Data backups were commonplace long before computing, and whether you are storing your records in boxes or on computer archives, it has to be secure and organised in case you need to access files or emails for e-Discovery or some other purpose. The advent of cloud data storage has changed the entire nature of data archiving.
What are ‘Cloud Storage Solutions’?
Unlike backup files, which provide an emergency copy to recover from a disaster, a data archive is a collection of data that is no longer used and stored away. With cloud storage solutions, your data archive is stored off-premises so it’s safe from natural disaster such as fire or flood. The cloud archive is optimised for long-term data retention, security, and compliance and metadata make it easily searchable.
The Benefits of Cloud Storage Solutions
Cloud storage solutions are ideal for archiving large quantities of data. The cost to install and manage an enterprise archive can be prohibitive, especially for organizations with large data retention requirements who don’t want the added hardware, software, and staffing costs. If you have a long-term archive, you will also need multiple hardware and software upgrades throughout the data life cycle, and you have to manage support contracts and staff turnover.
Cloud storage solutions eliminate these headaches. For the SaaS client, the storage capacity is virtually unlimited and you merely pay as you go; staffing is no longer your concern, and you have a central point of archive administration and access in the cloud. Cloud storage also eliminates worries about investing in redundant systems or archive backups – all the security is managed by the cloud storage service provider, but you get to make choices about how that data is archived and made accessible. Some vendors even archive email, data, and other business-critical information in tandem, using common tags so you can access all the data associated with a project or activity for e-Discovery.
Adopting a cloud storage solution for archiving also frees server space for more important tasks, and cuts your hardware costs. It centralises administration via the Web, which eliminates the need for archiving software and the added staff to manage it, providing a single point of data access without the risk of a single point of failure. And consolidating your data archive with a single cloud storage vendor also gives you ‘one throat to choke’: a single party to work with on service-level agreements that ensure data security and archive access.
Hybrid Cloud vs Cloud-Only Archiving Systems
Of course, cloud storage solutions aren’t always a panacea. Some larger organisations prefer a hybrid cloud archiving approach that is part SaaS and part on-premise. This seems particularly attractive for financial services and highly regulated industries that want stricter control over archival data or high-speed data access. However, a cloud-only archive makes more sense for organizations that don’t have the expertise or resources to manage a private data archive.
So what should you consider when considering your archive options?
Are data indexing, searching, and retention critical requirements?
What legal compliance and archival restrictions do you need to consider?
Should you consider a private or a public cloud archive?
What assurances do you need for data security and disaster recovery?
Cloud archiving technology is growing more sophisticated every day. If you haven’t looked at cloud-based data archiving lately, particularly offerings like Mimecast’s cloud archiving services, it might be time to give it a second look. You really have nothing to lose, including your files.
Nathan Morgan has been an IT professional for 14 years. His work is currently focused on Linux servers and he has been an encryption and data protection specialist for 5 years leading the deployment of the company data protection strategy . An avid user of technology, he frequently needs his own services in the field of data recovery and keeps up to date with all the latest news and developments