Electronic data storage is well established as a best practice for any organisation going forward, no matter what size or stage of development the business is at. Even if there are some documents or files that you want to keep paper copies of it’s still important to ensure that data has an electronic home too. If you haven’t yet invested in electronic business data storage then there are lots of questions to consider, such as how your business would survive if an event - such as a flood - destroyed all physical documents. There are also many obvious benefits to switching to an electronic storage model.
- Optimise the space that you have available. With electronic data storage you can maintain all the records that you need without dedicating a vast amount of space to keep the documents and files in. Servers for data storage take up significantly less room than boxes of papers and files and are much easier to organise. If you outsource your digital storage then you won’t have to allocate any space at all to physical storage on the premises.
- Security is simpler to maintain with electronic data. Especially if you're working with sensitive or confidential data, security is going to be a top priority. Physical files can be stolen and lost and it’s difficult to prevent access once someone has the physical copy. Sophisticated cyber security measures - especially if you’re outsourcing data storage - make it much tougher for anyone to get their hands on data stored electronically.
- Electronic data storage is a much smarter option. Once you have digital files these are simpler to protect - you can copy them and back them up and ensure that the data in them will never be lost unless you intend it to. That’s not the case for paper files and documents, which can be lost in a fire or water leak with no way to recover the data. If you only have physical files right now it’s simple to scan these in and create digital copies. One of the major advantages of digital data storage is that back-up can be automatic so smart security is in place without any ongoing effort from you.
- Data is more visible and easy to track. Digital data is much simpler to search and track, making it the best option for simplifying processes like audits and ensuring compliance with regulation and legislation. Because digital data is much more accessible than physical files and documents you’ll be able to access whatever you need in a matter of minutes and processes such as searching or reporting become simple and fast.
- Easy scalability and responsiveness to your business needs. Electronic data storage can be scaled up, or scaled down, depending on what the current needs of your business are. This is a very straightforward process and one that can be completed quickly. If you’re outsourcing data storage then this also creates the benefit of being able to pay only for the storage capacity that you actually use.
When it comes to storing data electronically there are a number of options that you can choose from. The first being Direct Attached Storage (DAS). This storage solution means the data is physically attached to a computer and under normal circumstance only accessible from one machine. These include hard drives, flash drives, CD drives and more. DAS is particularly good for local backups and it is a cost-effective option, but it leaves you vulnerable to losing the data if that machine is damaged and sharing the data would be more difficult than other options.
The next option is Network Attached Storage (NAS). As suggested by the name, NAS facilitates storage across a network of computers. This option allows for data to be centralised and results in overall improvement of collaboration as the people can access this data as long as they’re in this network.
One of the more versatile and important data storage solutions is Cloud Storage. This option offers virtual data storage and access to this data remotely from any place with a secure internet connection. Eliminating the need to store data electronically on a physical computer. Best practice for this option is to have up to three copies of important files.
Storing data electronically makes a lot of sense. From security to scalability and optimising space on physical premises it’s clearly the most effective choice. A survey from IDG showed that 95.7% of organisations currently have an executive mandate to leverage cloud technology. This is in response to the rapidly changing working structure where employees are remote and data needs to be accessed nationally and globally. Illustrating the importance of investing into electronic data storage.