One of the most significant challenges facing organisations today is dealing with the exponential growth of data.
By Barry Kemp, head of IaaS at Vox
The entire digital universe was expected to reach 44 zettabytes at the end of last year – 40 times more bytes than there are stars in the observable universe. And with the amount of data in the world doubling every two years, it is no wonder that businesses need to better manage the data at their disposal. This is where archiving fulfils a vital strategic function.
Evolving into a mission-critical advisory practice at businesses across industry sectors, effective data archiving puts management in a position to know how much data the company has, what kind of data it has, who is using it, and how fast it is growing. With the enforcement of the Protection of Personal Information Act (POPIA) set for 1 July, ensuring the security and integrity of personal identifiable information becomes even more essential if the organisation is not to fall foul of compliance and risk significant financial fines, reputational damage, and even potential jail time for executives.
There are two types of data available – structured and unstructured. The former is the data used in databases. This is data that adheres to a predefined data model and is straightforward to analyse. Think along the lines of names, dates, addresses, credit card numbers, and so on. Unstructured data is information that either does not have a pre-defined data model or is not organised in a pre-defined manner. Examples include emails, word processing documents, audio or video files, instant messages, and social media posts. Some estimate that this forms more than 80% of the world’s data.
From an organisational perspective, it is not too difficult to imagine how quickly unstructured data can become challenging to manage. Especially in a distributed work environment, documents can easily be saved in multiple locations, resulting in multiple versions of the same files spread across the network making collaboration even more difficult.
Perhaps most significantly, only a third of this data is used within a year of it being created. The rest just sits there taking up storage space. This is not only a costly exercise when it comes to on-premise hard drives, but also storing in the cloud, which is a premium service especially when high availability is attached to it.
Archiving to the rescue
Archiving can address the spiralling cost of storage by taking inactive information, and securely storing it for long periods of time. But to be more reflective of the digital age, archiving must be modernised by providing organisations with cloud functionality while still serving up on-premise availability.
Leveraging the cloud to assist in the archiving function means a business can inject specific high-performance computing capabilities into this strategic process. This means data analysis can be done to identify priority data and allocate the best location to store it. As such, it makes the right data easily accessible to employees while archiving that which is not required for the daily operations of an organisation.
And because it is a cloud-based service, companies do not have to be concerned about making significant upfront software or hardware investments. An archiving solution can be priced per gigabyte of data stored so costs will always be completely manageable.
Making the move to this more digitalised approach to archiving does not have to be a complicated process. With a solution like Vox Archiving, companies can install an agent on-premise that links to the cloud platform. This manages the analysis of data and decides where the best location is to store it. And because this is an intelligent solution, companies do not have to be concerned that the data transfer process will take up all their internet connectivity. The agent analyses traffic flow and optimally manages the transfer of data.
Furthermore, companies will have access to a portal that provides a detailed breakdown of their data, the file types, who is accessing it, and how long ago it has been opened. It provides a more efficient way of performing deep insights into their data that is securely encrypted in a compliant data centre while delivering the redundancy features essential for today’s business.
The ongoing storage cost savings even as data continues to evolve across the organisation is significant when going the cloud-based route. With the user experience of accessing data remaining the same, companies can have the confidence that there is no disruption to operations when it comes to archiving data. And with data usage and analysis becoming increasingly important strategic differentiators, archiving becomes an important enabler to drive business value.