There are many benefits to data deduplication, although the benefit most keenly felt by businesses is the improvement of return on investment. 

deduplicationBusinesses have a problem with data quality, getting useful and trustworthy data. Data duplication makes this issue particularly clear with stark financial consequences.

For example, the Marriott hotel chain experienced a data breach in 2018, compounded with data duplications among 500 million records. After three months of deduplication and removing insecure data, the hotels could still not guarantee uniqueness among the remaining 383 million records.

The Marriott violated the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) provision by failing to timely delete customer information, Article 25. The UK fined The Marriott 100 million pounds. Consider if the cloud contained most of this customer information, then the hotel chain paid its cloud provider costs in storing redundant data, a terrible waste of resources.

You need to understand data deduplication and its benefits to grow your data capabilities to your data cleansing strategy and save business costs. Read on further to learn more.

What Is Data Deduplication?

Data deduplication ensures only one data copy exists, reducing multiple instances of the same information in a file. Think of data deduplication as a type of file compression to keep only needed data.

Every time you open a spreadsheet with multiple rows with the same customer information, you have duplicated data that can quickly lead to conflicts and confusion. To see this, search the spreadsheet below for all of Ashley’s transactions.

excel extract

Note that Ashley’s information does not stop at row four but appears throughout the spreadsheet. What if Ashley’s records need a new client code? Then all eight rows require edits, a time-consuming and error-prone process.

By implementing data deduplication as part of a data cleansing strategy, you remove redundant data. Now you only have one place to edit, simplifying a lengthy and mundane manual process.

Data Deduplication benefits

Data deduplication benefits span beyond improving data quality and ability to maintain a database. Normalizing customer data saves storage space, from 30% to 95%.

Economically adding and using storage space makes sense as many companies use one or more cloud providers. Scale up your data without a plan, and increase your cloud storage costs, hurting the bottom line. Implementing data deduplication as part of a data cleansing plan saves you from these unintended expenses.

Moreover, Data deduplication benefits regulatory compliance. Keeping customer information provides the business opportunity, but failure to delete this data when required violates regulations like the GDPR and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA). Deduplication makes complying with deletion provisions easier, as you do not need to spend extra time searching for copied information.

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Are There Any Disadvantages To Deduplication?

Before rushing out to deduplicate all your data, you need to consider the data duplication disadvantages. Too much deduplication slows database processing speeds and can lead to errors due to data integrity issues.

computer world
Image Credit: Computer World

Data deduplication slices and dices the unique information. For example, “Ashley” and “Kov-2007,” above, would make one object. Each data object contains a unique hashtag to verify its integrity. Deduplication collects all these hashtags in a table, functioning as an index.

Example Of Data Deduplication

So, say you want to find all of Ashley’s transactions in the spreadsheet above. The computer program compares each hashtag, in the index, with each other data found to put together the information about Ashley.

The bigger the hashtag index, the more calculations software does relate one data object to another. This intensive computer processing, from deduplication, makes the computer search slower.

Furthermore, if data needs to remain duplicated, you can’t readily put it back after the deduplication process. For example, say Ashley has two different transactions (4749-8 and 9406-1) with an amount of $30,388, and you deduplicated the amount.

How will the data deduplication software know whether the 30,388 points to the 4749-8 transaction or the 9406-1 transaction? The deduplicated data loses integrity.

To mitigate the data duplication disadvantages, you need to have a data cleansing strategy. Know the trade-offs between scaling up data space and scaling up storage.

What Are Some Deduplication Examples?

Despite some deduplication drawbacks, this data cleansing process does make a big difference saving time and money. Duplicate addresses and names can cause problems, and data deduplication helps.

Check out the case studies below:

  • Data Deduplication Provided Dramatic Time Saving:

MGT Consulting, a public sector consulting firm, needed to get one single source from multiple disparate sources. The company needed a fast, effective solution and turned to WinPure software.

Andres Bernal, Manager at MGT, found that deduplication work reduced from1-2 weeks a month to 15 minutes a month. Andres found the WinPure Clean and Match Enterprise met MGT’s needs for a powerful, flexible, and easy to use data deduplication tool.


  • Address Matching Across Datasets Saved Time & Money:

Apex Innovation, a firm providing online education tools to healthcare teams, needed to match addresses from two data sources accurately.

After trying several solutions, the company chose WinPure Clean & Match. Caroline Chong, product manager, liked how the easy-to-use software identified less apparent duplications. Also, Apex Innovations appreciated WinPure’s customer responsiveness to its queries.


  • Top Performance for WinPure’s Clean & Match Tool:

The Birmingham Hippodrome, one of the largest UK touring venues, got mired in marketing its ticket sales. Data duplications made it difficult for the Birmingham Hippodrome to match its records from other agencies that make ticket sales.

entertainment case study data deduplication

WinPure Clean & Match improved Birmingham Hippodrome’s bulk mailings by removing data duplications. As a result, the touring agency reduced marketing costs and ensured fewer returns.


Final Words

Duplicate data not only inconveniences companies, but it also means lost business profits to fines and unnecessary storage costs on the cloud. Data duplication benefits include impriving data quality, reduction in cloud storage costs, and it makes it easier to comply with data regulations in less time.

Some drawbacks to data deduplication involve slower performance and a lack of integrity. So, having a good data cleansing strategy remains critical. In this planning, you need to consider how you want your data to be scalable and the performance time to reconstruct the data objects.

Clarifying how you want to use the data and identifying data sources makes data deduplication software better to suit your business needs.

Written by Michelle Knight

Michelle Knight has a background in software testing, a Master's in Library and Information Science from Simmons College, and an Association for Information Science and Technology (ASIST) award. At WinPure, she works as our Product Marketing Specialist and has a knack for explaining complicated data management topics to business people.

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