Redundant, obsolete, and trivial (ROT) data refers to information housed in data repositories that is either not in use or not needed in current business operations. These are files just lying around in your data stores, adding to data storage costs.

What is ROT data?

ROT data includes but is not limited to:

  • Old files that are not needed anymore.

  • Stale files that belong to current users but are not in use or have newer versions in use.

  • Stale files belonging to inactive users.

  • Duplicate instances of files not serving any purpose.

  • Trivial logs and files containing information not needed for business operations, compliance, or other requirements.

By eliminating unwanted files and folders, businesses can focus money and effort towards securing business-critical data.

Statistics on redundant, stale, and old data in organizations.

Pitfalls of storing ROT data

ROT data likely makes up a huge chunk of your data stores. Here’s a quick example to illustrate why that’s such a problem: Imagine having to scan through drawers and drawers of papers to find just one file. In the digital context, this indicates hours and hours of file storage scanning, expending time and manpower. The other drawbacks of ROT data being left unchecked include:

  • Unsecured personal data

Old files may include personally identifiable information, such as contact information or medical details, and this data needs to be located and secured to prevent theft or leaks.

  • Poorly utilized data storage

If you don’t clear ROT data, you may need to buy more storage to meet the exponential data growth. Storing ROT data means you’re losing out on storage space that could be used for essential data.

  • Exploitation of orphaned or hidden files

Orphaned files are left behind by former employees or other stakeholders when they cease to be a part of the organization. Orphaned files with open access can expose unnecessary data to insiders or other users.

With rising costs and security threats, businesses are looking to efficiently manage data stores. The first step towards effectively managing storage costs is to understand how ROT data affects your organization.

 Calculating the true cost of storing ROT data

Let’s briefly look at the cost of storing redundant or stale data. The below calculation is based on ROT data findings from the 2019 Databerg Report and IT Key Metrics Data 2019, mentioned below:

  • The cost of storing raw data amounts to $1,404 per TB, assumed to be constant for a period of five years.

  • The total data for this calculation is assumed to be 100TB.

  • 33% of total data is ROT data.

Then, the steep increase in ROT storage costs for data growth at 25% and 35% would look like this.

Increase in stale data storage costs for organizations

As evident from the graph, the cost of ROT data is a major source of concern that should be given due consideration.

How to minimize ROT data storage costs

The unpleasant growth in ROT data storage costs can be mitigated by pruning your file storage to clear away unwanted information. To manage ROT data in order to keep storage costs down and optimize file storage:

  • Eliminate excessive duplicate versions of files to save on disk space.

  • Move archived data or low-impact data to cloud backups, and save offline storage for data currently in use.

  • Periodically review old, duplicate, or obsolete data in both cloud and physical repositories to get rid of any unwanted files. This will also help spot any security risks that may arise out of untended data stores.

Savings estimator to calculate how much companies can save by minimizing stale data

The next step in addressing ROT data concerns is to employ file storage tools and practices to help trim the data hoarded in your file repositories. ManageEngine DataSecurity Plus offers a dynamic file analysis tool to help you locate old, stale, unused, and duplicate files using their last modified time and other attributes. The solution also helps with analyzing stale files and hidden folders for permission hygiene issues to prevent insiders or hackers from exploiting them. Give it a go with our fully functional, 30-day, free trial.