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Overstoring Records is NOT Just an Information Governance Problem!


Over-storage poses significant Information Governance (IG) and Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) challenges. Unchecked data accumulation results in environmental issues, including high data discovery costs and challenges related to data center consolidation. Unstructured data, constituting 80% of enterprise data, entails substantial costs and risks if not managed effectively. By eliminating Redundant, Obsolete, and Trivial (ROT) data, comprising 30-50% of storage, companies can reduce their carbon footprint during cloud migration by two metric tons of CO2 per terabyte.


Defensible deletion and data center consolidation play a crucial role in sustainability. With a carbon price of US$51 per metric ton, a petabyte of data corresponds to a 4,000 metric ton CO2 footprint, equating to an annual server operation cost of $500,000. Implementing IG best practices, such as data minimization strategies, can contribute to significant cost savings and environmental impact reduction. Data deletion, on a terabyte-scale, can save approximately ~$3,300 in primary storage costs.


Aligning IG best practices with ESG principles and robust data security measures not only mitigates risks and safeguards critical data but also fosters a shift toward sustainable business practices. Employing data minimization strategies, including the collection and retention of essential information, for example, can reduce the environmental impact of data processing. Estimates indicate that up to 30% of servers in data centers are essentially dormant, consuming energy without significant tasks.


Privacy-preserving techniques, like de-identification or anonymization, also address ESG Social and Governance risks associated with data analytics (some of which may be offset by the Environmental impact of technologies like homomorphic encryption, which while enhancing privacy, may demand additional resources and energy). 


Also, cloud migration, particularly through major providers committed to renewable energy and efficiency, presents an opportunity for carbon emissions reduction. Migrating a 1-megawatt enterprise data center to a major cloud service provider can annually cut emissions by 400-1000 metric tons.

Relevant IG strategies include data cleanup, reducing the carbon footprint in cloud migration, defensible deletion, data quality enhancement, and privacy and security controls. Also, using IG based data management tools can help calculate operational efficiencies and carbon footprint reduction achieved by moving enterprise workloads to cloud-based services.


Using IG strategies, organizations can not only enhance their data governance practices but also contribute significantly to environmental sustainability, aligning with the principles of ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) and fostering a responsible and efficient approach to information management.


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Knowledge Preservation, LLC
567 Woolf Road, Milford, NJ 08848

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