Whether you're looking for insight into the macro environment and current landscape for your business. Or looking internally at the microenvironment, your business relies on data to take the guesswork out of strategic decisions.

Over time, however, your data sets can degrade and if not stored and managed properly, become outdated and overcrowded. You wouldn’t look at a Gartner industry report from 2015 to make decisions about your business in 2020 so why treat internal data differently?

If you’re using data it needs to be clean and trusted, it needs to have data integrity.

A daunting prospect

It can be hard to come to a decision about what data you can keep and what data you’re happy to throw away. But to keep your data sets relevant, regular cleansing must be carried out.

Failure to do so can cause your businesses to hold onto mass amounts of data stored in legacy systems.

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Prepare for the worst

Unsurprisingly human error is one of the most common causes of data errors. Typical human errors include entering information incorrectly, duplicating or deleting data by mistake.

As well as human factors, data integrity is subject to transfer errors, bugs, viruses and compromised hardware. Even if you mitigate all these factors, typically your data integrity will naturally worsen over time as people move, create new emails and get new phone numbers.

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The point is a multitude of factors can affect the integrity of your data and likelihood is you’re going to run into these issues at some point. Leaving data errors to be fixed at a later date allows your data to accumulate in large quantities and cleansing can shift, from being just a few small chores done regularly to becoming a huge task requiring dedicated time and resources to fix.

Mitigate human data errors: Prevention through training

So, with planning and scheduling reviews you can help mitigate the effects of errors when they occur. However, with effective training of your staff, you can actually lower the rates of these human errors occurring altogether.

Training your staff requires a consistent approach, manual data entry still has a prominent role in the world of data management. So, taking the time to regularly sharpen your team’s skills and remind them of the checks and balances in place is vital to minimise human errors.

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Ensure there is an ‘active’ training process in place, ever-evolving to keep up with changes in how your brand and industry operates.

Back up to secure your data integrity

The simplest solution to safeguard your data integrity is to keep a clean copy of your data sets. Back up your data by running it through a checksum, a process for detecting errors within data sets.

Encrypting said data and running it through a checksum again. These are the necessary steps required to keep your data in a state of validity for future reference.

The more backups you have the more secure that data is, as long as access is restricted. Backup media files do sometimes fail or get corrupted so prepare for these situations.

Data cleansing and maintenance

Proper data cleansing and maintenance methods should detect, eliminateand correct all errors/ inconsistencies there may be within your data sets. It should also be a continuous process; which companies can struggle with as this requires having a dedicated team resource to help carry out these processes.

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It can often be beneficial to seek outsourcing for data management and administration. The alternative is hiring an in-house team of experts who have the time and experience to dedicate to your data sets.

If you’ve been weighing up the pros and cons of outsourcing data management check out our recent blog “Why you should be outsourcing your data management”.

If you’re interested in keeping the integrity of your data intact then take a look at our Data Services and see if our dedicated team of experts could help you do more with your data.

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With our Data Capture app and Data services team on offer we provide all the tools necessary to unlock the value in your customer data

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