Whether you’re an automotive parts supplier or a law enforcement organization, storing and managing digital information is a critical behind-the-scenes process that can determine your success. Fortunately, there’s no shortage of digital storage solutions to help small and large businesses optimize and protect their data. From inventory tracking solutions to medical records backups, finding the right fit for your data storage doesn’t have to be complicated if you follow these steps.
Identify Your Data Storage Needs
You should first identify your specific storage needs. Determine what data you need to store, how often you’ll need it, and how you’ll access it. These questions will help get you started, no matter what your requirements may be.
- Which activities generate the largest amount of data?
- How much data needs to be digitized for storage?
- How much data is duplicated or irrelevant?
- Which processes run on local servers?
- How will additional data storage elements work with existing storage?
- How important is on-demand access for certain data?
- Does specific data need to be accessible on- and off-line?
Local Network Data Storage vs. Cloud Data Storage
Local data storage like a Network Attached Storage (NAS) solution may be an excellent choice for startups and small businesses because it’s a hybrid of local hard drive and cloud storage. A NAS system connects to your local network for easy access from remote workstations, connected computers, and wireless devices.
Cloud storage is a web-based solution that stores data on the Internet via a third-party provider that manages and operates the service. It delivers data on demand, it has nearly unlimited capacity, and it’s easily accessible via the web. The ability to store large amounts of data and the cost savings compared to hardware expenses makes cloud storage a popular choice for medium to large companies.
Network Attached Storage
Network Attached Storage gives businesses fast, simple, and reliable access to data across their networking environment. NAS solutions are suitable for any business that needs a large amount of economical storage that can be shared with multiple users. They are also simple to configure, manage, and use. Two of the best reasons for choosing this data storage solution:
Storing data on a NAS system is faster than uploading data to the cloud. Some data needs to be stored and accessed immediately, so increased upload speeds may be a deciding factor.
You have complete control over how and where your data is stored, who has access, and the level of security. Using a local storage solution gives you flexibility in creating protocols, configurations, and more customization.
However…if your server fails, your data can be lost or rendered inaccessible. Locally-stored data is vulnerable to electrical surges, water, and other physical dangers.
Cloud Data Storage
Storing data online offers businesses some compelling benefits. You can easily share extensive files and other data with clients, vendors, and employees using password-protected access to your cloud data storage service. This web-based access eliminates the security risks of sending information via email and other communication mediums. Designated users with access to the cloud server can access information from any device with a web browser. These users can also upload new data to the cloud using those same devices. Two of the most important advantages of cloud data storage are:
Cloud storage is safer than local storage. Reputable cloud service providers implement the latest technology for encryption and other security measures. Besides online storage, cloud services also let businesses back up data stored on-site and protect it with those same technologies.
Unlike some other technology investments, using a cloud service for storing data can create significant savings compared to other alternatives. Building a local network capable of meeting your storage needs with scalability features can be expensive. From hardware to software, a NAS or other local storage system requires investment, maintenance, and future expenditures (like upgrades).
The biggest drawback? Reliable internet connectivity and optimal bandwidths are essential for optimizing cloud data storage—no internet means no data access.
For most businesses, cloud data storage is a good choice. For others, a local NAS system combined with a cloud data storage solution may be the best fit. No matter what kind of data or how much, there are plenty of secure, reliable choices to create the best data storage solutions for your business.