Monday, August 1, 2011

Data Storage Solutions

By: Ray Feoli

Most businesses generate a huge amount of data. Customer lists, expense reports, market research, emails, and tax information-the list is endless. Federal law mandates that much of it be archived so that it can be readily accessed in case of a legal dispute or federal investigation, and even data that doesn’t need to be kept by law may be material you’d like to keep. So what do you do with all that data? Fortunately there are a variety of storage solutions available. Before you decide where to store it, you need to look at how. Storing as much of your data digitally as possible is the way to go. Document scanners and OCR (Optical Character Recognition) technology can help you easily accomplish that. There are also business card scanners that your employees can use to easy create and store contact lists that are simple to update.

Storing data onsite generally requires ample server space and a reliable backup solution. Backups can be made to tape, disc, or other physical, removable media or they can be made to a remote server. Even if you choose to back up onsite with removable media, it’s a very good idea to keep a copy of the backups offsite as added protection. A storage locker or safe deposit box will do, or webspace can be purchased from a hosting company. This will insure your data is safe in the event of a fire, flood, or other disaster. When storing and backing up data, having a layered solution is best. Servers and media can, and do, fail so having an integrated local and remote backup solution offers the most protection. If something happens to the local backup you can turn to the remote one and vice versa.

Another option is to hire a company to store your data for you. This type of data storage solution can be both space and cost effective because the data resides with the storage company rather than on site, eliminating the need for servers and other equipment. It’s important to do your research carefully before choosing a company. Check them out with the Better Business Bureau and try to get references. The last thing you want is to choose a company that disappears with your data, loses it, or has constant technical problems. Make sure accessing your data when you need it will be as hassle-free as possible and that it will be kept secure at all times.

A good document storage company can help you get your company set up with the right document management software and may even provide services such as scanner rental. Since they’ll be handling your company’s critical and sensitive data it’s important to choose a company you can trust. Don’t be afraid to ask lots of questions and compare companies and their services to make sure you are getting exactly what your company needs and getting your money’s worth. Don’t hesitate-money spent on a good document storage solution is money well spent.