Whether for legal reasons, private business concerns, or a host of other reasons, in the digital age we live in even the smallest companies usually use some sort of data archiving. But whatever the aim behind archiving, it’s much more complicated than just making a simple backup. Technology progresses so rapidly that it can be difficult to know what storage options will be lasting solutions for your business. Below are the top five considerations to ensure your archives will be long-lasting and reliable.
One of the first things you should consider is how much space you have to work with. Depending on how much data you need to keep, storing your data in a physical medium can take up enormous amounts of space. Even different kinds of physical storage can take up different amounts of space. For example, external hard drives can store very large amounts of data but might be larger than something that can be read optically like ROM or RAM storage.
Online or physical storage
How much space you have can also help (among other things) to decide if you should go with online or physical storage. Online storage services like archiving solution for file servers are advantageous because your data is very easy to access, and subscription services are often inexpensive. However, some online storage systems can be susceptible to online thieves or corruption.
The capacity of offline storage is only limited by how much space you have to hold it, but it can be time-consuming to access. Also, with advances in technology, there is always the fact that you will have to keep upgrading your equipment every so often to make sure your storage system does not become obsolete – making it impossible to access your data.
If you do decide to use physical storage over online storage, choosing the type of medium is also very important. It has to be a type of storage that will be viable for at least your minimum holding period. For example, storage tape is a convenient way to store large amounts of data, but they only last about ten years. The above-mentioned optical storage can last forever if properly stored, but many computing devices lack the equipment needed to access it these days.
Limit your Data
A very important part of your storage plan is what you should actually keep. It’s tempting to just transfer everything over to your chosen storage in bulk, but this can get extremely expensive, take up unnecessary space, and make it much more difficult to sort through when you need to access something specific. You may want to hang on to financial and customer information for decades, but things like email and call logs may not be important, depending on your business needs. Consulting dependable business websites can help you understand what is important to keep. Deciding what you will need to keep while developing policies for your archives will save you time, money, and frustration.
Possibly one of the most important parts of developing an archival policy is deciding when your data is no longer needed and if your method of storage needs to be revisited. Some records might only be needed for a few months while others might need to be kept for decades. It is important to plan for retention of different kinds of records, so you aren’t tying up resources needed for other parts of your business. A systematic, periodic review will prevent this and give you a chance to evaluate if your chosen method of retention is still viable.
Archiving your data is much more complex than simply hitting the save button. Developing a comprehensive plan for your business’s storage needs is vital. If you follow the tips listed above, you’ll be on your way to a comprehensive data archive that will save your company time, effort, and money.