Businesses generate an enormous amount of data. As a result, it is crucial to identify the best data storage options for your organization.
Companies should never underestimate the necessity of secure, accessible data storage. This is especially the case in the travel industry, where the volume of data has increased exponentially over the last decade. As such, the right storage options are crucial to sustainable growth. However, difficult questions arise when it comes to capacity. Companies need to avoid acquiring too much storage space, yet ensure that their selected system is as future-proof as possible. Furthermore, security is a vital concern, as company information is a valuable commodity. Here, we discuss how to assess the data storage needs of your organization.
Why data storage is so important
There are several reasons why data storage is a critical business resource. For instance, it is essential that company data is backed up, as system failures or viruses could easily wipe out vast swathes of critical data. Furthermore, a company does not only need to think about the digital security of their data; they also need to consider the physical safety of their data storage solutions. For example, a fire or flooding could seriously damage hardware. Therefore, it is essential that companies have a sound backup strategy in place to account for all possible scenarios.
Moreover, as businesses grow, they need to ensure their data storage solution is scalable. Often, larger businesses will require more sophisticated storage facilities, especially if employees need access to large amounts of information offsite. In addition, there also may be a legal requirement to store historic information as part of data retention policy. Further to this, there is also the simple requirement of upgraded softwares placing greater demand on your data architecture. All of these points, plus data security, demonstrate the importance of choosing the right data options.
Unpacking storage options
Theoretically, storage infrastructure management is simple. IT professionals use a combination of tools and protocols to ensure the timely delivery of data to end users, applications, servers and other IT systems. Experts construct these apparatus in accordance with an organization’s objectives and policies, and government legislation. That said, there is no single solution when it comes to corporate data storage. Therefore, it is important that management and IT carefully assess their storage options. The necessity of various types of information should be taken into account, as well as creating a robust data retention policy. Other factors include disaster management outlines and data distribution solutions.
However, the positive side of the situation is that there is a wide variety of data storage options available for organizations of every scale. These include inexpensive, small solutions like individual external hard drives, to extensive cloud storage platforms. Often, third party storage providers are a safe and reliable option for large enterprises. For instance, cloud storage solutions mitigate the threat of data loss from physical threats. In order to properly manage the research process, it is essential that IT professionals keep the following 3 points in mind.
Simply put, an organization's storage systems must have the space to accommodate the amount of data generated. One obvious motive is to avoid running out of disk space. Despite this, frugal IT professionals are also keen to avoid the over-provision of data storage. Not only does excess storage require a larger investment upfront, but also requires costly maintenance. However, this does not necessarily mean that companies need to spend a fortune on new servers or extensive physical infrastructures. Often, cloud storage providers can provide extremely cost effective offsite solutions.
Trapped data are no good to anyone. After all, information is only valuable if it is accessible. Large organizations require reliable and resilient storage architecture to ensure that data are available when they are needed. Once again, cloud storage is a good solution to common data availability challenges. With a cloud storage system, employees can access data anywhere, at any time. For instance, executives would be able to access company information from the comfort of their homes or whilst traveling. However, these capabilities are the major reason why enterprise–scale storage systems have premium price tags.
System speed is another important factor. Although single users can tolerate a delay of second or two while they obtain a file from shared storage, high-volume transaction systems usually cannot afford to be kept waiting. Once again, cloud storage presents a solution to this problem. With cloud storage systems, companies no longer have to wait for multiple devices to sync across platforms. As soon as a file is uploaded, employees can access it wherever they are.
Why is everyone so clueless about large-scale data storage?
Alex Wallner, senior Vice President and General Manager EMEA at NetApp, recently said that most of their clients have no idea what their storage requirements will be in 3 years’ time. But this is fair enough – as physicist Niels Bohr once remarked, “prediction is very difficult, especially about the future.” Now, almost every business event generates data, both internally and externally. For instance, as online sales supersede physical transactions, more and more data generates. To give a further example, automation – whether it replaces human employees or augments them – produces vast swathes of data.
Processes must be analyzed, performance tracked, and every detail monitored to ensure automation improves efficiency. Then consider IoT sensor data: even modest IoT networks are capable of generating high volumes of bits. Consequently, businesses must store all of this data. To make matters even more complex, storage costs are not immutable. Furthermore, storage systems are not getting larger or cheaper at the rate technology is advancing.
No one can predict the future – but you can develop a strategy
For most organizations, the future of their data is ultimately undefined. How they manage their data is impacted by a number of external variables, many of which are difficult to predict. Moreover, how their data grows will also depend on many external, uncontrolled factors, which are often impossible for the IT team to predict. For instance, the Internet of Things has seen daily data generation increase exponentially. However, companies can develop a strategy. With enough analysis, planning and investment, companies can create scalable data storage solutions that grow with the business.