Records vs. Non Records – Keep The Value, Delete The ROT

Maciej Wasienczak


It is predicted that by 2025 global data creation will reach 175 ZB (zettabytes). Is it a lot you might wonder, let me put it into a perspective: an average word document has a size of just 321kB (kilobytes). In one ZB we can store 311’500’000’000’000-word files! Now take that and multiply by 175, does that sound like much? It certainly does for me!

How much does your organization contribute to that amount?

Deciding what to keep

With the world constantly evolving and everything becoming digital, storing information in paper form is no longer efficient. Just imagine storing a billion documents in cupboard boxes – you would require a lot and I mean, a lot of free space. Or a big wallet to pay someone to store it for you. Luckily enough, most organizations are moving away from storing their information or assets in paper form and transforming to digital archiving, which is great! But storing all your organization’s information is not very efficient either. Just imagine the storage costs and the struggle to find the information you need – which in fact is a huge issue, a lot of our customers face today. That is why we need to decide what data to store and what data to delete. Having said that, you probably wonder how do I choose?

This will differ somewhat from organization to organization as everyone will have their own definition of “important data” but we at Infotechtion follow a general rule of thumb: “All information should have a life-cycle, so you store data which bring value to your organization or fall under regulatory laws, the rest you can delete.”

Simple, right?

Information of value

The information which you decide to keep is called a “Record”. The International Standards Organization (ISO) defines a record as:

“Information created, revived, and maintained as evidence and information by an organization or person, in pursuance of legal obligations or in the transaction of business.”

Simply put, a record is a piece of information which brings some sort of value to your organization. It is data which helps you with analytical purposes and the kind of information which falls under regulatory laws like General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Gramm-Leach-Bliley Acts, or National Association of Securities Dealers (NASD).

Here are some of the benefits which classifying information as a record and retaining it will bring to your organization:

  • Provide a sole source of truth – Users can be certain that the data has correct and up-to-date information

  • Ensure that information is retained as long as required – Following regulatory laws with retention schedules

  • Minimize the risk of data loss

Redundant, outdated, and trivial data

The kind of information which you choose not to keep is considered a “non-record” – data without any long-term value, often around 70% of files in an organization fall under this category. Non-records are often redundant, outdated, and trivial information (ROT) which nullify your organization’s analytics, may hinder your growth, search results, and contribute to you overpaying for your storage.

Here are just some of the benefits which deleting non-record information will bring to your company:

  • Reduce search results clutter – boost efficiency in finding information
  • Reduce storage requirements – save on storage costs

  • Reduce legal investigation costs – only investigate your records

We are here to help!

At Infotechtion, we understand that sometimes it might be difficult for organizations to create their own definition of what kind of data falls under which category, and how to do things the right way so that results last!

That is why we are here to help! We are ready to share our experience of working with many big companies and help you organize your information, feel free to contact us!

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