How apt that, on World Environment Day, businesses are reminded to start data housekeeping, storage and processing policies to reduce emissions!

As we commemorate World Environment Day, it is time for businesses worldwide to get their data in order, to make room for emissions tracking and reporting, while addressing customer and environmental needs. How?

  • Waste remains a major concern in data storage. The energy consumption of procured storage remains the same regardless of how much of it is used. Thus, using as much of the available capacity as possible, and procuring no more than is needed, must be a priority if businesses want to achieve both efficiency and sustainability.
  • The lack of data visibility is a catalyst for poor decision making, created by a sea of inaccurate information and conflicting documents. As the organization’s data pile grows, so does the risk of losing it to cyberattacks that damage eco sustainability via multiple pathways. Therefore, enhancing data visibility and security are more important than ever now.
  • Data hoarding encourages growth of data center businesses pumping out ton of emissions equivalent of almost 2% of the world’s emissions, which is the same as that produced by the global airline industry. Businesses need to assume responsibility when it comes to data storing, by turning away from poor data management practices, and considering solutions to lessen their carbon footprint.

Steps for reducing ROT and dark data

Organizations should not accept ROT or dark data as a logical consequence of continual digitalization. Therefore, as a first step, businesses should step back and consider the broader environmental, social, governance (ESG) implications of their current data management and storage practices to identify areas for improvement and seek advice about how to best transform their processes into more sustainable applications. Storing and using data more efficiently at every stage of its lifecycle must be a core part of every organization’s broader sustainability efforts.

Additionally, as more public resources about emissions factors become available, these public tools can be leveraged by businesses to take better control of their operations. Other ways to achieve better data storage sustainability include:

  • Businesses can consider partnering with their cloud service providers (CSPs) in managing their carbon footprint efficiently. CSPs can dynamically allocate resources across customers’ workloads to achieve higher resource utilization and energy efficiency.
  • To minimize waste in data storage, IT leaders can embrace lean principles with techniques such as data compression, de-duplication and thin provisioning. It is beneficial for businesses to establish an official data lifecycle to understand the relevance of data, archive infrequently used data, and purge data that is no longer required.
  • Business leaders need to be more conscious about the environmental impact of their business operations, including IT processes. By adopting autonomous data management solutions that combine automation, AI and elastic architecture to self-provision and self-optimize in a multi-cloud world, organizations can play their part in achieving urgent Net Zero emissions pledges.

The global spotlight on climate change and sustainability will only intensify, and organizations should embark and fast-track their sustainable journey with the right intentions and strategies.