The amount of data being generated by digital technology has increased exponentially in recent years. With the Internet of Things in its early ramp-up phase and mobile device ownership growing, the data explosion should only accelerate through the rest of the decade.\nThis represents tremendous opportunity for enterprises that are able to capture and analyze actionable \u201cbig data\u201d regarding customers, business processes, sales and cost trends, human capital, markets, and competitors.\nIt also represents a major challenge for IT departments to ensure there is enough current and future storage for petabytes, terabytes, and even exabytes of enterprise data that come in the form of text, video, images, and audio, as well as machine-generated and unstructured data. IT also must provide adequate protection against disasters ranging from simple disk failure to floods, fires and other events that can damage or destroy entire data centers.\nOlder and more traditional methods of storage and disaster recovery alone are inadequate in the era of big data, primarily because of the vast amount of data that must be stored and protected. RAID storage, for example, can lose data at the petabyte level. If that data are required for financial reporting or regulatory compliance, it could mean costly problems for an enterprise.\nFurther, optimized data storage is about more than capacity; it\u2019s about choosing the right storage medium for the right data. This is critical both in terms of ease of access to the data and the cost-effectiveness of backup and protection.\nSome enterprises may find it makes sense to back up seldom-accessed data to tape instead of more expensive disk storage. Object-based cloud storage solutions are another option, as are flash arrays for data that are accessed frequently, such as customer search and purchasing histories or patient medical records.\nChoosing the appropriate storage solutions has never been more complex. But given the competitive pressures of a digital economy that rewards predictive insights and instant execution, it is more important than ever for enterprises to find the combination of storage technologies that will best enable them to manage and leverage big data.\nIT decision makers should work with experienced data storage and data protection services professionals\u00a0to determine the optimal storage solutions for their organizations.