5 Tips for Data Spring Cleaning

May 24, 2022

Data cleaning should be a part of every company’s efforts to improve information security and accuracy. Unfortunately, it’s a task that is often ignored. When that happens, data clutter can crowd servers, increase the risk of a data breach, and lead to unreliable reporting.

Spring is here. Isn’t now the perfect time to tackle this job? Use these tips to make quick work of your data cleanup tasks.

1. Purge or Move Stale Data Offline

Stale data is any information that is too old or useless for other reasons. This data includes:

  • Old customer and employee records
  • Sales records that are no longer relevant
  • Data from products that are no longer available

Consider purging this information according to data retention best practices and regulations for your industry. In some instances, you may choose to move this information offline.

2. Start a Mailbox Cleanup Initiative

The information in your email inbox and those of your employees can pose a serious security risk. In a perfect world, nobody sends confidential or proprietary information via email. In reality, it happens. Worse, people often save these emails indefinitely, intending to act on them in the future.

To prevent this, find an alternative to using email to send confidential data in the first place. Then, add inbox cleanup to your spring cleaning tasks.

3. Eliminate Abandoned Apps and Software

Computers and mobile devices with old, unused apps and software pose a security risk. They may offer hackers open access points to company data. Additionally, old apps may not be getting necessary security updates. It’s time to delete unused and unauthorized apps.

Keep in mind that users may not realize what they have installed on their systems. Some may even be using unauthorized apps. You may need to conduct an audit to identify what is out there in order to eliminate everything.

4. Destroy Outdated Documents and Hardware

Even if you schedule regular shredding services and have a policy of destroying data storage devices, old data has a way of accumulating. So do hard drives and other data storage devices. All it takes is one or two “pack rat” employees to create a significant risk of data loss.

As part of your data cleanup initiative, encourage employees to dig through their offices in search of any paper documents that should be destroyed and have them turn over any unused devices. Then, check your server rooms and IT closets for hardware to be destroyed or wiped.

5. Revisit Your Data Retention and Destruction Policies

Ideally, data spring cleaning should be an easy task. If it isn’t, it may be a sign that your current retention and destruction policies aren’t working for you. Use this time to reconsider what is and isn’t working in your efforts to keep data secure.

SEAM Can Help with Your Data Spring Cleaning

Whether you need assistance with a major data cleaning effort or ongoing services, SEAM can help. We serve businesses in North Dakota and South Dakota that are interested in protecting confidential data through paper shredding, hard drive shredding, computer wiping and more. Contact us to learn more about how we can keep your data safe.

SEAM provides IT recycling and data destruction services including onsite shredding and hard drive wiping to South Dakota, North Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, and Nebraska.

Schedule a pickup or contact us for more information.