14 Things You Need to Know About Data Storage Management

If you think backing up files and software to a storage device or to the cloud will automatically preserve and protect them (and your organization), think again. Data storage and management experts discuss what steps you need to take to properly manage and store data -- and why just backing up data is not enough.

By Jennifer Lonoff Schiff
Wed, September 11, 2013

CIO — "When it comes to storing data, there is no 'one-size-fits-all' solution," says Orlando Scott-Cowley, Messaging, Security and Storage Evangelist at Mimecast, a cloud and mobile data storage and security provider.

Before you decide where or how you will store your structured and unstructured data, "companies first need to understand the amount and type of data they have along with the motivation behind storing the information," Cowley says. "Having this background will help determine what route to take, whether building on-premise solutions or moving to the cloud," or some combination of the two.

data storage, storage management

So how do you formulate that sound data storage management strategy? CIO.com asked dozens of storage and data management experts, which resulted in these top 14 suggestions regarding what steps you need to take to choose the right data storage solution(s) for your organization -- and how you can better ensure your data is properly protected and retrievable.

1. Know your data. "All data is not created equal -- and understanding the business value of data is critical for defining the storage strategy," says

Souvik Choudhury, senior director, Product Management at SunGard Availability Services. So when formulating your data storage management policy, ask the following questions:

  • How soon do I need the data back if lost?
  • How fast do I need to access the data?
  • How long do I need to retain data?
  • How secure does it need to be?
  • What regulatory requirements need to be adhered to?

2. Don't neglect unstructured data. "Think about how you might want to combine multi-structured data from your transactional systems with semi-structured or unstructured data from your email servers, network file systems, etc.," says Aaron Rosenbaum, director, Product Management, MarkLogic, a database solution provider. "Make sure that the data management platform you choose will let you combine all these types without months or years of data modeling effort."

3. Understand your compliance needs. "If you are a publicly traded company or operating within a highly regulated industry such as financial services or healthcare, the bar has been set high for compliance and security," says Jay Atkinson, CEO of cloud hosting provider AIS Network.

"If you choose to outsource your data storage and management, ensure that your managed services provider has the credentials needed to provide a highly secure, compliant environment. Failure to operate in total compliance may lead to severe penalties later," says Atkinson

4. Establish a data retention policy. "Setting the right data retention policies is a necessity for both internal data governance and legal compliance," says Chris Grossman, senior vice president, Enterprise Applications, Rand Worldwide and Rand Secure Archive, a data archiving and management solution provider. "Some of your data must be retained for many years, while other data may only be needed for days."

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