-By Lyon Williams
When it comes to keeping track of information it is something that a business must simply be on top of. Certain documents are required to be retained by law, details of staff and where they are up to with their knowledge will help with staff training and appraisals, and information related to company procedure needs to be accessible to all.
So, this article will look at some of the different ways that your business might store its information, which can often be of sensitive and confidential nature so that it is secure but readily accessible to those who need to know it.
On the Premises
One way that your business might store information is on servers that are owned by yourself. This allows your business to have complete control over the security of its data. In this instance, you will need to back-up your data in more than one place yourself. One of the back-ups must be kept off-premises in case of fire or theft.
Hard Drives, Memory Cards, Memory Sticks
To be more portable, you can store data on devices that can be removed from the office situation. Depending on how much data there is to store, different mediums can be used. Hard Drives will store the most information. Images and moving videos will, of course, take up the most space. More than large documents.
The major benefit of cloud storage is that your data is backed up at a central online location that is off your premises yet is held securely due to encryption and the use of passwords to gain access. It is much safer not to have your data in a physical location where it can potentially be lost should there be a fire or case of theft.
Cloud files can be accessed from anywhere in the world, so if your business is international and your employees travel a lot between countries, it is an invaluable system of storage for those who need to gain access to information quickly and wherever they might be. All your employee needs is an internet connection.
In terms of cost, cloud storage is cheaper per GB than when hardware storage is required. You do not, for instance, need to buy the devices for storage. The more data they hold, the greater the cost.
Cloud is also good as a back-up facility should there be a hard drive failure of any kind.
The Future – 5D Data Storage?
For those wanting to store vast amounts of data, the very latest storage system may be 5D data storage. Using discs of fused quartz, data is encoded in the three conventional dimensions of width, length, and depth, and also in two optical dimensions. The latter is achieved by altering the polarization and the intensity of the laser’s light while the recording process is taking place. What this means is that an incredible 360 TB of data can be stored. Another advantage of these discs is that they are very durable, often being referred to as “Superman memory crystals”. In theory, the disks can survive for billions of years when kept at room temperature.
There are questions, however, on whether this experimental technology will prove to be practical or cost-effective in terms of business storage. Whether it will be supportive of multiple writings and to the kinds of encryption software required. It is, however, encouraging that there are storage mediums planned for the future that will hold such a vast amount of data and mean that we do not necessarily have to rely on cloud systems.
In terms of what is going to be the best long-term solution in terms of archiving the data itself, it is hard to tell. At the moment, we seem to be transferring from one technology to another. Unlike paper records, nobody can be sure just how long the information might be able to be held for on that one particular medium. So, backing-up in different forms would seem safest at the moment. To work further towards a paperless office, you should back-up in two digital mediums.
In conclusion, we can hold our data on-premises, off-premises, on a portable system, or on a cloud system that has no physical location as such. For the future, we can consider being able to, ourselves, hold ever greater amounts of information but then wonder how long those storage devices are going to hold that information for. Whatever method we choose as a business, it is important to have the data backed up in more than one location for added security and to keep reviewing the medium to make sure it remains safe and secure.