Podcast Summary: How Application Decommissioning Can Improve ROI and Security in Your Org

It’s rarely talked about in organizations, but application archiving and decommissioning has the potential to not only reduce costs and free up your budget for more innovative, modern solutions, but it also helps reduce the surface area for security risks. In this episode, Ken talks with Randall Smith, Director of Sales and Solutions at ForeFront Technologies on the benefits of application decommissioning and some steps that you can talk to demonstrate its effectiveness and get buy-in across the organization.

You can listen to the full podcast here, or read on a for summary.

Why Old Systems Are Kept Up and Running

Peek inside any organization and you’ll probably see a number of old business systems still running even though they are no longer used. Why? Because they contain data that the business wants to have available in case they need it. That need might not happen very often, but if it does and they can’t get access to the data, it could become a big problem.

Then you have the companies that go through mergers or acquisitions. With these companies you may end up with multiple systems that do the same thing. You shut down one, but what do you do with the other one? You need to maintain the data, so in most cases, you just keep the system up and running.

The Cost of Content

Ask yourself how much it costs to maintain your content. Randall said if you are keeping older, unused systems operational then  you are:

  • taking up space in a server room
  • training IT to support them
  • paying for on-going maintenance

These are costs that aren’t necessary and they increase over time.

But there’s another side to the cost of content and it’s reflected in the security concerns of the day. As Ken points out, it’s safe to think in terms of “it’s not a matter of if your data will be stolen, but when.” Older systems are often not properly secured, and you don’t always know what information is stored within them.

It’s simply a liability to keep everything.

Archiving and Decommissioning is Necessary

As Ken pointed out, it seems like a pretty simple thing to understand, but the reality is, most organizations don’t have these types of projects underway. There are a few reasons why. Randall noted that there’s a lot of push back from Compliance and Records Managers, Lines of Business and even the CFO. Whether it’s a need to have the data accessible, or a need to save money, there are so many groups involved that it’s challenging to sell the need internally.

So how do you overcome it? Randall said you need to get one or two to buy into the idea and do a pilot. He gave the example of a PeopleSoft system a client wanted to retire, but HR needed to have access to its data. They did a pilot where they archived the data and showed HR how they could continue to access the data and in a much easier and quicker way. Plus, they were able to add retention rules to clean out the data regularly. Randall said it’s important to gain trust and build from there.

One of the keys to doing an archiving and decommissioning project right is to understand what information is really needed. Start with a discovery process and define the what, when, how often, format and structure of the information required.

You’ll also want to think about records retention and management. You only want to keep what’s required. The rest you should dispose of properly as soon as you can.

Ken and Randall ended the podcast outlining a typical decommissioning project.

This is only a summary of the discussion, listen to the podcast to hear all the good stuff. Subscribe to our newsletter to get regular updates on podcasts, webinars and other content related to information governance.