Data management is a critical aspect for businesses today, given data’s status as being an organisation’s most valuable asset. As such, choosing the right data management provider is so much more than price or package – you need a partner that can be trusted to effectively manage your organisation’s data, freeing you up to focus on your core business.
By Hemant Harie, operations manager at Gabsten Technologies
In order to choose a data management provider, you should take a step back and review how your business prioritises data. Things to consider include data protection regulations pertinent to your business and industry, and the skills and resources you have available to manage and protect your data. Determine whether you want a cloud solution or an on-premise solution, or if a hybrid solution would best suit your needs.
From there, you can evaluate the various data management providers who meet your specific criteria and choose the right one for your business needs.
Here are our top five tips on choosing the right data management provider:
Reputation and experience
You want your data to be managed by a company that has a reputation for excellence as well as a proven track record of managing data challenges. Providers that have been in the market for a substantial amount of time typically understand common, and unique, challenges.
Many organisations opt for a provider that is internationally known. While this makes sense for organisations who have an international presence, local businesses should also ensure their provider understands the local data trends and market, based on maturity, culture and industry.
When you select a data management provider, you are entrusting them with your business’ data. Trust is earned and reputable providers are trusted for a reason. However, ensuring your data is secure, protected and available extends beyond reputation.
You should check that your data management provider’s security technology and policies are in line with those of your business. Furthermore, your data management provider should be able to manage your data without needing to view the content itself. Security reports and alerts must be available based on proactive monitoring activity, and measures should be in place to minimise the risk of cybercrime and data loss. If your business requires it – and most do – your provider should offer redundancy, too.
From a disaster recovery point of view, the location of your data becomes critical. Natural disasters may be relatively uncommon in South Africa; however, this may not be the case in other countries. If your data is stored remotely, it’s important to confirm where it is, what the potential impact of natural disasters are, and how to weigh the risks. Your provider must be able to recover from a natural disaster, should it occur.
There are also many regulations in place, especially around personal and financial data, that requires you to know where your data is located at all times. It’s important to ensure that you not only know where your data is, but that its location falls within regulatory compliance.
The software your service provider uses plays an important role in how your data is managed and protected. It is recommended that your provider of choice is transparent about the vendors, platforms and software that they use to manage your data. Certifications help to prove partnerships, relationships, longevity and experience with a particular vendor.
You should ensure your provider understands not only the current data landscape, but also the future landscape. It is important that they have the ability to adapt to future changes within the market, too. Partner with vendors that leverage the latest technology to deliver the best solution to cater to your business’ current needs and future growth.
Understanding your unique data needs
Perhaps the most important part of choosing the right data management provider for your business is ensuring they understand your unique data requirements. Ultimately, you need a provider that is more of a partner and who will walk the data journey with you, taking the time to understand your requirements and displaying an ability to adapt to them.
They should be able to listen to your unique challenges and understand your intentions with your data, so they can recommend the best possible solution. Their ability to change and be flexible will ensure your business can also adapt and scale, improving your business’s agility.
You should not have to be an IT expert to manage your data. Select a data management partner who has the skills, reputation and security to provide a holistic solution that gives you peace of mind regarding your data, allowing you to focus on your business.