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What Is Information Lifecycle Management?

The world of information technology continually evolves, offering innovative solutions to manage and control data. One such concept that has gained prominence is Information Lifecycle Management (ILM). 

What is Information Lifecycle Management (ILM)?

Information Lifecycle Management, often abbreviated as ILM, represents a process where the management of an organization’s data takes place from its creation to its eventual disposal.

This process involves the handling of data according to its changing value over time, ensuring that data storage, accessibility, and security are optimized. ILM involves the automated movement of critical data to different types of storage media, based on its age, importance, and usefulness.

How Information Lifecycle Management works

Information Lifecycle Management works by categorizing data according to its business value and determining where and how it should be stored. The process involves policies, operations, and mechanisms used to manage data throughout its useful life. ILM ensures that data is migrated through tiers of storage systems and optimized for performance, cost, and other factors.

Phases of Information Lifecycle Management

Creation or reception

This is the initial phase where data is created or received into the business system. It involves the generation of data through various business operations or the receipt of information from external sources.

Use and maintenance

During this phase, the data is actively used in the operations of the business. Regular maintenance is performed to ensure the data remains accurate and relevant.


As the data becomes less frequently accessed, it moves into the archival phase. Here, it is stored long-term until it might be needed again for business purposes.


The final phase of the lifecycle involves the deletion or destruction of data when it is no longer needed. Appropriate measures are taken to ensure the data is destroyed securely.

Benefits of Information Lifecycle Management

  • Cost efficiency

By managing data based on its age and usefulness, organizations can significantly reduce storage costs. Information Lifecycle Management ensures that only high-value, frequently accessed data is kept on expensive, high-performance storage.

  • Regulatory compliance

Information Lifecycle Management aids in meeting regulatory requirements by ensuring that data is properly archived and can be retrieved when needed. It also helps in demonstrating that obsolete data has been securely destroyed.

  • Improved data accessibility

With ILM, data is stored according to its business value, which means that the most valuable and frequently accessed data is readily available, improving business efficiency and decision-making.

  • Risk mitigation

By ensuring the secure destruction of obsolete data, ILM reduces the risk of data breaches and the potential legal and financial implications.

Information Lifecycle Management vs. Data Lifecycle Management: What’s the difference?

While both Information Lifecycle Management and Data Lifecycle Management focus on managing data throughout its lifecycle, they differ in their scope and approach. Information Lifecycle Management is a broader concept, encompassing all aspects of managing data from creation to destruction.

On the other hand, Data Lifecycle Management primarily focuses on the technical aspects of storing, accessing, and preserving data. In essence, while ILM considers the business value of data, DLM looks at the practicalities of how and where to store it.

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