Preventing the zombie data-pocalypse


Since tomorrow is How-long-has-it-been-since-you-used-this-data-ween, it’s time to review your organization’s preparedness for preventing the zombie data-pocalypse.

(Please Note: This should not be confused with your organization’s preparedness for preventing the zombie apocalypse, for which check out the resources provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention by ever-so-carefully clicking on the image to the right.)

The living dead data

In the event you are behind the data zombie curve, let me catch you up. The data zombie virus was created in 1968 by rogue computer programmer George Romero, who uploaded it during the early days of the internet, infecting most of the world’s computers. Once a computer was infected by the data zombie virus, deleted data undeleted itself and went on a RAM-page, randomly biting every byte of accessible data, eerily repeating the sequence 01000100 01100001 01110100 01100001 00100001 (“Data!” in binary) across the screen.

Over the decades, many attempts have been made to completely eradicate the data zombie virus, but none have proven successful. Nowadays, the mobile web and the wireless networks that enable it have been easier than ever for the living dead data to type among us — which is why we must be prepared and remain vigilant.

The rules

Inspired by Zombieland, here are 10 rules to live by for preventing the zombie data-pocalypse:

  1. Delete twice — Data zombies are notoriously difficult to get rid of, so always double tap that delete key.
  2. When in doubt, delete again — You can never be too careful.
  3. Beware of USB drives — Data zombies love hiding on USB drives, especially those free ones they give out at data management conferences.
  4. Defy wi-fi connections — Data zombie hotspots are everywhere.
  5. Enjoy the little things
  6. Hygiene — Clean your keyboard, monitor and mobile devices with disinfectant spray. Wash your hands with anti-zombie-viral soap before and after touching any data.
  7. The buddy system — Data zombies don’t have buddies. Data quality doesn’t have zombies. That’s because data and quality are buddies.
  8. Laugh — All laughter is good medicine. Maniacal laughter is the best medicine.
  9. Get some kick-ass data stewards — They are the often under-appreciated heroes that really know how to brew high-quality data. So, get some kick-ass data stewards to protect your organization’s data.
  10. Time to Stewie Up — By November 4, nominate a data steward to be the 2013 Data Steward of the Year and recipient of the prestigious data-zombie-slaying award known as the Stewie.

About Author

Jim Harris

Blogger-in-Chief at Obsessive-Compulsive Data Quality (OCDQ)

Jim Harris is a recognized data quality thought leader with 25 years of enterprise data management industry experience. Jim is an independent consultant, speaker, and freelance writer. Jim is the Blogger-in-Chief at Obsessive-Compulsive Data Quality, an independent blog offering a vendor-neutral perspective on data quality and its related disciplines, including data governance, master data management, and business intelligence.

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