The companies that thrive over the next few years will be the ones harnessing the power of data, yet most companies don’t analyze much more than a third of the data they have. With data so critical to business success, your clients should think about data intelligence along with data storage. But does your current approach help them do that?
Here are four actions top-tier MSPs should take if they want their data storage strategy to adapt to the needs of the modern business.
Ensure Accessibility Without Sacrificing Security
The always-on business requires that employees be able to access their files anywhere, anytime, and from any device. If your storage strategy doesn’t include BYOD policies, remote access, and other mobility essentials, it’s time to step up your game. But there’s a catch. The more widespread and accessible data is, the more likely it is to fall into the wrong hands. Experts state that protecting data begins with understanding your data—not only where the data lives, but also its classification. You should create the proper controls and policies for sensitive data. Client information, healthcare data, trade secrets, and intellectual property should get the extra protection they need. Your approach should include determining who can access which data, what gets encrypted, how it’s backed up, and more.
Also, consider that regulations like the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX) have specific requirements to follow to remain in compliance. Non-compliance can lead to hefty fines. If your current storage strategies aren’t taking into account the specific needs of various data types, it’s time to change that.
Provide Manageability and Scalability
With different types of data, different methods of access, and constant data growth, MSPs shoulder a huge challenge managing an effective storage infrastructure. Whatever solutions you use must be efficient, cost-effective, and scalable. That’s why many storage experts are looking to hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI) systems. They help streamline and simplify storage management. When HCI blends compute power, networking technologies, storage, and virtualization into one easy-to-manage, easy-to-scale system, it’s easy to see why the HCI market is set to be worth $17.1 billion by 2023.
A software-defined storage system piles on benefits like better storage provisioning through plug-and-play hardware and great data protection through built-in data protection and backups. With HCI, MSPs can more easily manage multiple sites and treat hardware as one huge, easy-to-allocate storage pool. Your next-gen storage infrastructure needs HCI if you want to keep up with huge demands and keep costs down.
Keep Data Recoverable
Downtime can be expensive no matter the cause. An effective data strategy goes beyond determining where you store data. It must include strategies for backing it up and ensuring it’s easy and quick to recover in the event of a disaster, hardware failure, or user error. While a basic backup is a good start, having a disaster recovery plan in place ensures that data and the associated systems are accessible after minimal downtime. These days, cloud-based disaster recovery and virtualization are essential parts of a DR arsenal. Together, they can help you ensure that no clients ever suffer more downtime than they can tolerate.
Farm Insights from Data
Data analytics is another promising area for MSPs. Most companies constantly create new data, but few are equipped to turn company-wide data into solid business intelligence. That’s why data analytics as a service might be the next up-and-coming cash cow for MSPs. You can stand out by helping your clients leverage tools that unlock the insights in the information they have all around them. You become invaluable when you can help clients make decisions based on insights from their data.
The data analytics revolution requires us to think far beyond the basics of storage. Today’s storage strategies are about making data fluid, informative, and safe. We must also consider the ways AI and machine learning can turn raw data into the pioneering new ideas of tomorrow. It all starts with taking a hard look at the relationship your company has with data management and the vision you can build for clients in the future.