The continued digitization of business processes and workflows has caused data volumes to skyrocket. According to research firm IDC, global data volumes could reach 175 zettabytes by 2025. In case you’re wondering, a zettabyte is a billionterabytes.
Where are we going to put it all?
That’s the question small to midsize businesses (SMBs) should be asking themselves. As data volumes continue to grow exponentially, organizations face increasing storage costs, backup headaches, and legal and regulatory challenges.
Although certain data must be retained for compliance purposes, many SMBs keep everything as a precaution. Without an effective data archival strategy, the storage environment can quickly spin out of control. SMBs need to determine which data has strategic value and treat that data as a business asset that is properly stored and protected.
What Is Data Archival?
Data archival is the process of identifying data that is no longer actively used and moving it from primary storage to secondary storage for long-term retention. This process reduces primary storage volumes and the amount of data that must be backed up.
Data archival is sometimes confused with data backup, which involves copying data to a separate storage system so that it can be restored in case of equipment failure or disaster. A survey by the Active Archive Alliance found that 66 percent of organizations use backup systems for archival.
By moving archival data to secondary storage, organizations eliminate the need to repeatedly back up data that hasn’t changed, allowing active data to be backed up more frequently. Data archived to meet regulatory compliance requirements will remain accessible and be well-protected against tampering. Storage costs are reduced because secondary storage typically costs less than primary storage.
Data archival also offers strategic business value because it enables organizations to store large volumes of data for analysis. This data can provide valuable customer and operational insights that can be used to create competitive advantages.
Developing an Archival Strategy
Although the concept of data archival may seem simple, effectively archiving data is a complex process that requires an understanding of proper archival policies and best practices. The first step in developing an archival strategy is identifying what data should be archived and for what purpose. It may seem simple to archive all data that hasn’t been updated for a certain period of time, but there are several factors to consider.
What is the lifecycle of various types of data? Can certain data be deleted instead of archived? If data is archived, how long must it be retained? A data archival policy without a deletion policy can become unnecessarily costly in terms of wasted storage space and time spent searching through extra data.
Another consideration is accessibility. In order to maintain the integrity of archived data and meet compliance requirements, organizations must establish clear guidelines that explain who may access various types of archived data and for what purpose.
Choosing an Archival Platform
The final step is to evaluate storage media and software based upon cost, control, performance and other factors. Cloud-based storage for data archival is a popular choice of SMBs. It offers near-infinite scalability and can be accessed by authorized users from virtually any location.
Verteks can help SMBs realize the benefits of effective data archival while minimizing the need to purchase and maintain additional hardware as storage demands grow. Let us help you design and implement an archival plan and choose the solutions that make the most sense for your organization.