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Data storage Policy

01 Mar 12

As technology evolves to cope with the requirements of the modern business, so to does the sheer volume of data required by modern business. In fact it can be difficult to clarify which is the chicken and which is the egg: is technology evolving to cope with the data or is the data increasing due to the technology?
Whatever the answer may be, it is vital for all organisations to implement data storage policies to protect not just the data but the integrity and viability of the organisation in question. Procedures that set guidelines for the control and management of data from collection to storage should cover not just internal data storage (what is acceptable on internal machines and servers and how should it be stored) but also cloud storage.
Data falls into one of two categories: structured or unstructured. Structured data, or the information generally found in a data base of some type, is inherently easier to manage and thus easy to forget when it comes to creating a procedural system. Including databases in your storage policy will allow you to control their growth and ensure they are providing the information users require and simple procedures can usually be implemented easily.
Unstructured information presents more of a challenge. Many organisations are in fact unaware of the data they actually have. The cost of this is counted in reduced productivity and increased storage costs for replicated data.
In addition, a lack of clear policy around data storage makes it difficult for administrators to manage routine maintenance tasks, such as back-ups and disaster recovery provision.
The first thing to decide is whether data will be stored on-line, near-line, or off-line as this decision will likely have an impact on backup administration.  Any data that requires regular editing is probably best stored in part of the organisation’s normal storage infrastructure on either directly attached storage, Storage Area Network (SAN), or Network Attached Storage (NAS). Any data that is not regularly edited but needs to be easily accessible can be stored in what is now referred to as near-line: on disk or tape. Offline, and possibly offsite for security reason, is best kept for that data which is being kept for legal reasons, like financial records
It is vital for the productivity and the ultimate success of a company, in particular in the modern world of BYOD and cloud computing, to be confident organisational data is controlled and manageable and employees are able to access it in the right format when necessary. 

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