Today’s Living Business Requires Data That Moves Quickly and Securely
As more and more businesses go paperless and deploy digital workflows, data volumes are growing exponentially year-over-year. This trend is illustrated by an article in Forbes, which notes 84% of enterprises have launched advanced analytics and Big Data initiatives to bring greater accuracy and speed to their decision-making.1
With so much data, businesses rely heavily on availability and organizational structure so end users can easily find the information they need, and business processes can run efficiently. A roomful of data doesn’t do you any good if the information you need is hiding when you need it to get the job done, and done right.
A Digital World Requires Dynamic Data Movement
The cloud has proven to be a great environment for storing large data volumes. It also enables new capabilities in terms of increasing bandwidth access and integrating data across multiple enterprise systems. But the cloud also introduces challenges for enterprises needing to manage data so that it’s always where it needs to be.
Before data files exploded in both size and number, moving them used to involve simple FTP transfers from one system to another. Then IT could consider the job done. But in today’s digital world, storage and data movement need to be much more dynamic and responsive to business needs.
End users are usually spread out over multiple locations across many time zones and countries. With everyone working on-the-go, exactly when and where data will be available is difficult to predict. Most of the time, requests for data are urgent as end users collaborate with customers and partners in real time.
From the IT perspective, it seems as though everyone needs data access, and they need it right now. However, from the business side of things, a delay in data accessibility could mean missing an opportunity.
Data Challenges Keep IT Up at Night
The challenge lies in striking a delicate balance between security and availability. Data needs to move easily and be readily available so end users can do their jobs efficiently. At the same time, IT needs to make sure the company’s digital assets remain secure from accidental data leakage and cyberattacks.
Another key challenge is ensuring backups are always working—just in case something goes wrong and systems need to be restored. Maintaining security and reliable backups also plays a role in complying with industry regulations. If either one falls short, the company faces potential regulatory fines, not to mention the risk of negative publicity that might scare customers away, along with the revenue they generate.
A symptom that can occur if data is not readily available is Shadow IT. When end users find the information they need, they usually keep it close to the vest so they can easily find it again when they need it. That’s why they’re apt to store corporate data in their own personal cloud platforms that are not sanctioned by IT and likely not protected to the extent that the business requires.
Solving this Shadow IT issue is key to protecting digital assets. One study reports that by 2020, 30 percent of cybersecurity compromises are expected to be caused by unprotected Shadow IT environments.2 Without a better way to manage storage, all of these challenges will continue to keep IT up all night!
Solving the Data Challenge through Cloud Storage Consolidation
To make data and files more readily available to end users while also protecting digital assets, many organizations have consolidated their cloud storage instances on a standardized, single platform. This approach enables end users to instantaneously share files and get fast access to the latest information, whether it’s in ERP, CRM or another enterprise system.
As a result, it’s more efficient for end users to collaborate with each other as well as customers and partners. No matter where and when people work, they can gain faster, deeper insights into business information such as partner activities, customer status and colleague requests for assistance. Therefore, end users can keep the business running at a competitive pace.
On the flip side, a consolidated cloud simplifies management for IT, which makes it easier to maintain compliance and adhere to corporate policies that govern the way data is handled. IT can also monitor storage usage and more accurately forecast future storage needs to help keep costs manageable.
Let’s not forget the backups. A consolidated approach enables IT to more easily ensure all critical data is accounted for when building disaster recovery plans.
Ongoing Consolidation Required
While creating a consolidated cloud platform is an important first step, it’s by no means a one-time task. After IT completes the first big migration and becomes a cloud-first organization in terms of storage, other data movement and migration needs will emerge on a regular basis:
- Additional users and systems that remained on premises during the first migration will eventually need to be moved as the business continues to consolidate storage.
- Backing up data is not a “set it and forget it” task. IT needs to keep testing whether backups are working, and new systems will require new backups—from on premises to the cloud and from one cloud environment to another.
- Shadow IT will likely never go away completely, but the internal IT team should continuously strive to reduce it as much as possible through ongoing consolidation. Keeping communications open with business units on the importance of consolidated storage and making data readily available are the keys to accomplishing this objective.
- Following acquisitions and mergers, newly-acquired cloud platforms will need to be consolidated and standardized on the corporate platform. This is something that can happen without notice, so IT needs to always be ready to migrate.
- To accommodate end user bandwidth needs, IT will also need to sometimes move large files and server images through managed file transfers among cloud platforms; ensuring performance and reliability during the process is critical.
When handling any of these data movement tasks, maintaining compliance and security are a top priority. IT needs to closely monitor where data and files go and know who has access. Policies must be applied to ensure only authorized users can view and download sensitive content. The good news is that with a consolidated storage environment, compliance and security become easier to manage.
Start Now to Prepare for Unexpected Storage Needs
In today’s digital world—with employees, partners and customers spread across the globe—businesses need nimble and fast technology that moves data quickly and securely. Data movement is an ongoing process, and IT must be ready at all times because end user needs are typically urgent. By deploying a consolidated storage platform in the cloud, businesses can meet the needs of end users as well as IT. The sooner you start standardizing on a cloud storage platform, the faster you’ll reap the benefits of storing most of your data in a single place.
For help in developing a long-term strategy to move your company’s data files to a standardized storage platform in the cloud, sign up for a free trial of Tervela Cloud FastPath and discover the power of cloud migration!