Four Strategies for Combatting Data Sprawl


Modern data provides many advantages, yet can also pose a formidable challenge: data sprawl. You risk losing control of your data and jeopardizing compliance, productivity or security if it becomes out of hand. This article will provide strategies to effectively deal with this complex problem of data sprawl.

How Does Data Sprawl Take Place?

If any of the following symptoms sound familiar, then data sprawl may be an issue for you.

  • Your files become unmanageable and you are unaware of which information is accessible to you.

  • Both personal and corporate technology are relied upon by employees for work completion; an error that frequently arises is duplicating work already completed.

  • Keep an eye on who has made changes or edited files by sending key documents via email so they are accessible from a distance.

  • It may also help if employees leave important files at home when not at the office, making remote access more feasible.

  • Different departments use different software, isolating data.

These examples demonstrate what it's like to work in an environment with dispersed data - productivity issues drain resources while leaving compliance risks and cybersecurity risks exposed. You cannot backup or recover files that you don't even know exist!

Establish order within your data. Gain visibility to increase security, streamline processes and boost efficiency - these strategies could prove invaluable.

#1 Audit Your Data

Step one of tackling data sprawl begins by auditing your current data landscape - such as its sources, storage locations, repositories and repositories. Once you know where all your information resides.

Sort data according to its importance, frequency of usage or sensitivity.
Locate and delete redundant or outdated information. Compile a data catalogue for increased visibility. Install access controls and permissions as necessary. Encrypt sensitive data. Draft clear data governance policies.
Train your employees on data management best practices.

# 2 Utilize Cloud Storage

Employees often work from multiple remote locations or on-site. An employee might use their desktop in the office while their laptop at home. Furthermore, employees could use smartphones, tablets, desktops and laptops even if all working within the same office. To combat data sprawl effectively and avoid its consequences utilizing cloud storage is often necessary.

Cloud storage offers easy, centralized data access. Everyone can easily access their files from anywhere without fear of version control issues; and data can be securely backed up regardless of which device users access it from.

# 3 Cloud Applications: Deploy Them

To help keep employees on the same page, provide them with access to similar tools. Microsoft Office or Google Workspace are great examples of this - both can facilitate communication and collaboration in a BYOD workplace environment, while cloud-based software fosters team cohesion as each employee logs on with their work-related credentials at their convenience.

#4 Prioritize Data Control

In situations of data sprawl, it can be easy to lose track of where and who has access to certain pieces of information. As soon as a project moves onto its next phase, any unattended old data could remain behind unnoticed and be subject to compromise without anyone knowing. It is therefore vital that data control be prioritized at every turn in order to keep everything safe from compromise and any breaches in security that might ensue.

Keep track and log data to know its location and who has access to it. At the completion of each project, devise a plan for safely archiving or deleting any no longer required data.

Need Help organizing data?

Our IT specialists can be of great assistance! Reach out for support with your data management strategy; we will get to know your systems before devising plans to tackle data sprawl effectively. Give us a call now on (404) 932-5940