Back to the basics: Different types of data storage

Data is an essential asset to your business success. Therefore, it’s in the business best interest to rely on data storage solutions that are: 

  • Space-saving 
  • Protected from physical damage
  • Fully secure
  • Visible and easy-to-find
  • Accessible 
  • Scalable

It makes sense that paper files are not a match for your requirements. Yet, with many electronic storage solutions to choose from, how can your business find the right data storage? 

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Individual storage solutions

Companies use individual storage solutions every day. Individual storage options are unique to an employee. They are not easily shared between the team, and therefore do not need to be fully scalable beyond individual needs. Individual storage can be fully secure when it remains offline. However, most employees also use individual storage in a digital environment when connected to the Internet. 

The most popular individual storage systems are:

  • Direct Attached Storage or DAS: This typically refers to the hard drive within your employees’ devices, laptops or desktop computers. An external hard drive is also a DAS. 
  • Block storage: A block storage is the process of creating partitions within one server or storage system. For example, if an employee uses a hard drive divided into partitions, data files are stored in 512-byte blocks within each partition. 

Local business sharable storage solutions

Working with a team, you want to be able to share data easily and access information simultaneously. Small businesses prefer internal network solutions and local systems that can be accessed within the premises. Local sharable storage solutions can exist digitally; however, they are rarely accessible outside the business network. They offer some level of scalability and organizational visibility. But, if the team grows unexpectedly, the company will need to invest in additional hardware systems to maintain its local data storage functions. 

Typical local business shareable storage options include:

  • Network Attached Storage or NAS: Think of it as a collaborative DAS for small companies. Authorized users and devices can access the company network within the premises. Unfortunately, due to reduced scalability options, it can be slow in larger teams. 
  • Block storage for local servers. 

Accessible & shareable storage solutions

In a work environment where employees don’t need to share the same office, a cloud-based storage solution can offer the accessibility and scalability you need. Cloud storage is a popular solution for businesses of all sizes as it guarantees cost-effective scalability for growing teams, digital security, remote accessibility, and maximal visibility. 

Popular accessible and shareable data storage options consist of:

  • Storage Area Network or SAN: A high-speed network that connects to servers to provide block-level storage. SANs are complex to build in-house, so most businesses rely on locally built and hosted infrastructures that span multiple locations. 
  • Object storage: This solution stores unstructured data objects rather than blocks of files. As a result, they can store multiple versions of the same file by creating a new object. This means more users can access the data simultaneously. You can also store as many objects as you create variations into the file. Object storage is typically seen in cloud computing and is preferred for scalability, recovery pace, and cost-effectiveness. However, it’s not compatible with all databases. 

Which data storage solution is right for your business?

If you are considering the best data storage solution for your company, we strongly recommend working with a professional IT services consultant. Indeed, every business will likely need more than one type of storage. Consequently, managed IT services can help you effectively organize, secure, and scale your data storage strategy.