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Tips on dealing with data sprawl within an organisation

Data is important for any organisation – whatever its size.

So what is data sprawl, and how can it be prevented in your organisation?

Data sprawl is the large amount of varying data, from across departments, produced by a company every day. Typically, this is due to the increase of mobile apps, different storage systems, and the format of data and software. Capturing lots of data can offer many benefits – such as analytics – but data can also lead to numerous problems. 

Let’s say, for example, information on a client’s payments is saved on an online accounting database. Even though their payments are saved on one system – you may have more information about this particular client on another system, such as a Customer Relationship Management software. If you’re keen to build meaningful insights from your data, you’d need to manually cross-reference the different data sources, which can lead to errors. 

Data sprawl may also leave your organisation susceptible to cyber attacks as it’s incredibly difficult to keep hold of data when it’s scattered across your departments. Here are four points on how to manage data sprawl in your organisation: 

Cloud storage is key

Consider consolidating your data into a centralised cloud system where users within your organisation can store files and work on them with ease. Microsoft Office 365 and Google’s G Suite are good places to start. This’ll prevent any duplication of files and will limit the need for employees to download documents onto their personal device.

Multi-layered security can save you from having a huge nightmare

That’s right, it’s imperative to have a robust security strategy that isn’t only relevant to your data, but to who and what has access to them too. Multifactor authentication is well worth activating across your accounts – to increase security and minimise data sprawl. 

Integrate software applications

This is all about the merging and optimisation of data and workflows between separate software applications. Often, it’s regarding a new cloud application with a legacy on-premise application, so by integrating the two together can save you time… and money. 

Have data security policies

A policy that determines how users within your business should handle data can safeguard you from a whole manor of issues. Policies may include the prevention of sharing sensitive files with those who aren’t authorised to see them, what you shouldn’t access through public wi-fi hotspots, your stance on passwords, and training on the security risks associated with poor data practice. Let’s not forget about GDPR now… 

For support on how to control data sprawl in your organisation, and to avoid any potential long-term data infringement issues, get in touch with Syn-Star today.

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