As a company becomes more productive and more effective in meeting customer needs, they often experience a related problem: What to do with the increasing amount of data they create. Fortunately, as businesses have evolved and their important data has evolved, so has data storage. Managers now have access to various types of cost-effective storage options to meet a wide range of needs.
Storing necessary files used to be bulky, inefficient, and expensive. The data being stored was not nearly as complex as it is today, and switching storage types was time-consuming and risky. Even accessing those stored files when you needed them could also prove challenging.
Today, any business should be able to find a storage solution that meets their specific needs. But to do that efficiently, it’s important to know what those needs are. Are they mostly storing documents, or images, or large amounts of high-definition video? Are they storing basic business data, or tracking hundreds of thousands of items and barcodes? Will a small group of employees handle the information, or will vendors and contractors need access as well? Will users be in one general part of the country, or does it need multiple access points in different cities around the world?
No one solution exists that works in every situation. The needs of the business will determine which data storage option fits best. Fortunately, there are several options to consider.
Types of Data Storage
Direct Access Storage (DAS) covers most commonly-used storage options that work directly with a computer. Common types would be a standard internal hard drive or solid-state drive, an external hard drive that attaches to the computer, CD/DVD drives that accept physical storage, and flash drives that are small, portable, and also attach to the computer.
In each case, they are used directly with a machine and are generally cost-effective storage options, but the nature of the connection makes it harder to share the data across several computers or teams, especially in different locations. A business that needs only one access point to the information could find DAS options to be the simplest way to manage their data storage.
Network Attached Storage (NAS) uses a network connection to let multiple individuals or teams access data from various locations. By connecting multiple DAS storage options, the data is accessible by more people (and different individuals can be granted different levels of access) but is still maintained in physical locations. NAS solutions are also more expensive than individual DAS solutions.
Cloud storage removes the need for physical storage solutions and allows unlimited access from anywhere a business chooses to operate with a stable internet connection. While cloud storage is reliable and easy to access, it also requires a security strategy to prevent unwanted access.
Each type of storage has different configurations as technology keeps pace with our need to store different types of data. The most-advanced solutions have state-of-the-art failure contingencies, larger capacities and smaller physical footprints. Storage technology is constantly finding ways to store more data and speeding up access while improving security and reliability.
While business benefits from the advancements, premium options and services drive up cost. As a result, companies will have to manage their budgets as efficiently as they manage their storage. The key to good data management is to implement features the company needs without paying for options that are nice to have but ultimately unnecessary for that size and type of business.
Backup the Backups
Whatever storage options a business chooses, many experts suggest using the rule of three: In addition to your primary data storage, keep two extra backups of your most important files, with at least one of those backups offsite. While it might seem redundant, each extra copy is an insurance policy against disaster. In a worst-case scenario, you’ll still have your most critical data, even if it will take time to make it accessible to everyone again.
Asking The Right Questions
To know which data storage solution is right for your business, it’s important to ask the right questions. A few have been covered above: What type of data will be stored, who will be accessing the data and where are they located? But that’s not an exhaustive list. But many other factors go into finding the right data storage solution for a company. An effective solution must be flexible, dependable, and adaptable to changing needs and circumstances. And while some of the variables are well known, others are less predictable. Not choosing the correct solution can be time-consuming, expensive, and inefficient. A business shouldn’t adapt to its data storage solution. The solution needs to adapt to the business.
One of the main advantages of working with Imperium Data Networks is the experience that goes along with technical knowledge. Asking the right questions, predicting potential obstacles, and highlighting productivity-enhancing features are just a few ways that we can help find the right storage solution for companies, both as they operate today, and how they’ll evolve and grow tomorrow. Our Contact Us page is the first step in finding the right data storage answers for your unique business situation.