Information protection and its management has become the most vital task encountered by IT organizations as information's value to the business can vary depending on the data type and its present stage of its lifespan. The importance of applying Information Lifecycle Management -- ILM technology lies in correctly managing information subject to its relative importance to the enterprise at a given point of time across its lifecycle. It is crucial to note there that ILM is not just a storage-based methodology, but covers a wide-ranging contents and records management system as well that are leveraged to assist in dealing with corporate and regulatory data preservation and safeguarding governance needs. Hence data becomes information when its content is capable of being used within a context. (Stuart, 2005)
The ILM implementation Roadmap:
The ILM roadmap consists of various stages which an enterprise must pass for an appropriate ILM policy. The stages are (i) information assets and infrastructure resources/services identification (ii) standardization of information, data & security services (iii) Piloting of ILM-based solution stacks (iv) Automating ILM-based policies and services and (v) Deployment of ILM practices enterprise wise. A diagram showing the various stages is given in Exhibit-I. (Peterson, 2006)
A trade-off is a likely fall out between people responsible for storage and those responsible for its instant use. Since ILM is still in its infancy and gradually evolving, it is important to note that a one-stop solution might not be what we are looking for. A single solution to address this entire issue might be hard to find if not impossible and therefore it might be prudent to look for a range of solutions each unique in its own concept and applicability. A multidisciplinary approach will be able to offer a viable solution and it is within this ambit that we will discuss the currently available tools and concepts for a solution. The following paragraph gives an overview of the currently available tools and utilities within whose framework we can address this issue.
(1) Hierarchical Storage Management (HSM):
HSM offers a solution among others to classify data based on their frequency of use within the enterprise and allow for automated data movement from older media categories to current ones. Currently, transition of data from older to newer media can be done at regular interval through an automated process, permitting enterprises to rapidly gain new cost benefits. When an organization has a better grip regarding the manner in which businesses processes and information interacts, HSM concepts can be used as per a set policy to move data that which not been accessed for 3 months or so to a lesser cost media like tape or disk. Till the point data meets this criterion, no data is moved till the data pool attains its maximum value. Thereafter based on computer logic inside the HSM software, some amount of data which has fulfilled the ILM policy is moved to create space for new data. In this manner, based on an enterprise's ILM policy, storage costs are kept low satisfying IT managers while accessibility and data needs are fulfilled also much to the cheer of operations manager as well. (Stuart, 2005)
(2) Automated Classification:
With the intensification of data explosion, the completely automated rules-based categorization approach has been popular, for its exclusive capability to speedily scale to handle projects of any size. Usually applying this approach implies formulating and applying generic rules like deleting any document that has not been edited during the past decade. But the fully automated approach has some inherent problems. This is because this approach depends on an overall, blanket rules for making a judgment on content, the outcomes often has a lot of negatives. The greatest drawback of this approach is that it eliminates humans from the decision making due to a rule-based solution. This is because following framing of a rule, there is no scope for expert input, or interpretation that can neither be acceptable to IT managers or Operations managers. (Storage Insider, 2012)
The propriety solution from Recommind's suite of data management utilities, Decisiv Categorization gives automated classification through a supervised learning mechanism. The technology efficiently leverages people centric knowledge to automate classification in a better way. In a very hybrid approach, Decisiv Categorization efficiently blends the potential of automatic categorization, information governance, e-discovery and search at the enterprise level. Using this, enterprises are able to tackle legacy content, implement governance policies, allay legal risk and lower the overall IT costs. The bedrock of this approach touted by Recommind is a methodology and workflow system called predictive sampling that assists in the defensibility to the categorization decisions of an enterprise. (Storage Insider, 2012)
Under Decisiv Categorization, the database will search chosen databases and zero in on anything which fulfils the pre-selected criteria and it will undertake a random sample from the data and present it before a Subject Matter Expert -- SME within the enterprise. This decision of the SME becomes the vital differentiator as it allows a human to review the documents and offer a decision whether the rule is correct or otherwise. A workflow diagram depicting how Desiciv Categorization works is shown in Exhibit -- II. (Storage Insider, 2012)
(3) Information Classification, Impact Sensitivity Categorization, Access Control Requirement definition/modification processes:
The above entities in concert with policy for the creation, storage, updation, transfer and deletion of information need a complete Information Life Cycle Management -- ILM process that must be a continuum of analysis. The propriety COA approach in use that follows the ILM process model shows the action which can be taken on information at a specific time, the alternatives available at the time of taking those actions and the route that the person must adopt to guarantee that the information becomes secure across its lifecycle from the point of its creation till its deletion. The ILM process model is shown in Exhibit -- III.
During routine business operations, a lot of information is created and it is the creator who has to decide whether it needs access control or not. In the absence of any need for access control, its lifecycle can continue without the application ILM processes. In case it requires, then the "Information Classification, Impact Sensitivity Categorization and Access Control Policy Definition levels" of the process is required to be performed. However the most important is the "Impact Sensitivity Categorization" depending on the criterion of "Confidentiality, Integrity, Availability and Authenticity" needed to sufficiently safeguard the information at its place of location and transit. The "propriety Impact Sensitivity Categorization of the Jericho Forum" suggests an impact sensitivity scale of six which symbolizes the impact enormity in case the protection measures are not deployed in an efficient manner. (Jericho Forum, 2009)
(4) Informatica Data Archive:
This propriety solution is based on the identification of shifting or moving the inactive data whose frequency of use is less to a different specific database concurrently maintaining the end-user access through the original application interface. The data that is moved goes to a secure and highly compresses, unalterable file-based archive that needs lesser storage and management resources. One of the most important ILM processes which Informatica Data Archive is created to support is retiring or putting out of service legacy applications in a safe manner. The most important part is that, this propriety software has an inherent set of capabilities enveloping accelerated application connectivity that covers Oracle E-Business suite, Siebel, PeopleSoft & SAP and also for establishing and managing a centralised ILM repository and archive stores which are file based. (Madan, 2011)
This solution is operative against structured as well as unstructured data that covers transactional data with linked unstructured files like pictures, audio, documents also that is stored on site as well as the cloud. On the whole this solution has connectivity across applications…