How to Implement a Cloud Storage Strategy
The storage world is changing rapidly, with innovative services playing a major role. Savvy CIOs are turning to cloud-based offerings such as enterprise storage-as-a-service to reduce costs, optimize compliance and ensure security. As Knowledge Center contributor John Clancy explains, trust, security and a history of information protection are critical factors to consider when choosing a provider to help you implement your cloud storage strategy.
The explosion of digital information-from e-mails and files to instant messages and electronic records-has companies of all sizes and industries grappling with not only how to best manage and secure their data, but also how to do it cost-effectively. It's being predicted that digital content will grow five-fold in the next two years, all while IT budgets are expected to grow a mere 2.3 percent in 2010.
Many IT departments are asking, "How can we ensure that we have the right tools in place to guarantee the security of our data and meet today's regulatory demands, all while keeping costs in check?"
Cloud storage provides enticing advantages to companies that need to drive cost, risk and complexity out of the information management equation. Cloud storage is on-demand, flexible storage that can scale up and down as needed. It requires no capital outlay and offers a pay-as-you-go model. But how can you determine which cloud-based solution is best for your business? Do you need a private or public cloud? Primary or secondary storage?
While increased competition in the cloud storage space is pushing costs lower, it is also forcing IT decision makers to evaluate more solutions and providers. Knowing which data to keep, what to delete, and what to retain to meet the necessary compliance and legal mandates for your business will help make your decision to implement cloud storage easier.
Developing a cloud storage strategy may seem complicated at first, but doing so can reduce costs by utilizing a shared infrastructure and shifting capital expenses to operating expenses. Before considering cloud-based services, organizations need to assess both the associated risks and benefits involved. They also need to work with service providers to understand key areas from compliance and data location to availability, recovery and viability. Businesses should consider the following seven elements before implementing a cloud storage strategy:
1. For starters, rethink your storage strategy
Take time to evaluate your organization's data and policies. Establish metrics and reports, understand your organization's trends and think about what can be purged. Assess moving away from high-priced Tier 1 storage and consider when it would make sense to utilize secondary storage. Ensure that your storage polices are in line with your legal and compliance policies, as many companies often keep too much. Finally, focus on the bottom line. Rethinking your storage strategy can help you reduce both the risks and costs of managing your information, so it's a good time to start asking these questions.