Just like physical documents, important data requires safe storage and backup options. Whether you’re storing memorable family photos or vital business documents, you should consider the safety of your documents as soon as possible.
Luckily, there are several types of data storage options available to you, depending on your storage needs. Take a look at this comprehensive data storage guide to begin weighing your options.
What Is Data Storage?
Data storage refers to digitally collecting and holding information so users may retrieve, delete, and organize the data. Data usually refers to digital files, like media and online documents.
So if you own a business and have scanned copies of important physical documents, as well as media files and accounting documents, you’d use a data storage system to store and organize everything. Documents placed in a data storage system stay backed up and safe in a disaster, like hard drive corruption.
Types of Data Storage Methods
Depending on what type of data you’re storing and the amount of data you have, several storage options are available to you. Some options provide specific benefits and drawbacks that you should weigh before choosing one.
Hardware storage involves storing your data on a physical device, like an external hard drive. You may also store your data onto your computer’s hard drive, a USB stick, or an SD drive. All of these options provide plenty of space. However, you risk losing your data if you misplace or damage your device.
Cloud storage is the most popular and useful data storage option, as you can access your files via the internet. Everything you store in the cloud is instantly backed up and safe from external risks.
This option is also cheaper than external alternatives. However, cloud storage is more susceptible to hacking and data breaches. If you plan on storing confidential documents, consider the next option.
Virtual Data Room (VDR)
A VDR is essentially a cloud storage system, but more secure. VDR platforms require additional authorization and steps to view and share confidential documents. While these platforms tend to be more expensive, they’re vital for businesses that handle a large number of personal documents, like law firms and M&A firms.
Which Type of Data Storage Is Right for Me?
Now that you know the different types of data storage available to you, you need to decide which option works best. Before committing to a specific type of data storage, take a look at these different use cases.
Small and Mid-Sized Businesses
Small businesses should commit to data storage options with a decent amount of space and organization options. Choosing a storage option with just enough space is cost-effective, and you can always upgrade and purchase more storage space down the road.
Large businesses like enterprises need the maximum amount of storage space available and may want to consider an on-site or off-premises storage service.
In addition to a lot of storage space, enterprises should choose cloud storage options to access, organize, and store data efficiently. Each department should have a designated storage area for their teams.
Enterprise businesses interested in a secure cloud strategy can find out more about Simple Storage Service (S3) options, which keeps data safe and easily accessible.
If you’re looking for a personal storage option, there are plenty of free platforms available to you. Free platforms usually don’t offer more than a terabyte of storage space, but that’s usually fine for most people.
These options allow you to store your photos, videos, and personal documents in the cloud, so they’re easy to access on-the-go.
Data Storage Tips
Once you’ve settled on a data storage option, the research doesn’t end there. There are plenty of ways to get the most out of your data storage—here are a few tips to get you started.
Commit To Organization
While it’s important to store your data somewhere, unorganized data is a pain to sift through. If your data isn’t organized, you’ll find yourself wasting time looking for something specific.
To avoid this hassle, make sure you organize your documents as soon as you store them. The best way to do this is to create special folders and sub-folders for each type of document.
If you plan on storing a lot of documents, you’ll want to create as many niche folders as possible. For example, confidential documents should live in a folder with sub-folders dedicated to the type of document. This will make it much easier to locate specific documents.
Name Your Data
Folders are helpful, but you’ll still experience inefficiency if you don’t properly name your documents as soon as you store them. Most data storage options provide a search function you can use to search for data.
If you don’t properly name your data, you won’t remember what to search for in the future. The best way to name your data is to commit to a set naming style with consistent keywords. For example, the names should give you a clear clue that makes it easy to pinpoint what the piece of data holds.
Perform Security Audits
Performing audits keeps you aware of who has access to your shared data. If you plan to share the majority of your documents with third parties, take some time to audit those documents every year. Audits ensure your documents aren’t still accessible to certain people.
For example, if you shared financial information with a vendor but decided to go with another, they still might have access to your private records. Checking this often helps you prevent fraud.
Regularly Clean Your Storage
Just like cleaning out your closets, you should clean out your data storage system once in a while. For many systems, deleted files don’t get deleted. Instead, they sit in a deleted files folder, taking up precious storage space.
Take some time to clear this folder to open up more space or move deleted files that you didn’t mean to delete. It’s also a good idea to maintain organization and move files that haven’t yet moved to their designated area.
Storing Your Data With Ease
Storing your data is essential, especially when you’re dealing with confidential and sensitive documents. By researching the types of data storage technologies and implementing the right one for you, your data will find a permanent safe haven.
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