A new year is upon us!
You’ve made resolutions and budgets to improve both yourself and your organization. As part of that process, many CIOs take this opportunity to consider their data storage options and infrastructure.
Recently, we detailed some of the advancements available thanks to new capabilities within Windows Server 2019. These features make it easier to move server data (Storage Migration Service), recover from disasters (Storage Replica), and improve data center management (Storage Spaces Direct).
Additionally, Windows Server 2019 allows an administrator to more easily manage servers and storage in a mix of local, hybrid and cloud deployments. As with all decisions, what options works best for your organization depends upon your needs.
Setting Up the Right Cloud for Data Storage
SearchCIO points out that, unless an organization adopts a cloud-centric approach, some benefits of cloud adoption (cost reduction, improved flexibility, etc.) may not be realized.
They even go so far as to recommend setting up specialists within the organization, such as a cloud concierge, to act “as the intermediary between business units and their cloud providers,” and committees to strategize and maximize benefits from the cloud.
Large organizations can handle everything in-house – they have the budget, personnel and space to pick any option they want and do it well. They will seize control of their operations and have the resources to build out data centers. Even if they use the cloud, it will often be a private cloud instance to maximize their control.
Small organizations, on the other hand, often lack so many resources that they skimp on security and accept high risk when moving to the cloud.
In 2018, Inc. noted that up to 60% of small and midsized businesses that are hacked go out of business within six months. These organizations often use standardized SaaS resources from Microsoft, Google, Box, Salesforce, and other platforms. And, most likely, they outsource their security.
Most companies fall somewhere in between, and they need to navigate a combination of resources and demands within their organizations.
Even with expert internal teams, the increasing complexity makes it difficult to remain an expert across all areas of cloud storage, leaving potential knowledge gaps that take time to remedy.
Building a Complete Storage Solution
For organizations of any size with constrained resources, you should consider using outsourced third party partners, such as Ideal Integrations.
Outsourcing leverages external expertise to rapidly and effectively implement initiatives with the highest standards for security and resilience. While a third party won’t know your business as well as you do, that team’s expertise, combined with your knowledge of your business strategies, can create a powerful combination.
Whether or not you move to the cloud, you should adopt a hybrid model. O, you can build your own dedicated data center, as your organization will generally have local data-storage needs.
Despite the legacy presence of DVD-ROM Drives and the ubiquity of USB thumb drives, most professionals choose between tapes, traditional hard drives, and solid-state hard drives.
Network World makes a case for the continued usage of tape drives for two fundamental reasons: Cost and durability. Tape media is inexpensive and can hold great quantities of data. More importantly for a data center, tapes also take much less energy to operate.
As for durability, the magnetic properties of the tape last longer than hard drives, which also makes them ideal for long-term storage.
However, while tape is an excellent resource for large system backups or for the storage of archives (tax records, old contracts, old backups, etc.), it is inefficient for incremental backups or for searches.
Solid State or Hard Disk Drives?
Hard drives remain the most flexible resource for large data storage needs, but do you need solid state drives (SSD) or traditional hard disk drives (HDD)?
SSDs still cost a bit more for most applications, but promise much faster speeds with reduced weight. They also lower energy costs. HDDs offer cost-effective options for longer term storage, and will be more durable for applications involving a large number or writes to the drives.
When it comes to drive failure, SSDs and HDDs fail in different manners and under different conditions.
SSDs have no moving parts, so they are more rugged for shipping or for mobile use (vehicles, laptops, etc.). However, SSDs can fail without warning and are known to wear out with long-term usage. While HDDs also wear out, their failure tends to warn IT managers as they slow and accumulate bad sectors.
If your data center or even your local users will be moving to SSDs, ensure that your backup strategies are updated appropriately to account for changing risk profiles. While data centers will use RAID configurations to prevent data loss, individual users may need to have data backed up more frequently to compensate for unexpected failure.
Of course, when we talk about drive failure, we must also consider data recovery from failed drives. Here, HDDs have the edge.
SDDs store data in a more complex manner than HDDs and tend to erase deleted data immediately. If you have a user that regularly calls the help desk about accidental deletion, make sure they are using the traditional HDD.
HDDs may reassign bad sectors, but otherwise write and store the data in simplified sectors written on the magnetic platters in blocks for better efficiency. When deleting files, they save time my removing the header information and allowing the data to remain untouched pending a future overwrite.
Of course, this also means if you are throwing out old hard drives, you can’t forget to delete the data!
Hard drive reformatting should be sufficient for low-importance data deletion, but for particularly sensitive data, you might need to select a software or service that offers a data destruction guarantee or certificate.
The Right Support
Don’t let your new year’s improvements be sabotaged by a sloppy set up.
When it comes to updating internal infrastructure, Ideal Integrations offers expertise in design and planning as well as monitoring and security.
Along with our cyber security team at Blue Bastion, we can provide a full spectrum of resources and services, from initial planning to full-time system monitoring, to help your organization become and stay protected.
We’ll help improve your security profile and test its effectiveness with red teaming to make sure your data and your organization remain safe. Your evolution will always be ahead of cyber criminals.
It’s time to maximize your return on IT!
If you would like help planning your 2020 improvements, contact us today!
For a risk-free demonstration, contact us today by completing the form below, or by calling us at 412-349-6680.
If you’ve been actively breached, and you need immediate support, call our incident response team at 412-349-6678.
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