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The value of data. (First in/First out).

Though determining the monetary value of data is difficult and varies significantly based upon the business, knowing the relative value of data for a given business is a common practice. For example, the value of certain data, such as the Human Genome project data, is basically indeterminable, since knowing the value derived from research and findings on this data is invaluable. What if the Human Genome data led to the cure for diseases or birth defects?

Four distinct levels of classifying data exist. These levels indicate which backup and recovery technology may be suited and most cost-effective for level (See Figure 1).

Critical data or mission-critical data is used in the key business processes and can account for up to 15% of stored online data. Losing access to this data means loss of revenues and risks the survival of the business. This data is best suited for disk mirroring or replication, as instantaneous recovery is mandatory and is also backed up on tape to provide a copy of data prior to disruption. The mirrored disk copy and tape copies are often located at geographically distant locations from the primary copy. Critical data is normally classified as company secret.

Vital data is used in normal business processes but doesn't mandate instantaneous recovery in order for the business to recover from a disaster or to remain in operation. Vital data is sometimes replicated and normally backed up using automated tape libraries and is often classified as company secret.

Sensitive data is used in normal business operations and alternative sources for accessing or easily reconstructing the data exists in case of data loss. Sensitive data is not needed to provide minimal work levels in case of a disaster.

Non-critical data represents the largest category of data and has relatively low security requirements and duplicate and aged copies often exist. Immediate recovery is not required. Lost, corrupted, or damaged data can be reconstructed with minimal effort and cost. Email archives often fit this profile.
Data Classification Description

Mission Critical Up to 15% of online data, needed for
 minimal work levels in the event of a
 disaster. Normally mirrored/replicated
 and backed to tape.

Vital About 20% of online data. Data used in
 normal business processes but may not
 be needed for a disaster recovery.
 Normally backed up to tape.

Sensitive About 25% of online data. Data used in
 normal business processes that has an
 alternative source or can be
 reconstructed. Normally backed to tape.

Non-critical Typically 40% of online data. Data that
 is not needed for disaster recovery.
 Easily reconstructed or duplicated
 from prior backup copies.
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Article Details
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Author:Moore, Fred
Publication:Computer Technology Review
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Oct 1, 2002
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