How to Build and Execute Real Data Strategies

Data is the lifeblood of your organization. It flows through your systems, informing all the decisions you make, from how to conduct business processes to how to relate to clients and customers. Like the blood coursing through your veins, if dataflow gets disrupted or the supply gets cut off, it can be deadly for your business.

To keep your business healthy, you need to formulate a data strategy that takes into consideration the type of data you want to collect, where to best store the data, and how long to hang on to the data.

One Storage Type Does Not Fit All

A smart data strategy must accommodate the storage needs of a variety of data. Some types of data are more difficult to organize than others.

Lack of an appropriate method for storing and organizing unstructured data impedes its use. Harvard Business Review (HBR) reported that many companies are failing to use their data effectively. According to HBR, less than half of structured data and less than 1% of unstructured data are being used to make decisions.

Unstructured data includes images, videos, and social media conversations. This type of content doesn't fit into the rows and columns of a traditional file storage system. If unstructured data can't be accessed effectively, companies miss out on vital insights about customer sentiment. Without the right method for storing medical scans, health care providers can't locate them quickly enough to make diagnosis and treatment decisions.

Planning for Storage Flexibility

Some data is active and needs to be accessed regularly, while other data needs to be archived. Data archiving is especially important for organizations in highly regulated industries such as finance and health care. Compliance regulations for these industries require that data be stored for long periods of time so that it can be used for auditing and eDiscovery.

Active data must be accessed and backed up regularly so it can be used for advanced and real-time analytics. Using a combination of high performance storage and low performance storage enables your company to tier its storage based on data type. Automatic tiering carries out this process more efficiently.

Keeping Data Healthy

If you cut yourself on a rusty piece of metal, tetanus can set in, entering your bloodstream. Venom from a snakebite kills skin tissue as it travels up a vein or artery. A similar thing can happen if your data gets compromised. Misinformation spreads throughout your system, making it difficult to make correct decisions.

For this reason, an effective data strategy needs to include data security and governance. Policies need to be put in place for evaluating and maintaining the quality of data that is being used to make decisions. Access to data must be controlled.

Preventative measures put in place to protect data from being stolen or compromised by bad actors should also be applied to the workforce. Restricting employees' access to only the information they need to do their jobs can prevent high-priority data from being compromised in house.

Making Your Data Strategy a Reality

Some companies are attempting to prioritize data management by assigning responsibility to the CIO or appointing chief data officers. However, assigning someone to the task is no substitute for developing a sound data strategy. The right tools and processes need to be put into place to store, process, and protect the types of data your business handles.

InfoSystems can work with your business to select the right hardware for your diverse data storage needs. Our storage offerings include IBM Object Storage for unstructured data. We also partner with APSU, giving our clients access to software for managed services. With managed monitoring and maintenance, you can keep data pumping to the heart of your business.

Learn more about strategic data storage options. Get your copy of our white paper, How to Safely Secure and Store Your Data.