Whether your business is small, medium or large, chances are next year it will require more data storage than it does this year. That trend will continue into the future, as your business generates more and more data and files that need to be stored securely, backed up regularly, and accessible whenever you need it. Here are some options to consider.
Before you begin evaluating your choices, it’s best to do an analysis of your current and foreseeable needs.
How much data do you have? Which applications are generating the most data? How much additional data will be created in the next 1, 2 or 5 years? How quickly do you need to access different data, and from where? Do you have old files on your system that are no longer needed?
Get a handle on how much storage you need, and how it needs to be accessed. Then you can look at these options.
External hard drives
One of the simplest ways to add more storage capacity is to buy an external hard drive that can connect to a laptop or desktop computer. There are a few reasons that this is rarely an optimal solution, though. Files stored there are not accessible to other people, and if you travel, you need to copy the files onto your laptop or some other storage device to take with you. These files need their own backup schedule, and the drive is vulnerable in case of fire or flood.
People who travel a lot like flash memory thumb drives because of their small size and easy portability. You can have gigabytes of data on something small enough to fit on your keychain, and you can plug it into a computer anywhere to access those files. Unfortunately, most thumb drives are not very secure, and can be lost, damaged or stolen. If you go this route, look for a thumb drive that can store your files in encrypted format for added security. Other disadvantages are that the files on the thumb drive are not accessible to other users, and may not be backed up regularly.
Network attached storage (NAS)
With this approach you purchase hard drives and attach them to your network, rather than to a single computer, so the data is accessible to anyone else on the network with the necessary authority. NAS (network attached storage) solutions can range from fairly simple systems that are easy to manage, to highly sophisticated configurations that can handle a large company. When you want to scale up as your business grows, you can purchase additional drives and add them to the network. Backups and security can be managed at the company level, without needing to worry about every individual computer or thumb drive. Often, this can also include printer server capabilities, so that multiple people can share the same printer.
Storing your data and files “in the cloud” is an increasingly popular option. With this approach, you don’t have the data storage in your own office. It is located somewhere else, at a service provider’s site, and you access your files via the internet. The provider typically handles backups, maintenance, and security, which makes it easy for a small company that doesn’t have a technical staff. Data can be accessible to anybody in your company with the right authority and access to the internet. Traveling employees can work on the same files from wherever they are, and it is easy for people to collaborate on a project when they can all see the same version of the files. To expand your storage, just contact the provider.
Prior to investing in data storage solutions for your company, talk to a dependable IT advisor who will help you decide on a plan that best fits the needs of your company. Managed storage solution services offer on-demand storage capacity and management guidance every company needs to stay safe and up to date. Most affordable plans have monthly fees; although, if you can afford to invest, cloud computing services may be the best alternative. It’s really important that you don’t wait too long before choosing a data storage plan; your company needs space to growth, but it also needs to be properly secured in order to stay productive.
By Davis Miller and Conosco.com!