension is a powerful way to act on a large amount of content. File extensions that are no longer supported or file types that are associated with personal information (such as mp3’s) can be quickly identified and queued for removal.

Analyzing files by file size highlights files which are either too small to contain content, or too large to be stored in the current location. Analysis of trivial content is accomplished quickly while further reducing information holdings.

Many organizations store files well past their sell-by date. FileFacets can report on all files by their age and you can determine business rules to quickly segregate them for archive or removal.

Retain Control: You Take Out The Trash

FileFacets doesn’t actually delete any files.

Wait, aren’t we cleaning the shared drive?

Yes. After all of this file analysis, flagged files are moved into bulk redundant, outdated and trivial folders, where your business can make the final decisions about what stays, and what goes.

When done effectively, ROT processing is the quick win of the information management. Massive amounts of files can be identified and removed from file holdings with a relatively low level of effort. That’s my kind of cleaning.