Pros and Cons of Storage Options
Pros and Cons of 4 Storage Options for Mid-Sized Organizations
When was the last time you evaluated your organization’s storage needs? If it’s been a while, you may discover that the market landscape for storage options looks different now compared to when you last evaluated your storage needs. Until recently, on-premises databases were the default for many organizations. Today, you can choose from an array of local and cloud-based storage options.
But with so many choices, understanding what it means to add a new type of storage to your environment or to migrate your storage from where it is now to a new option can be overwhelming. How should you decide which storage option is best for your firm’s data management? What factors should you consider?
To help you understand some of the major new developments in the storage space, here are pros and cons of common data storage options: on-premises (local) storage, online portals, email, and storage as a service (STaaS).
On-Premises Database: Store your data on-site in hardware you own.
Pros: One of the biggest benefits of on-premises storage is that it has been the primary storage method of many organizations for many years. As a result, teams often have the in-house expertise to manage and maintain on-premises hardware. Additionally, companies that have a need or desire to keep their data physically located on-site can do so easily with local storage.
Cons: At the same time, purchasing on-premises hardware has some of the most prohibitive limitations. For starters, it’s generally the most expensive option and often requires hundreds of thousands of dollars in CAPEX. Not only will this create a budgetary challenge for departments without available CAPEX, but it also lays the groundwork for a repeat of the problem when the box eventually fills up again in a few years.
Good for: Teams with dedicated personnel and CAPEX resources to purchase and maintain on-premises hardware and teams that need to keep data located on-site.
Email Storage: Team members store individual files in their email inbox attached to messages.
Pro: Many email providers offer ample storage space for a relatively low cost, which makes storing files as attachments one of the least expensive ways of storing data. Attaching a file to an email and sending it to yourself is also one of the easiest and fastest ways to backup an important file.
Cons: Unfortunately, email storage has many faults. Storing files in individual employees’ inboxes can make it impossible to track them down. If an employee is sick or leaves the company and someone needs a file, there is no easy way to access it. Even when employees are working normal hours, locating files that are saved as attachments often involves significant communication between team members trying to track down information. Lastly, storing mission-critical data in email can make recovering from a disaster take much more time. Your business continuity strategy will prioritize certain applications for coming back online in advance of other applications. If files are stored in email, it can take a longer time to get critical communication systems online.
Good for: Storing files in email inboxes is generally not recommended for anyone.
Online Portals: Platforms such as Dropbox or Box.com that allow team members to store files in a cloud-based online portal.
Pros: Cloud-based online storage portals offer the ease that many employees expect from being able to store their files in email. Individual users can manage storage accounts and many services are available on OPEX-based financing.
Cons: These cloud-based software storage options generally expect their customers to handle the migration of data from its current location onto their system. Customers must also develop and maintain their own way of organizing files. The DIY nature of these offerings often means that files remain difficult to locate and retrieve at larger teams.
Good for: Small teams with limited storage needs.
Storage as a Service (StaaS): Lease storage space from a hybrid cloud services provider.
Pros: StaaS deployments allow companies to avoid spending CAPEX on new storage space. This can help companies add new storage quickly without having to wait for the funds for a new storage box. Additionally, it also provides greater flexibility and allows teams to add and remove storage as needed. StaaS is typically offered by hybrid cloud service providers with a team of strategic advisors, which means companies can alleviate many of the challenges associated with DIY storage options.
Cons: Storage as a Service doesn’t allow businesses to house their data on-site in hardware that they own, though StaaS service providers offer many of the same security certifications and protocols.
Good For: StaaS is a good option for most mid-sized firms with complex data management challenges who do not want to invest CAPEX in new hardware and do not want productivity or business continued hampered by their way of storing data.
Every mid-sized business faces its own unique data management challenges – and those challenges may be in constant flux. If the storage strategy you built 5 years ago no longer serves your organization, it may be time to consider a new option.