Written by: James Ponds
Unless you’re a tiny startup with no data and no fixed operating costs, it’s almost inevitable that your business will have to store data at some point. In simple terms, this means keeping information somewhere other than in your head and on your own personal computer. There’s so much to consider when looking for the right place for your company’s data. You want to make sure that you're making the most informed decision about where to keep your files and how to access them again in the future. With that in mind, here are some helpful tips on data storage for your business.
Know Where Your Data Lives
You need to know the current state of your data in order to store it properly. This means knowing where each type of data currently lives, how it’s being used, and what the long-term plans are for each file. For example, some of the data might pertain to your company's digital marketing campaign while other data is employee records, so each data set is stored differently. If you’re unsure about the current state of your data, take some time to review your computer systems, servers, and any online services you’re currently using. You should then be able to work more effectively towards your ideal storage system.
Use a Containerized Application
Many businesses use software for various purposes, whether it be for managing their day-to-day operations or for sales and marketing efforts. Containers are software that let you bundle applications and data together in one place. This allows you to separate those applications from the operating system of your computer or server and makes it easier to manage them later on. You can choose containerized applications that offer data storage as a service and you can use a Kubernetes cluster to run the applications. Also, because the applications are contained, you can more easily scale up to meet your future needs.
Understand the Different Types of Data Storage
The next step is understanding the different types of data storage so that you can decide on the best place for your company’s data. Cloud storage involves storing data online and accessing it through a web browser or smartphone app. This is usually done through cloud computing or hosting websites (where you store data on a remote server). Physical storage can be either a physical computer or another device (known as an on-premise solution) or a physical storage location (off-premise). Paper storage usually refers to printed documents. Although it’s less common than it used to be, it's still relevant in fields like healthcare where keeping digital records could pose a security risk.
Be Realistic About Your Needs
While you want to be open to all the available options, you also want to be realistic about what your company needs. This means taking into account the amount of data your company stores, the type of data you store, and how often you need to access it. You can measure how much data you keep on your computer (hard drives, online services, etc.) by taking an inventory of your computer systems. Before you do this, you need to decide what data you want to include when counting your files. For example, does your data include emails? How about documents saved on your computer?
Data storage is an important consideration for any business. However, it can be easy to get lost in all of the different options and technical jargon, leaving you with no idea where to begin. Your best bet is to learn the basics and start implementing simple strategies. In time, you should be able to make better decisions with your data.