Though it may not be the most glamorous task, sound and accurate recording-keeping is part of the foundation of every business. But even though advancements in technology have made it easier and more efficient to create and store files electronically instead of on paper, staying a step ahead of organizational storage needs has become a pressing issue for IT directors.
The High Cost of Breakdowns in Record Storage
Now, before you go running off to find a record storage solution based on cost alone, let’s first unpack the consequences of not having an adequate solution in place. Because, as with anything, the cheapest solution often isn’t the right solution.
Penalties for failure to properly store and secure certain company records go far beyond the simple inconvenience of reconstructing historical information for business use. The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure caught up with the technological revolution in 2006, when amendments to the law added electronically-stored information as a category of discoverable information in litigation.
Though the amended law still provides for safe harbor, preventing companies for being sanctioned for “failing to provide electronically stored information lost as a result of the routine, good-faith operation of an electronic information system,” organizations find it difficult to provide they did in fact act in good faith. This is crucial, because the resulting sanctions can be devastating, both to a company’s reputation and the proverbial purse strings.
Security failures in data storage can be equally devastating. CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield found learned this the hard way back in 2015, when the information of 1.1 million members was compromised.
No industry is safe, as impacted organizations ranged from health care companies and universities to retailers and major players in the entertainment industry.
What’s more, as 2015 research clearly shows, a troubling 75 percent of the chief information officers surveyed lack confidence in their current e-storage processes.
Finding Safe, Effective Storage Tools
So now that you understand the importance of having the right record-keeping solution, how do you go picking out the best one that addresses the unique needs of your organization?
While there are a variety of storage platforms currently on the market, major corporations can’t afford to make an “educated guess” based on basic features and pricing alone. As electronic record-keeping continues to expand, storage platforms must be capable of increasing their capacity to millions – even billions – of files.
Selecting storage solutions boils down to these key questions:
- What are your business needs? Depending on your industry, the number and type of records you keep can be dramatically different. Do a complete needs assessment and then choose a storage provider that is familiar with your industry.
- Is the storage platform regularly updated according to data center certification requirements? Furthermore, are best-in-class security measures used consistently? A negative response to either of these questions is an immediate deal-breaker.
- Can the storage platform scale on an as-needed basis? Will it be responsive to urgent data recovery requests? These are found in service-level agreements (SLA), which spell out exactly how the storage provider will respond when you have an immediate need. Examine relevant SLAs carefully, as these will most clearly define your relationship with storage providers.
- Finally, how are costs determined? Can you pay as you go when your storage needs grow? One study indicates that the average company’s storage needs increase by 40 to 60 percent each year; however, at the same time, the price of storage drops regularly. It is possible to cut costs significantly by choosing a purchase-as-needed plan.
Scaling storage solutions to reliably maintain up to billions of records in a way that is both secure and affordable is a tall order, and IT directors often get little support from executives when it comes to making these critical decisions.
However, with careful planning that includes a thorough needs assessment – as well as a study of the consequences for data storage failures – we assure you the argument for a reliable data storage solution will become quite compelling.