Companies are producing more content than ever before, and with the constant threat of cyber security breaches, how to store, protect and organize that information is crucial. Information management is not simply data and file storage; today it is a strategic operations and security practice. Smart organizations are turning to the cloud for robust and secure ways to manage and protect digital assets.Simply put, the cloud is a collection of servers that you can access via the Internet. When you put "something in the cloud" your data is still on physical servers (computers)–they can be on your premise, on a separate private premise or in shared locations around the globe.
Moving to the cloud is often a no-brainer. After all, the benefits are hard to ignore. Forbes shared that, in a Harvard Business Review Analytic Services survey, participants boasted such benefits as: “the simplification of internal operations; better delivery of internal resources, and new ways for employees to work, connect, and collaborate.”
To create a solid information strategy, first evaluate your needs and what different vendors offer. Will you require a complete cloud solution, or will a hybrid solution suffice? The cloud landscape is brutally competitive. You'll likely encounter many vendors that appear to offer nearly the same thing, but some have significant differences. For example: not every provider uses the same method to back up data. Some providers offer full backups, and others offer incremental. Different cloud providers have facilities that vary for the better or worse. It's critical to find out what their redundancy is and how they're handling the data.
Plan for tomorrow’s information management planning needs
Evaluating vendors and auditing your own needs takes a lot of time. Don’t overly focus on your needs today—they could change drastically in the near future. Also, don't just evaluate your growth based on storage needs, but consider things such as support and security and reporting functionality. Also, remember that your industry may require specific regulations, especially if you're in the financial and healthcare industries. Keep in mind that if your cloud provider is not compliant with these regulations, then your overall business is not compliant.
It’s important to think of how you’ll support your employees’ need to collaborate and adequately manage the flow and storage of your company’s growing information database. You'll have to work within your budget, of course, but if you underestimate these needs, you could spend time to migrate to a system that won’t work, or won’t last. When in doubt, plan for more than you need, aiming to balance the feature set and price.
Next, you'll also need to consider an appropriate exit strategy for a cloud provider, should it be necessary. Should you no longer require their service, how can they assure you that all of your information assets have been removed from their systems? And what is the process for transitioning that data to a new system, should you need it?
Lastly, take special care when it comes to security. Consider the type of data you’ll be storing and protecting. Whether personal, customer information or company strategy documents, how these are protected and managed is critical. This element is where you’re likely to see the storage providers pale compared to more strategic business cloud partners.
Creating your information management plan rollout
A successful information management rollout plan will take into account every resource required to make a successful transition. This includes resources on the tech side, vendors, business stakeholders and even internal communications. You’ll want to detail out how your information management plan impacts employees at every level, and decide what kind of training they will require to follow your new strategy. Your plan should also cover future needs—growth needs, additional storage, even training.
The right vendor will make all the difference
Locating the right vendor to grow with your company will be critical to your success. From accommodating your most basic cloud storage needs to providing robust security and support, the right vendor will act as your partner and strategist in determining how to best support your plan.
Looking for a vendor right now? Talk with a Twinstate Technologies expert and see how we can be a successful partner.
Originally published on 02/16/2016