For today’s organizations, having a strong data management policy in place is no longer a luxury. Management of data storage is more important than ever, mainly because the ability to extract actionable knowledge from data is also a key differentiator for success in business. A data storage strategy not only describes how a business manages its data but also how it uses the information.
14 Facts You Should Know About Data Storage Management
1. Understand the needs of the data
Data management is anything but a “one size fits all” plan. In terms of data storage and availability, each company faces specific challenges. Any strategy to incorporate a robust data management program has to take into account these needs. Organizations need to have a good understanding of the market interest that their data serves and to understand how storage technologies can be leveraged to optimize this interest.
2. Don’t skip out unstructured data
Today’s businesses collect large quantities of data from a wide variety of sources but remain unstructured about 80 percent of it. While structured data is organized into clearly specified formats that are easy to read, scan, and understand, unstructured data has no fixed format and can come in any size, shape, or type. This makes it difficult to handle and evaluate big data storage. Unfortunately, unstructured data, too, is a treasure trove of potentially valuable knowledge that can provide invaluable insights into major business decisions. Sophisticated algorithms are required to sort this data, so it must be stored in easily accessible and protected ways.
3. Understand the compliance requirements
The process of gathering and processing data also carries with it a number of legal responsibilities. Although those requirements vary from industry to industry, most companies need to be aware of very strict standards of enforcement that shield them from liability and ensure the quality of the data they collect. Failure to take account of compliance requirements can result in data breaches that endanger customers and cause irreversible damage to the credibility and profitability of a company.
4. Establish a policy on data retention
One part of the equation is actually getting a data storage solution in place. Organizations will need to establish a clearly defined data policy dealing with the human dimension of data storage. What data would it take to back up? Where do you store mission-critical data? Who is entitled to alter or transfer data? Who will be able to access those data types, and when? There are all important things that companies need to figure out to ensure that their data management system works the way it was meant to work.
5. Think in the longer term
Successful organizations have also a look to the future. For enterprise data storage this is extremely important because running a data system will carry considerable ongoing costs. In certain situations, organizations rely too much on the operating costs of implementing a data management solution. However, such cost of the data strategy reflects just a small portion of the overall cost of ownership. They will need to think about how they might scale their storage needs in the future and what degree of flexibility they may need as the company expands.
6. Take a multi-tiered approach
The days of all the data being stored at a single location are long gone. Today’s companies have a wide variety of choices when it comes to data management and they should take advantage of each one’s specific characteristics. For performance optimization, a multi-tier approach that uses different storage technologies is important. For example, frequently used data can be stored on faster, more easily accessible devices such as solid-state drives (SSDs), whereas backup data can be stored on more reliable devices such as tape drives which lack the same level of functionality. The matching of enterprise data storage technologies to business needs will significantly improve productivity and ensure that businesses will optimize their data value.
7. Understand the options in the cloud
In the last decade, cloud-based computing technology has come a long way. Although sensitive data stored in a cloud environment may have caused some companies to pause in years past, many cloud providers today provide storage solutions that are much more reliable and scalable than on-premise solutions. Whether it’s a public cloud environment or a custom private cloud, companies will closely examine their cloud choices before committing to running their own hardware for storage.
8. Keep your data secure
Since storage technology has massively increased the capacity to store big data, many businesses have become less careful in how they store data. Often there is a tendency to save anything with the intent to figure it out later on. Unfortunately, typically never comes later, resulting in data storage being cluttered with redundant or incomplete data taking up precious space and potentially impairing performance. A strong data management strategy views storage space as a precious and scarce asset, inspecting redundant files carefully and duplicating files so as to keep existing data as clean as possible.
However small a single data breach can bring down a whole company. That’s why organizations, under any conditions, can not afford to take data security lightly. In addition to meeting consumer data security requirements, they do need to understand how confidential information might be compromised or robbed. This is particularly important for organizations having to transmit data within a network between different locations. When introducing security measures, every step of that phase has to be taken into consideration.
10. Evaluate the need for backup
Getting a strong program in place for disaster recovery is no longer a luxury. Without a strategy to back up data and ensure the availability of data in the event of incidents such as a natural disaster or DDoS cyberattack, organizations may be placing themselves at substantial financial risk. Just a few moments of downtime can be incredibly detrimental, and one of the first steps in implementing a robust data protection system would be to recognize critical data that must be backed up at all costs.
The backup rule 3-2-1 is an easy-to-remember acronym for a common approach to keeping data secure in nearly any scenario of failure. The rule is: hold at least three (3) copies of your files and store two (2) backup copies on various storage media, with one (1) offsite.
11. Stay tuned to technology changes
The storage technology is advancing at a rapid pace. From enhancing SSD performance to cutting edge technologies such as 5d memory crystals, it can be hard to remain on top of the new data storage developments. Knowing, however, when to move a data strategy away from obsolete hardware and invest in newer storage technologies is necessary to strike a balance between operational costs and performance. To ensure that the company invests in equipment that best suits its current and future needs, a successful data storage strategy needs to keep up with the latest storage trends.
12. Carefully test your Storage Vendors
Most organizations, to handle their big data storage systems, switch to third party vendors. Although this can free up quite a few resources and allow IT professionals to concentrate on other needs, these vendors need to be scrutinized carefully before any data is passed on. Most levels of compliance hold companies not only responsible for their own policies but also those of their vendors. As part of this screening phase, compliance reports will always be requested to ensure vendors conform to the relevant data management requirements.
13. Keep up visibility
The actual data storage process is just one aspect of a successful data strategy. Organizations do need to be able to efficiently track and access the data when they need it to be successful in the program. They need to know where the data is stored and where it is being transported by different applications while in use. This visibility is a critical part of holding data protection and redundancy in place.
14. Capacity Manage periodically
The data storage needs can change rapidly, especially when an enterprise is introducing new technologies or extending its existing services. For example, rolling out virtual reality applications or Internet of Things (IoT) services may lead to a huge rise in data demands. Storage capacity should be measured on a regular basis to ensure that it meets the current and future needs of the company. This is especially important for a growing business that is constantly developing services that allow more data to be collected and analyzed.
So what’s the best way to electronically store the data?
There are a few different ways an organization can incorporate digital data storage. You will either set up servers in-house (hardware storage) or employ a service provider (cloud storage). Cloud and hardware storage also hold server records. The main difference is whether the servers are on the premises or with a different organization.
Organizations maintain full control over the servers where they store data for in-house hardware storage. This allows them to monitor privacy and access, but it also means that they are responsible for maintaining servers, updating and expanding as required, and ensuring that data remains secure. Both of those activities will increase the IT department’s workload. And if those servers get damaged, data may be lost if it is not backed up in a second storage center (see point 10 above).
Things are also more versatile, with cloud storage. Organizations give up some control of how their data is stored, but they are not going to have to maintain the servers and can update their storage plan without any hassle at any time. And as long as they have the right passwords they will be able to access the data and operate from any place. The greatest problem is data protection, but reliable service providers usually have the experience to keep data secure.
Managing a plan for data management is a vital task for every organization. Luckily they have a range of data storage options available. By defining their particular requirements and recognizing the latest storage technologies, businesses can develop and implement data management systems that will suit their unique business requirements and give them the versatility they need to adapt in the future.