UK companies are less willing than their US counterparts to seek out and embrace new techniques for managing archived data over the long term, according to new statistics from the second annual BridgeHead Software information lifecycle management (ILM) audit.

Striking national differences are apparent in responses to the value of maintaining long-term archived data.

Sixty two percent of US respondents rate preserving archived data for the long-term on multiple media types such as disk, tape and optical technologies as important or very important, while only 41% of UK respondents feel the same way.

UK apathy also registers at the other end of the scale where 20% of UK respondents said they “don't know” (compared to 6% in the US) and 16% said it is “unimportant” (compared with 11% in the US).

And, when asked about the prospect of being able to keep multiple copies of long-term archived data in multiple locations, US respondents are, again, significantly more open than their UK counterparts: just 51% of UK respondents say this would be 'important' or 'very important' compared to 69% of US respondents.

Responses from both countries provide a near-identical pattern of data retention requirements: 9% of respondents identify that some of their archive data will need to be retained for in excess of 30 years, with a total of a third of UK respondents (and 37% in the USA) saying in excess of ten years. Twenty seven per cent of UK respondents and 31% of US respondents, say the longest that any data in their organisation needs to be retained is four years or less.

Tony Cotterill, BridgeHead chief executive said: "Despite the length of time they know they need to keep data and also despite the fact that well over half of respondents cite regulatory compliance as a driver for archiving, many respondents give the impression that they feel the job is done once data is simply migrated off primary storage. But this is clearly not the case."

He cited growing compliance pressures in urging UK companies to look again at policies for retaining data. He advised companies to potentially copy data to multiple media types and locations; ensure archived data is secure and can be authenticated; and look at data retention and destruction services.