Data is the oil of the digital age, fuelling businesses towards attaining their end goal of a bigger bottom line. And while how you use it is the most important thing, how and where you store it matters just the same because it is always at risk—at risk of getting breached, exfiltrated or held hostage (as in the case of ransomware), and vulnerable to getting lost or corrupted.
In March of 2021, in fact, over 20 million records worldwide were breached, which translates to over 28,000 records compromised every 24 hours. Lately, the preferred mode of compromising data has been ransomware, with approximately 4,000 ransomware hits daily around the world, which means there is a ransomware attack every 11 seconds.
These attacks aren’t just increasing in frequency; they are also getting costlier and costlier, with the global average cost of a breach now at $4.24 million as IBM found out in its Cost of a Data Breach Report 2021 (see below a breakdown of this total).
Critically, all industries are getting breached, and the cost of a breach regardless of industry is almost always in the millions, as this graph shows:
What these all mean is that businesses regardless of size and irrespective of location is at risk of getting breached—and this breach will very likely be costly. This is why data storage is critical today and moving forward if your organisation is to safeguard that all-important data, which you can use to improve business processes and workflows, enhance product and service offerings and ensure a better customer experience. It is a good thing that there is a multitude of storage options available to you, and one of the best at the moment is digital data storage.
The Evolution of Digital Data Storage
Over the years, a number of technologies have been developed for storing data, each representing a significant technological milestone in the long history of data storage. Among these technologies are magnetic storage as used in HDDs and tapes; optical disc technology as in CDs, DVDs and Blu-Ray and semiconductor memories as those used in flash drives and SSDs.
(The graphic below shows a condensed history of data storage technology starting from the 1930s. You can hover on the icon for a brief description of each storage device.)
While other digital data storage technologies are decades-old already, most are still being used for specific purposes, with optical storage, for example, still used for movies, gaming and software and magnetic data storage a go-to technology for high-capacity data storage. This is not surprising because all digital data storage work on the same premise and principles: Storing information in a specific material so long as it is made up of two distinct and switchable states. Such information is stored in bits—or ones and zeroes—and each of them takes up an allocated space in the physical state.
Incidentally, the original use of digital data storage was to record audio, before eventually transforming to include other digital files, as in film and, later on, computer data. Now, in these digitally transforming times, digital data storage is particularly critical to businesses, which, while increasingly cloud reliant already, still need a physical-digital data centre that can optimise cloud collaboration, enable flexibility in accessing data, prevent data overload and protect either primary or backup data for resiliency.
Flash Forward: Why Flash is the Future of Digital Data Storage
As mentioned, digital data storage technology is continually evolving, and among its latest and most exciting iterations in terms of its business-related use cases is flash storage, a kind of solid-state technology that uses flash memory chips to write and store data. This type of storage uses non-volatile memory, enables microsecond latency or very fast response times, requires less energy and is highly available.
These benefits are the reasons why flash is the way forward, as it has evolved from being an expensive, specialised form of storage into an affordable, all-use solution for both personal and business consumption. Notably, organisations are now turning to all-flash storage for their on-prem data centres because it is reliable, affordable and stable. It is also sustainable, considerably reducing the energy needs of traditionally energy-intensive data centres for a greener environment.
Critically, the speed that flash storage allows is a requisite for modern use cases now, driving great value to businesses, notably real-time analytics and Artificial Intelligence. Moving forward, organisations that want to leverage these use cases will need fast storage like flash, or else they will be unable to utilise them properly to drive the business forward in these days of cutthroat competition.
It goes without saying that all-flash storage is advantageous to any business and that it is time for you to take advantage of it, too.
The Importance of Having a Strong Digital Storage Foundation
While it is true that more and more businesses are adopting the hybrid cloud setup, it is also true that many executives are yet unwilling to eschew physical or digital data storage—hence, the compromise of going hybrid. This is not surprising either because digital storage is no longer just about storing data. In today’s data-driven era, its function has gone far beyond that. Storage is now the very foundation that enables organisations to empower data so that they can achieve valuable transformation and future-proof their business.
In other words, building a strong on-prem data storage foundation brings tremendous business benefits and is, therefore, indispensable in any well-meaning data storage strategy. These benefits include:
Safe and Efficient Data Storage
Having digital data storage in isolation—meaning, maintaining a physical storage structure or data centre—can already help a business tremendously. The most obvious benefit is having reliable storage for when you digitalise your physical files and documents and for your existing applications and workloads. This storage is relatively safe as well, as you can control who can access it and review whatever actions were performed on certain data, thus allowing you to determine irregular or suspicious activities. It also permits easy, simplified and convenient sharing of files across departments. Critically, and perhaps more importantly, it also represents the first building block towards a hybrid environment.
Consistency is central to going hybrid, and the right storage can ensure this, thus enabling a seamless transition to the hybrid setup. With the right digital data storage platform, you will be able to move around various applications and workloads to different clouds and operating systems sans delays and without slowing down app responsiveness. You will also be able to bridge legacy platforms to newer technologies such as Kubernetes and Containers, which enable the flexibility and agility required for hybrid cloud adoption.
Breaks Down Data Silos
Modern IT is diverse. Today’s businesses handle a wide variety of data across on-prem, cloud and edge environments, and employ the services and solutions from numerous different vendors. This creates complexity in data management and even worse, leads to the creation of data silos. Siloed data, in turn, makes data analysis more difficult, disrupts or duplicates work, compromises the security, and slows down inter-departmental accessing. Businesses need a digital storage foundation that can break down these silos, thereby eliminating its many drawbacks in the process.
Ensures Data Resiliency
Given today’s cybersecurity landscape, the likelihood is high that your organisation’s data will be breached, exfiltrated or, worse, held hostage via ransomware. That’s not to mention the very real possibility of your data being lost or corrupted due to human error or force majeure, which is all the more reason for you to prepare for the worse. In short, you will have to make your organisation cyber resilient, and one way to do that is by using the right digital data storage platform. If you choose well, you can have a platform with embedded features that will guarantee recovery from most, if not all, incidents, whether caused by malicious actors or inadvertently.
(Click on each tab to find out the characteristics of a resilient digital data storage.)
The Right Platform
As you may have noticed, the previous section made mention a couple of times the importance of having the right storage to actually maximise the benefits of having digital data storage. The question is: What is the right platform?
The easy answer is the FlashSystem® 5000 by IBM.
The FlashSystem® 5000 is IBM’s all-flash and hybrid-flash storage that simplifies combines best-in-class performance and affordability for businesses looking for enterprise-grade data services but with a limited budget. Among other things, this family of storage solutions promises the following:
- Enhanced storage efficiency made possible by IBM Storage Insights, which uses Artificial Intelligence and Predictive Analysis to optimise storage and networking use.
- Modern data protection paired with rich cyber resiliency features.
- Easy cloud scaling depending on your organisation’s needs.
- Six 9s availability, which guarantees high-level availability in support of mission-critical applications and workloads.
- Enhanced IT productivity through easy-to-use management tools.
- Increased return on investment (as much as 359% in 8 months).
- OPEX pricing, or a pay-as-you-use model, thus eliminating the need for oftentimes exorbitant CAPEX.
The benefits of having digital data storage are undeniable, more so if you get the right storage platform for your business. That right platform is the FlashSystem® 5000, and it can guarantee all the above-discussed benefits, maximise your return on investment and prepare your organisation to go hybrid (if you haven’t already).
For further info on how IBM FlashSystem can ensure a successful hybrid cloud strategy for your organisation, click here.