RC: Could you provide an overview of the extent of electronic information that companies have to deal with in today’s business world? What specific challenges do they face when it comes to creating, handling, backing-up, storing and disposing of this volume of data?

Beckett: The backbone to all business in the 21st century is instantaneous electronic information: emails, texts, tweets, instant messages, mobile communications, and so on. While traditional data source growth is estimated at 40-60 percent year-on-year in corporates, this is now being compounded with the rise of social network data, and the beginning of the Internet of Things (IOT), with data set to double every 12 months. It is now a challenge for employees to be able to find relevant data, as on average, up to 70 percent of data has no business value, compounded with the lack of data ownership and disparate needs from the business stakeholders. Companies are sitting on unknown levels of risk, due to lack of insight into data stored, and a myriad of different repositories across the enterprise. The lifecycle of information in a business is fundamentally broken – not all data is created equally, yet when it sits on the same storage layer, IT treat it as if it is. Tape backups are used as archives that never get deleted, data is migrated to each new storage system over the years without any consideration to its business value, as IT need the Line of Business (LOB) to make decisions on whether the data has any value. The LOB does not have the time to do this as their focus is on creating net value for the company, not worrying about how much it is costing to store in the back end of the company. Differing stakeholders with differing objectives on the data only compound the issue in the long term. Defensibly disposing of the data means that all the stakeholders need to be aligned, and with the GDPR on the horizon, companies need to be proactive as to what, where and why they are storing data.

Apr-Jun 2017 Issue

Alvarez & Marsal

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer US LLP

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP