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Managing the data lifecycle

In addition to the operational and functional aspect of the control of the daily data lifecycle, it is the responsibility of companies to implement a strategy that meets regulatory requirements so that they ensure data compliance. Here we provide some ideas on how a small enterprise should carry this out. The data lifecycle relates to its entire life, from its inception until its destruction, recycling or retrieval, as the case may be at any given time, perhaps for legal, tax and/or regulatory reasons. What needs to be understood is that data has a reason for existing, whether it is a simple business letter or contract, a simple Excel table or a graphic chart, they all have value that makes sense within a certain context. This information – whatever it may be – must serve its purpose once it has been created. It is active in a market analysis and/or a marketing activity and it becomes static in the file of a customer with whom that may be more business activity for some time. What matters is that the information can be found and kept in terms of its importance.

In order to simplify this, a small company often – sometimes mainly – uses tools like the Microsoft Office Suite with Outlook. Even within a simple environment that has been used for decades now, information has a critical importance when heavily reusing generic documents and carrying out administrative procedures and everyday business. In this area, that is reasonably limited to data exchanges between employees, partners, customers and suppliers, the importance is attached to the data creation tool and anything that allows for it to be converted for all purposes. Other than the ability to use the software, the main issue is how the data files can be stored in the correct locations, namely to protect it and archive it depending on the circumstances.

Microsoft has addressed the changing uses of data and the related legal and regulatory requirements by focusing mainly on its existing customer base which it knows well. The result of this was a platform known as Office 365. However, it must be noted that there are several versions of it and Microsoft marketing is not always the best at simplifying the offers and communications that go with it. This platform is a supplement to the Office tool that was previously used on PC (and possibly on internal enterprise servers) to optimise the data lifecycle. For example, if this is viewed with features, such as document versions on the server, it is much clearer that Outlook email management relies on one of the best messaging platforms: Exchange.

Indeed, Microsoft offers a tool to manage daily mail on its platform with the possibility to archive the mail of each employee by establishing a relatively standard and legal archiving which has a sophisticated enough data retention policy. Let’s take a simple example: recovering deleted data over several years, including trash. This is possible thanks to the technology of Exchange messaging, but also because there is up to 100 GB of available storage. This environment is based on Cloud which is maintained by Microsoft and replicated concurrently on two data centers.

In this type of global application solution and the management of the data lifecycle, it is understood that everything was considered in the same way that we have thought of documentation for centuries. From now on, it is good to think of the smallest company as acting the same as the largest and that it will apply a policy of sustainable management to its digital work tools for its data and its lifespan.

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