Companies are failing to identify the real culprit behind a lack of storage space and the huge volumes of data being hoarded, according to a new report.
Large data gluts are often blamed on increasing data retention regulations which require companies to store more information.
But consulting firm Detica believes that the real culprits of corporate data overload are employees chatting and sharing jokes and photos via email.
"In the web 2.0 culture we have stopped talking to one another directly. The norm is to communicate electronically, even to people just a few metres away in the office," said Chris Saunders, head of data stewardship at Detica.
"Email is widely used for office banter, social chats and group discussions about after-work drinks, or to circulate large digital files with cartoon jokes, MP3 files or photographs."
Saunders explained that there may be nothing wrong with this in itself, but that the data can quickly mount up, especially if teams also email large project files such as PowerPoint presentations every time they make a small change.
"Companies need to encourage staff to delete junk emails and large, unnecessary or out-of-date files regularly from their personal data stores," he said.
Saunders believes that companies are missing a trick if they fail to get employees to exercise proper data management.
Central to this is employees checking the "shelf-life" of the information they store and regularly deleting outdated, duplicated or fragmented archived files.
"Get your employees to understand the challenge and take responsibility for managing their own information hoards," said Saunders.
"This will streamline the performance of company servers, and offer a more organised and up-to-date archive of data which can be used more effectively for business intelligence."
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