Every company needs to store data digitally to keep records of its activity and make decisions. While data is traditionally stored on-premise, many businesses opt for outsourcing data storage. Now, you might be wondering — why would you let another company store your data for you? The answer is that a data storage specialist can help you overcome three big challenges that countless businesses face. Namely, these include:
- Data growth: As an organisation grows, so does the amount of data it receives, processes, and stores. Without quick and easy access to data, businesses operate at a slower pace which costs them a lot.
- Complexity: 80-90% of data is unstructured, and that makes it hard to organise, consult, and take action based on it.1
- Diversity: New data of various formats, sources, and uses are created every day at a staggering pace, keeping up with the best practices associated with handling that data is complex and labour-intensive.
Facing these challenges alone can prove arduous and costly. This post will show you the pros and cons of outsourcing data storage, why choosing the right storage solution can be tricky, and how to outsource your data storage the right way.
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The pros and cons of outsourced data storage
Should you outsource data storage or keep everything on-premise? This is a big decision to make since it will impact your business. To answer this question, let’s consider the pros and cons of storage outsourcing in relation to your specific storage requirements.
The pros of outsourced data storage
Let’s take a look at how outsourcing data storage can benefit your company:
- Near 100% uptime: Uptime is the percentage of time during which your hardware or IT system is fully operational. Your managed storage service provider is bound by a Service-Level Agreement to provide a storage solution with a near 100% uptime and minimal downtime in the case of unforeseen events like outages. Furthermore, your storage solution will solve the problem of complexity by making data structured and easy to use.
- Faster implementation: Building or expanding a data centre is a big project that requires a lot of time, money, and physical space. It can take you anywhere between six months and two years to get a data centre up and running which might pose a problem when you have urgent storage needs. Outsourcing, on the other hand, lets you reap the benefits of cloud data storage quickly.
- Flexible scalability: As the amount of data you process and store grows along with your activity, your need for storage will grow as well. Outsourcing gives you the flexibility to match your storage capacity to your business needs without having to acquire new assets.
- Reduction of costs: Outsourcing allows you to tap on modern storage technologies and expertise without the cost of acquiring hardware, software, and IT staff. Data storage thus becomes a pay-as-you-go operating expense which has a much lower cost and risk than a capital expenditure.
- Improved latency and connectivity: Your outsourcing partner has access to multiple network connectivity options and will help you choose the best one for your needs to ensure minimal latency and high-speed connectivity.
- Better focus on your business: With the peace of mind that your data infrastructure is reliable, and that maintenance and updates are taken care of, you can focus on your core business and deliver better customer service.
The cons of outsourced data storage
Outsourcing is not without its potential drawbacks, so it’s crucial to be aware of each one and choose a service provider that can mitigate them:
- Disaster recovery and backup issues: No cloud service provider is perfectly safe from disasters like fires or storage system failures. Nexstor’s Cloud Service protects data stored in the cloud against this, especially via Veeam Cloud Connect which ensures fast disaster and backup recovery for all data outside your data centre.
- Data security: Cyber attacks have become more prevalent in recent years, so your service provider must be capable of protecting all your company information with measures like data encryptions. Arctic Wolf, for example, provides data cybersecurity solutions that protect your data from breaches and vulnerabilities.
- Loss of control: Sometimes outsourcing can feel as though you lost control of data management, especially if you have little visibility and communication is limited to just one or two channels. Pro tip: Nexstor Cloud solves this by giving you visibility into service through a virtual machine console.
- Vendor lock-in: Switching from one vendor to another can be arduous and costly, thus keeping you stuck with a vendor you’re not entirely happy with. But again, a top tip from us at Nexstor, is that signing up to a vendor with us avoids the problem — we let you easily switch vendors anytime since the data migration process is simple.
How do you go about outsourcing data storage then?
If outsourcing makes the most sense for you, here are the steps you should follow to ensure its success.
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Step 1: Work out your requirements
The right storage solution will vary from one business to another. You need to identify your data storage requirements by answering the following questions:
- What is your current data capacity?
- What are your capacity needs and data growth plans?
- What are your performance requirements?
- What is your data backup strategy?
- What is your budget for storing data?
Step 2: Plan strategically
Since outsourcing data storage is a major decision, you want to stick with it for the coming years, so you need to formulate a strategy for the middle to long term. Here are three questions to consider:
- How much of your data storage needs will you outsource?
- How much of your data will you handle internally?
- How will you make sure the transition stage goes smoothly?
Step 3: Choose a service provider
This is a crucial step since choosing the right service provider is essential to reap the benefits of outsourcing and prevent unpleasant surprises.
At Nexstor, we harness the solutions provided by leading vendors to architecture E2E IT solutions tailored to your unique business needs. We also make outsourcing a straightforward process by assisting you at every step, from assessment to equipment sourcing, migration, and on-demand support.
Step 4: Build a migration plan
The last step is to transfer your data to the outsourced storage space. Your service provider should help you build your migration plan and assist you during its execution. While migrating, you want your business to keep operating as usual while protecting critical data (especially personal data) and avoiding security issues.
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So, what happens next?
Outsourcing data storage can be a source of confusion and stress if it’s not properly understood and planned for. It’s important to gauge both pros and cons as well as find the right provider for your business needs. When done right, your business will greatly benefit from secure, accessible, and structured data at a lower cost.
At Nexstor, in addition to providing a range of tailored IT solutions, we make the outsourcing process smooth and painless so that you can focus on what you do best: serving your customers. We will assist you every step of the way from figuring out your requirements to migration. Reach out today to discuss your data storage needs.