As businesses become more dependent on electronic communication and less on massive file rooms with mountains of paper, the need for data storage is more important than ever.
More specifically, the need for safe and secure options is paramount to nearly every data-driven marketing organization.
But what does it all mean? What’s the cloud? And what other alternatives are available?
In this guide, we’ll go over the best types of data storage and help provide answers to your questions about which one is right for your organization’s needs.
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What is Data Storage?
Data storage is simply the way in which your business or organization stores and preserves information.
Every little byte and data protocol, line of coding or important file has to go somewhere, and this is where it is saved.
What kind of information are we referring to?
This can be something as simple as a product photo or as complex as an entire CRM database.
Even your business logo, product brochure layout and invoice sheets are all digital assets that you need to safely tuck away for future access.
Essentially, all of the digital information that makes it possible to run your organization can be considered data.
Without a proper plan for your business’ data storage, there’s no efficient way to access files, run software programs, create a digital safety net or even save customer information.
What Are the Types of Data Storage?
It used to be that data was backed up nightly, usually by an IT department.
Thankfully, today’s data storage options are much more robust.
The three most common methods are cloud storage, server-based/hyper-convergence storage and traditional storage.
1. Cloud storage
If you use a service like Google Drive or Dropbox, you’re already using cloud storage.
In fact, most modern companies opt for the flexibility and ease of this type of data storage.
Essentially, this is just another computer at a different location where you save your files.
Access is granted through the internet by using specific security controls — typically a username and a password.
Cloud storage is appealing because it enables you to access data from anywhere around the globe.
However, cybersecurity experts warn against using cloud storage for sensitive information, as it might not be as secure as other options.
2. Server-based or hyper-convergence storage
Server-based and hyper-convergence storage are simply two names for the same concept.
This is where information and digital files are kept at an on-site data center, usually in the same place as your headquarters or office.
The main benefit to this type of data storage is the security feature. It is easy to control in order to fully protect against malicious activity.
However, the biggest downside is the price tag, which can range in upwards of $70,000 or more.
Usually, only large corporations can afford to have this type of setup.
With this data storage method, files are backed up in multiple places to ensure complete accuracy.
This is great news for organizations with large file archives or businesses that handle large amounts of sensitive data, such as financial institutions or insurance companies.
3. Traditional storage
Finally, there’s traditional storage.
This is where you physically house a special computer server at your local business location and back it up on a regular basis.
Usually, no more than ten or fifteen people access it at any given time. Also, it may or may not be attached to an additional backup on the cloud.
Just like a personal computer’s hard drive, all files can be used, deleted, overwritten, or duplicated as necessary.
There is a downside, however.
If an emergency situation such as a fire or other catastrophe damages the drive, the data is gone forever.
Organizations should have another method of backing up the data.
Compared to the other two data storage options we’ve discussed, this is the simplest and most affordable option for small businesses.
Plus, it is easily upgraded by purchasing additional disc drives when your existing network-attached storage (NAS) is full.
How Does Storage Affect Data-Driven Marketing?
It might be fairly obvious, but the storage option you select will have an impact on your overall data-driven marketing strategy.
Whether you’re storing information about buyer personas or customer sales data, those files need to be stored in a place where they are both accessible and secure.
Choosing the right data storage method can make it easy for organizations to access the information remotely, such as when a salesperson is out in the field.
Or it can make highly sensitive data more secure, like client financial information or social security numbers.
By considering your company’s data storage needs, you can easily find the right one that makes data-driven marketing simple.
What Type of Data Storage Method Should Your Business Use?
Choosing the right data storage method for your business depends on three factors:
- The size of your organization.
- The level of security you need.
- The importance of off-site backups.
If you have a large corporation handling sensitive data, then you might want to use server-based storage.
Likewise, a small business with only a few employees and no huge data needs could be happy with traditional storage.
If ease of access is important, then cloud storage might be your best bet.
Wrap Up: Choosing the Best Type of Data Storage for Your Business
There are a lot of factors that go into choosing the right data storage solution for your business.
By knowing your needs and matching them up with the most common options available, you can easily select the right one necessary for your level of security and budget.
Ready to learn more about how data-driven marketing can fuel your business?
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