The Problem with Business Data Storage

Businesses are increasingly dependent on information, and that information has to be stored somewhere. Archiving and retrieving data is a critical business function, since every user depends on storage to get their work done – even if they rarely think about the consequences if the storage were to fail.

Cloud computing has changed the way we access and store data. While data was once stored locally or on a networked server, it could now be stored

thousands of miles away. Users also need to collaborate and use data collectively, in real time and without boundaries of any sort.

The changing face of data usage makes storage a real challenge in business. How can it make its information accessible yet secure? How can a business change its culture so that data, long stored on local hard drives, is stored in the cloud instead? And how likely is it that data could be lost in this scenario?

The Common Denominator

No matter how data fragmentation occurs, the end result is always an increase in cost. There are various factors that cause costs to rise as a result of poor data management:

Wasted storage capacity, resulting in over-purchasing
Increased demand for backup
Complexity of managing and finding data
Time needed to recover data when it is accidentally lost
Time needed to recreate files deleted without backup
Risk of loss or theft when data is inappropriately stored

The Cloud Solution

Businesses are using cloud storage as a solution to this problem. The cloud provides single consolidated storage options without the risk of accidental deletion. In addition, storage is more affordable, since there is a built in economy of scale.

server farm

When storage is made more convenient, users are more likely to stick to policies around best practice. This can have a massive impact on security, productivity and compliance, and all of this improves the business’ bottom line.

Specific Solutions

Once your business has decided to make a move to the cloud, it’s important to come up with a strategy. If employees are using a mixture of cloud providers (Dropbox, Google Drive and so on), there is clearly still fragmentation. In fact, this could be less desirable than the situation pre-cloud, since the business has no control over the data.

By standardizing cloud storage, the business has better control over data. Mimecast is one vendor that offers very useful solutions such as auditing, so every single change can be tracked back to a single user. When a solution like this is deployed with a robust and well-defined policy, data can be managed in a more safe and efficient way.

Moving Cloudwards

Any transition of data has the potential to introduce downtime, but it need not be a deal breaker for a busy enterprise. It’s relatively simple to ensure one process owner can facilitate a successful move to the cloud using the following checkpoints:

What kind of data is stored?

  • Which segments need to be backed up most often?
  • Which segments need to be accessed most frequently?
  • How do staff prefer to access data?
  • Is email being misused?
  • Are users coming up with creative ways to use third party services at work?

By understanding the answers to these questions, the business is in a better position to move confidently towards the cloud. The result is a data management strategy that is effective, safe and efficient.

Photos: Intel Free Press and Giacomo Bartalesi




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