Data plays an integral role in how Australian companies make decisions, develop their services, and communicate with customers. With massive volumes of data being processed at a breakneck pace, your company must have a solid data storage system.
However, implementing a platform that can accommodate your company’s current and future data needs can be tricky. We’ve compiled tips in finding the proper storage solutions and practical advice on data management every business needs to know.
1. Assess your company’s storage needs
When selecting a storage solution, you must understand your critical workloads and their specific capacity, performance, and accessibility requirements. If you want to use artificial intelligence to analyse big data, optimise your storage systems to support workload capacity requirements. In this case, you’ll need easily scalable storage capacity to house growing data sets and storage systems that maximise performance, such as solid-state drives.
Data storage requirements may also depend on your organisation’s type of data and how and where data is used. Susceptible medical and financial records may make more sense in closely-guarded private servers. However, if your company needs to share project files with a mobile workforce, public cloud storage solutions like OneDrive for Business may make more sense.
Additionally, your applications can determine the essential architecture of your storage system. Some proprietary software may need to be hosted in on-premises servers, so they’re easy to access and manage. Meanwhile, video editing tools may require more storage space and bandwidth because they generate and process massive files.
2. Vet your storage provider
If your organisation relies on third-party storage providers, vet them thoroughly before handing in any data. Are they taking extra precautions to protect client data? Do they regularly back up information? Do they disclose who has access to your data? Can their storage systems flexibly scale with your capacity requirements? If the answers to all these questions are a resounding ‘yes,’ then the storage provider should be on your shortlist.
More importantly, storage providers should have written service level agreements that detail the data security, uptime, and support guarantees you can expect from their solution. They should also outline the penalties for failing to meet these agreements, like money-back guarantees and free support services.
3. Consider multiformat backup options
Data backup features are vital when selecting a storage solution for your company. Without backups, there’s little chance your company can survive ransomware attacks, critical system failures, and natural disasters that result in massive data loss.
Today’s backup solutions include external hard drives, tape drives, virtual server backup, local servers, off-site backup centres, and cloud backups. While keeping a copy of your data in local servers may seem like the easiest option, it’s not enough to have one set of backups. Local backup servers may be an excellent countermeasure for hard drive failures, but they’re useless if physical disasters like fires or floods occur on site.
A better solution is to implement a multiformat backup strategy to protect you from various data loss incidents. The golden rule here is to have at least three copies of your data, on two different storage media, with one copy stored off-site. If one set of backups fails, you still have access to other backups.
With Barracuda Backup, you can quickly deploy multiformat backup strategies. Back up data in physical servers of your choice, different cloud environments, and even as a virtual machine snapshot of your server. Barracuda Backup lets you manage backups through a centralised cloud-based console, including backup schedules and recovery procedures.
4. Prioritise data security
Storage infrastructure must be fully protected from data breaches wherever you decide to store your data. Ensure that your storage systems’ networks should be protected with firewalls, threat prevention systems, and anti-malware software. Moreover, it must also have advanced encryption to protect data privacy and integrity. Top managed IT services providers (MSPs) like Empower IT can offer these protections and even monitor the servers where your data resides to prevent security incidents proactively.
What’s more, you need to ensure employees have access only to the data necessary for them to do their job. Fortunately, many of the best storage platforms allow you to set access restrictions based on user roles, devices, and locations. This gives you granular control over who can access or edit specific files, minimising the risk of data leaks and tampering.
5. Use predictive analytics to simplify data storage management
Predictive analytics uses machine learning technologies to forecast future outcomes based on historical data and automate processes. Predictive analytics can observe data trends and anticipate performance, capacity, availability, and security problems when applied to data storage.
For instance, predictive analytics evaluates your storage infrastructure’s security strength to determine when and where attacks may occur. If there are unpatched vulnerabilities in your infrastructure, automation features will proactively update software to protect your data from the latest threats. Predictive analytics even studies how data flow detects and prevent activities indicative of a breach, like large file transfers or unauthorised attempts to access classified documents.
Another benefit of predictive analytics has to do with resource management. Systems augmented with predictive analytics can monitor the storage consumption of users, devices, and applications to identify capacity and bandwidth requirements. System administrators can then use these insights to better allocate storage resources to those who need them, automatically remove duplicate files, and maximise the company’s storage budget.
Data storage is a reasonably complex field that requires the right technical expertise on standby. This is where Empower IT comes in. As one of Australia’s leading MSPs, we can help you navigate the complex world of data storage. Whether you need support with implementation, data management, or backups, Empower IT can handle the technical aspects for you so you can focus on your business. Call us today.