The amount of data businesses need to store is growing exponentially, and some are struggling to keep up. In this article, we talk about the ways to stay ahead of it.
Most companies have already embraced the benefits of going from paper to digital. It has allowed them to do more than ever before; saving them both time and money iterating over work drafts and emails. It has saved us a ton of physical space too, eliminating the need for stacks of file cabinets in every office for dedicated storage rooms.
The digital boom presents us with brand new problems too. By moving all our files into a digital space, the amount of storage we need to maintain has grown larger and larger just to keep up.
As digital technology has improved, the resolution, clarity, and size of the digital files we create has exploded. Items such as Xrays, which used to be printed on film are now digital files transferred by computer. As a result of the increase in both the number of digital files we use and their ever-growing size, the size of the data we need to store has exploded exponentially.
There are a number of ways in which we can tackle our ever-growing storage problem.
Local server or Network Attached Storage (NAS)
A local server is a machine physically located within your own office or building. These are typically designed to serve many files to multiple clients at one time from locally held storage.
The primary advantage that a local network server has is that all your vital data is available to all users in one central location. This means that employees across the network can access all the resources made available.
These machines can serve files at the speed of the local network, transferring large projects, files, and documents from a central position within the network with ease.
A NAS has many of the same network properties, typically packaged as a smaller profile, low powered computer. A NAS is specifically designed to enable network file sharing in a more compact package. These can be available in units small enough to fit in a cupboard nook and yet still provide staggering storage capacity on only a small amount of power.
Both a local server and NAS device allow for large amounts of storage space to be added to the local network. These units are often expanded with more and more storage over time. As an organization grows over time, so do its data storage requirements.
The downside of local equipment is the need for a knowledgeable engineer that can setup, maintain and support the equipment. Also, if the equipment fails, your company production could grind to a halt until the equipment is fixed or replaced, which normally takes from a couple days and sometimes as long as weeks.
Sometimes the best option for storage is to move your ever-expanding data outside of the business completely to a hosted solution or the cloud. Often, offloading the costs of hardware and IT management can work out to be an intelligent business decision. One that provides freedom and flexibility in your data storage needs. Keep in mind, however, that the value and convenience of the cloud is not always cheaper.
The major advantage of cloud storage comes from the ability to expand and contract your services as needed without the unnecessary overhead of adding and maintaining new hardware.
By moving storage to the cloud, data can be accessed from anywhere in the world. The flexibility provided by cloud storage allows limitless expansion to any number of devices, locations, and offices. Being able to access data from many locations at a single time can often provide a valuables boost to productivity that can help to speed projects along.
Some of the drawbacks of cloud storage come from factors that may be outside of the control of the business. Not all internet connections are found to be up to the task of handling large amounts of data to and from the cloud. In some cases, the infrastructure is quite simply not in place yet to support it.
IT security regulations can prove to be a barrier to enabling storage in the cloud too. Some regulations either prohibit the feature entirely or enable only certain specific types for use. Also, some regulations dictate where the equipment that is hosting your data in the cloud may reside.
The Right Choice for your data
Both cloud and local storage can provide further benefits to enhance your business. Audit logs, central backups, and version control can all be used to secure the way your firm handles data.
Whatever your situation, whether a small NAS can boost your office productivity, a local server can provide the connectivity missing from your firm, or cloud storage can switch on new resources, we can advise on the best choices for your business.
We would be happy to speak to you about your data growth and help get your company setup with the right option that best fits your company and direction. Call at 406-414-0532.