A method is provided in one example and includes receiving first sets of metadata elements representing an inventory of objects in a data storage location of a network environment and presenting an inventory view of the objects to a user. The inventory view includes a first summary of the inventory objects. The method further includes receiving a request from the user to manipulate the inventory view based on a first selected dimension group and presenting to the user a manipulated inventory view that includes a second summary of a first subset of the inventory objects. In more specific embodiments, the method includes receiving a request from the user to perform a protection task on objects of the first subset and initiating the protection task. The protection task includes one of applying a remediation policy to the objects of the first subset and registering the objects of the first subset.