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No matter how big or small your business is, you cannot overlook the value of data storage and management. While there is no one-size-fits-all solution that you can rely on, you need something that keeps the confidential corporate data secure and organized at all times. Things can get complicated as you keep accumulating files over time, but modern solutions are getting better and resolving these concerns effectively.

It is important to find a solution that fits the needs of your business and the type and volume of data to be stored. Apart from taking the pick between on-premises, cloud-based or hybrid solutions, you also need to follow certain rules to make sure that things are always on track. Here is a list of best practices for businesses that want to excel with data storage and management.

Know your data

Even before you start, you need to have a complete understanding of the data, both structured and unstructured, that your business has to gather, handle, and deal with over time. Consider aspects such as how long you would need to retain it, how soon you would want to recover it if it is lost and how secure you would want it to be. Businesses often end up neglecting the unstructured data while working on their policies, which is the last thing you should do.

Understand the compliance needs

Different businesses have to follow some generic and domain-specific compliance guidelines when it comes to the information they store. Healthcare and financial services companies, for example, need to go the extra mile for securing the records. Understanding the regulatory requirements your business needs to adhere to while storing and handling it is also important for formulating a data storage management policy that works for your business. Failing to operate in total compliance is a serious concern as it may lead to severe penalties later.

Security should be a top priority

When it comes to corporate files and information, security should be the first priority for any business. As a rule of thumb, you need to ensure that it is secure both virtually and physically. Encryption is the best solution as it guarantees that unscrupulous third parties will not be able to read or use the files even if the systems get hacked. Backing up encrypted data and storing it at a secure location takes security to the next level. It empowers the business with recovery and continuity benefits in the event of data loss due to an emergency or natural disaster.

Have a data retention policy in place

As your business gathers data, you may need to retain some pieces of information for only a few days while some need to be kept for years. Establishing the right data retention policies is important from the internal governance and legal compliance perspectives. Duplicate files are also an issue you will need to deal with because enterprises often end up having them in huge numbers over the years. There are a few ideas that can help you find and clear duplicates on Mac and you should ensure that users follow them regularly. Also, set appropriate priorities for storage management resources based on the value of data.

Don’t store redundant data

While you need to be careful about steering clear of duplicate files, avoid storing redundant pieces of information as well. Storage costs money and it is always wise to use it optimally with careful planning. The challenges can be complex as they vary from what is valid to what is outdated and wouldn’t serve any value to the business. The right approach would be to keep track of the stored data and eliminate the files that you do not require from time to time. Allowing them to stay in your systems will only create clutter in the long run.

Pay attention to accessibility

Another best practice that every business should follow for data storage and management relates to accessibility. Ideally, the users should be able to search the records and access the pieces that they require instantly. This is something you would need to ensure for running seamlessly on a daily basis as well as addressing issues in urgent circumstances, such as when information is required for litigation. After all, the objective of archiving business data is to enable the users to access the right files as and when they need to, otherwise the entire practice wouldn’t make sense.

Know your clouds

The benefits of cloud storage are immense because this approach offers storage infrastructure as a service. You can store as much data as you want without investing in on-premises infrastructure and worrying about security. But there is a need to understand that storage clouds are not created equal, which makes it important to know them before you start using them. Some solutions are meant to handle archiving while others focus on performance and stability. The costs may vary as well but the last thing you should do is to pick something inexpensive that risks the security and integrity of your business data. If you plan to outsource cloud storage, vet the providers to make sure that you can trust them enough.

Invest in a disaster recovery plan

Another best practice you cannot overlook is having a reliable disaster recovery plan integrated into your data storage and management platform. Backing up files wouldn’t help if you cannot recover them. Make sure that you test the backup methods periodically and see if they are dependable in terms of recovery. Maintain multiple copies of the vital pieces of data so that you never run out of them even if disaster strikes. Have at least one copy offsite to be extra sure.

With data storage and management, going the extra mile is the best thing to do. Do not allow upfront costs to influence your decision regarding the solution you choose. While opting for something cheap may save your business a little money at present, you may end up paying a huge amount if the security is compromised or recovery isn’t possible in the long run.

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