In every industry, businesses are spending significant resources dealing with increasing amounts of rapidly changing data.
Just a few weeks ago, a fire broke out in a cluster of data centers belonging to the French cloud-hosting giant OVH Groupe SAS. The blaze completely destroyed one data center and badly damaged another. Organizations across the continent suffered from the catastrophe.
Shortly after the fire was contained, OHV’s founder sent out a warning via Twitter recommending that his clients immediately implement their own Disaster Recovery plans. Unfortunately, many organizations that utilize the services of Europe’s biggest cloud-hosting enterprise had no such plans in place. The combined cost in lost data as a result of this data center fire will be astronomical.
There is a discipline within the field of data center services known as Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity (DR/BC). If the OHV clients throughout Europe that were badly hurt by the fire in Strasburg, France were working with a data center services provider that was helping them manage their data, the catastrophe likely would not have affected them at all.
If your company utilizes credit card processing software, accounting software, customer relations management (CRM) software, or point-of-sale software, you are collecting extremely valuable and sensitive data. If you run your own onsite data center, already work with a co-location provider, or are one of the fast-growing number of companies utilizing a public cloud services provider, there is a very good chance that you need help managing your data.
If any of the scenarios described below fit your company, it would be wise for you to seriously consider getting help from a technology management company you can trust.
1. You are spending too much money on data center infrastructure and/or cloud infrastructure.
Over the past four or five years, studies have shown that 35 percent (or more) of cloud spend is wasted. That’s partly because companies rarely clean up storage that isn’t being used.
When developers move an organization’s data to the cloud, they are frequently given a virtual blank check to install everything they believe they need to have in the environment. They experiment with different strategies, protocols, and types of software. At some point, they often lose track and can’t determine what’s being used and what isn’t. In that situation, it can feel like a dangerous move to delete or disable something even if it hasn’t been used in years.
The same problem exists in physical data centers, and it always has. This is why data center management services were around long before the cloud
You might recognize this problem from your own experience. How many of us subscribed to a service or purchased a license to a piece of software years ago, used it for a month or two, and then forgot about it—and who has the time to take regular inventory?
Data center management providers can install a virtual appliance on your network to take inventory and help you keep your licensing fees in check. It is also possible to set up automatic processes that monitor usage from a variety of metrics and to collect data and metadata to quantify and categorize spend.
Bottom line, contracting with a technology management company to help with your data management will almost always result in significant savings.
2. Your business or organization is growing, and you’re deciding between onsite data centers, co-location, or the cloud.
Up until 10 or so years ago, the only companies that were able to reap the benefits of running operations in a data center were companies that could afford to build their own. The challenge of building and maintaining such data centers gave birth to the data center management industry when technology management firms began helping other organizations face this challenge. Today, a physical data center devoted to one organization’s data is often called a private cloud.
Many organizations still choose to run their own physical data centers. Many more take advantage of co-location services. With “co-lo,” you can avoid the costs associated with an on-premises data center and essentially run a private cloud in a co-location facility. The cost of building and maintaining the facility, the hardware, the backup generators with built-in redundancies, battery backup systems, and sufficient reliable HVAC are essentially shared. The best co-lo facilities also come equipped with robust connectivity, massive bandwidth, and layered security.
As with all technology management services, the best way to ensure that you’re getting the most bang for your buck from your co-location service provider is to insist that you be able to customize the infrastructure that you are buying. In most cases, that should definitely include a range of customizable cloud and managed services. The most important of those would be an array of data storage and BC/DR solutions, including Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS).
3. Data centers and cloud technology are evolving so rapidly, you can’t be certain your IT team has the expertise to efficiently manage and protect your data.
In this era of digital transformation, IT professionals with cloud skills are in high demand. The busness and security requirements required by cloud computing right now require a highly specialized skill set. Cloud computing is one of the most important trends in business, and all organizations are prioritizing their efforts to develop efficient data and cloud strategies. To put it simply, proficient cloud architects and data engineers today command high salaries and can be hard to find.
Some IT leaders might feel trapped in a dilemma, believing they need to decide between staffing an in-house team to manage their rapidly growing data management needs or outsourcing to a technology management company—but that’s not the best way to think about this situation.
Data center service providers almost always work to help your in-house IT team by bringing in-depth knowledge as well as experience. They can also work with your executive team to help you take full advantage of the opportunities presented in this era of digital transformation. It’s best to think of sound data management, including BC/DR, as a business driver rather than a cost center.
As the Harvard Business Review stated in a recent article: “This wave of digital initiatives must not be confused with the real business transformation needed for success in the digital age. The former is mostly about enabling business as usual and ‘staying in the game,’ while the latter is about building real, long-term competitive advantage to succeed.”
As I have said before, if your technology infrastructure isn’t already on this path, competitive pressures will soon push it there as demand for data and the capabilities necessary to leverage it keep growing. If, like most organizations, you are headed toward digital transformation, now might be the best time to find a trusted partner to help you accelerate.
I hope you found this information helpful. As always, contact us anytime about your technology needs.
Until next time,