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Data Strategy: How to Assess Your Business’ Data Storage Needs

Assessing your business data storage can be an arduous, taxing, and most of all, expensive undertaking. Many businesses spend hundreds, even thousands, of dollars every year to hire a consultant to perform a data audit and look at their storage needs. In addition to a painstakingly close look at the data currently stored on your servers through manual searches, it also requires several months’ worth of interviews with customers and employees regarding network performance, file access frequencies, and storage space consumption, now and in the future. An effective method of assessing your own business data storage needs is greatly needed, especially if you are a small business or franchise.

Questions to Ask, Answers to Seek

The first thing you need to recognize when assessing your business / enterprise data storage needs, whether it be present or for future expansion, is that there are several questions that need answering while you are looking at data. The main reason businesses typically do not stand alone in making this call is they don’t know the answer to one or several of these questions: where is your data located, how much data do you have, how often do you access it, and how valuable is it? You have to know the answers to these questions before you can even think about self-assessing your storage space.

A Check-up a Quarter Makes Your Storage Cleaner

The best way to keep track of your business data storage space is by regular and frequent auditing. Many businesses that suffer from degraded performance rarely, if ever, perform a routine data audit or checkup. Routine audits will make sure you are aware of the current condition of data and storage, and bring any issues to light before they become critical.

Investigate where data is being stored and what kind of filing system the server may have. Performing these data audits can save you a tremendous amount of money and time. A recommended rate for a data audit is once per quarter at the minimum. All data need not reside on the SAN. Knowing which data can be offloaded to the NAS could greatly enhance the system’s performance.

Always remember, the more often you check, the easier your server will be to navigate and the less you will have to assess and evaluate your data storage management over the long run.

There is an old saying: Preventative maintenance is cheaper than corrective maintenance. This is true for data storage management as well. Frequent audits are a sound strategy that will pay off in better security, performance, and ease of use in the long run.