The majority of IT decision-makers in large organisations use manual processes to analyse and migrate stored data. They also rarely delete data, rather adding more storage when necessary.

These are some of the findings from an independent survey commissioned by Spectra Logic and conducted by Vanson Bourne. The survey, completed in August 2013, includes responses from 300 US and UK-based IT decision-makers and reveals how organisations are currently managing long term data storage and the challenges associated with long term data retention.

The results highlight that the organisations across a number of sectors, including media and entertainment, life sciences, medical imaging, oil and gas, government, and video surveillance, are choosing to retain much of their data for extended periods.

A number of factors influence the trend toward extended data retention, including regulatory, compliance or governance requirements, as well as the opportunity to repurpose and monetise information in the future.

The survey revealed that:
* 68% of total respondents, including 81% of US-based respondents, manually analyse and move their long term data to different locations, and delete limited amounts of stored data. This finding reflects the current data centre trend toward needing to retain more than just email and compliance data for future reference.

Great tools have been created for long term storage and access to structured data; however, current unstructured file data migration to cost-effective tiers often requires more manual migration.

This response was slightly more pronounced in organisations with 1 001 to 3 000 employees, as 71% of those organisations and 65% of organisations with more than 3 000 employees noted they manage their long term storage in this manner.

* 62% of respondents, including 77% of US-based respondents, manage long term data storage by adding more capacity when necessary and rarely delete data. This finding reflects the growing recognition of the value of data to business growth and success. Retaining historical data is helping fuel business analytics that predict future trends.

* 65% of organisations with 1 001 to 3 000 employees and 59% of organisations with more than 3 000 employees noted they manage their long term storage in this manner.

* When it comes to storing data in the cloud, 63% of respondents expect to keep stored data for up to five years. In addition, of all respondents surveyed more than 60% view cost as a barrier to storing data in the cloud for longer periods of time than they do currently.

“The survey findings illustrate the need for new storage options that allow organisations to reduce the time spent manually managing long term storage and easily interface with low cost storage tiers,” says Molly Rector, executive VP of product management and worldwide marketing, Spectra Logic.

“The low-cost nature of tape, combined with its scalability and durability, ensures it will continue to play an important role in modern and evolving IT environments.”