Stay away of Big Data !

Keep or throw away?

We are all a bit conservative. Our attics and cellars are full of things ‘that might be needed one day’… and that weight us down. It is sometimes necessary to do some ‘Spring clean up’.

It is also the case for our information. They are so numerous that we have difficulties to find them back or that we forget them. Though, we feel forced to keep them. This has a cost… for very little result.

Most of the information will easily found back on the Internet, where nothing really disappear once it has been posted.

Preservation and storage

Paper gets old, takes place and weights a lot … and burns well. Pictures turn yellow or the colours fade. We have learnt to transfer all that on our computers.

It requires big storage capacity, backups that we need to regularly verify, update and modernize: because technology don’t last, evolve and only preserve your information for a few years.

We need to regularly grow the size of our (external) hard disks and seek for ‘anti-loss’, ‘permanent’ and ‘automated’ solutions. Here are a few examples:

RAID is a technique allowing to distributing data on several hard disks to improve the performance, the security and the tolerance to errors.

The Network Attached Storage (NAS) is a centralized high capacity autonomous file server for all the clients connected to the network.

Cloud Computing (Cloud) exploits the computational and storage power of distant computer servers across a network, generally the Internet. But w are never sure nobody else will try to have a look…

What to keep :

  • Invoices, documents and proofs serving to tax return, payments and insurances. The duration depends on local legislations and the validity of the contracts;
  • Mail and email requiring or proving action… as long as needed;
  • What supports our knowledge and competence, as long as needed… if you refer to it regularly. The old class books will have lost much of their value after ten years;
  • What has sentimental value to you: photos and films, disks and music, etc. as long as you like.
    who isn’t sad to not being able to find back his/her childhood photos, or these of their wedding, or the film with their baby’s first steps and smiles? Their value may grow with time for those who are interested in genealogy or to allowing the grown up kids to remembering.
    Because without memory and without history, no one exists.”

File and sort

If you want to find back what you have kept, you need an inventory with an indication of the place where you’ve put it. This inventory has to be updated otherwise it’s worthless.

Do I need to repeat that it is also useful to determine the value of the information (= classify) to allowing to adequately protecting it.

Sorting is needed to avoid giving the same level of protection (frequently maximal) to all and anything. Such as certain food that must be kept in the deep freezer without breaking the cold chain, others in the fridge and others at room temperature.

I don’t say it’s wrong to keep things. I think we should sort and throw away what won’t be used anymore. It’s not necessary to organize a garage sale! If information (a book, a magazine, etc.) has had signification and value to you, it isn’t perhaps for others. But you can try to exchange some old books against a few cents.

Throw away

The remaining is superfluous. You should throw it away without hesitation… but not anyhow. It’s not because a document or a photo has no more value for you that it is worthless for others who would like to harm you.

Classification will help you to determining what goes to the normal basket and what must in the shredder.

In one word, Big Data isn’t for everyone!


Have you already encountered difficulties to keep, sort out or throw away old papers? How did you solve this question?

See you soon, more secure with your information


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