Storage

How COVID-19 has Changed Data Storage Management

Data storage management has matured to the point of being an almost automatic element of overall IT operational strategies in large-scale enterprises. The arrival of COVID, however,  forced many of these businesses to send the majority of their employees home, revealing some very noticeable performance and access gaps that required near-immediate fixes. This has led to some big questions regarding just how mature and robust common data distribution practices really were.

How Did Data Hubs Handle the Stress of Additional Data Volume?

The sudden surge of remote workers placed unwarranted stress on many company remote access systems. It was not uncommon to see corporate VPNs and virtual services slow to a crawl, lighting a fire under corporate IT departments to quickly remediate the problems.

Many IT departments responded with increases in VPN and VOIP bandwidth, as well as the ability to provision and deploy laptops and other mobile devices rapidly. But they found that ensuring data accessibility was a new challenge.

IT departments found themselves scrambling to design and implement updates to how company data could be accessed and managed remotely, often stretching their established data management strategies to the limit. Throughout the COVID pandemic, several common issues have emerged, including:

  • Data latency. Instead of the majority of users pulling information from server hubs from a fairly centralized location, data requests were now coming in from widely dispersed locations on lower bandwidth pipes, causing data latency in data hubs.
  • Improper load balancing. Load balancing was established with the assumption that most users would be accessing information from fairly centralized locations. Similar to data latency issues, with users now widely dispersed, load balancing was thrown out of sync, causing some servers to buckle under the weight of increased data volumes while other servers sat idle.
  • Gaps in user security protocols. Users found themselves in need of additional points of data access that were not required while in the office. Help desks and IT security departments were flooded with requests that did not have a well-defined approval process backing them up. This forced some companies to give users access outside of company standards, in violation of established security procedures, to keep users working.
  • Assurance of data security regardless of state. In some cases, to temporarily throttle bandwidth, IT departments removed or scaled back encryption policies in an effort to keep the business going. While no major stories have emerged about compromised data, instances that come to light as a result of loosened data security measures will not surprise anyone.

Addressing the sudden data management challenges occurring due to COVID requires looking at them in a new way. Leveraging cloud-based technologies—in particular, distributed data storage—as tools to solve these problems will give you the ability to quickly transition your workforce while securing your data no matter the circumstances.

Distributed Data Storage Makes Sudden Business Transitions Seamless

Building an effective distributed data storage strategy must keep two key factors in mind: availability and security. While migrating your data to the cloud may seem full of risks at first, upon closer inspection you will discover that security in a distributed data storage model actually increases.

When examining the potential of how distributed data can help your organization through COVID and beyond, there are several key areas that will check all of your boxes around availability and security.

  • Data at rest. This type of data is not yet being accessed, but must remain ready for access at any moment. Encryption must be fluid, allowing for an instant transition as it is sent to the user requesting access. Distributed data storage provides the end user with the ability to access data at rest, with the security transition happening without slowing the user’s request for accessing the information.
  • Data in motion. This is the point where data is most vulnerable, as it could be intercepted and used for malicious purposes. Distributed data will provide a set of checks and balances that prevents data from being accessed while it is moving from server to device. Additionally, security detection will be in place to determine if the data was tampered with while en route. This ensures that the data the end user sees is secure and was not corrupted during the transmission process.
  • Data in use. This is the data state that users are most familiar with. A severe lag in accessing data, or data that arrives in a malformed state, will be seen here and have a direct impact on the user’s ability to perform their job. Distributed data storage blends a perfected balance of security and load balancing to ensure that all requested information arrives with minimized delays.

Added to these aspects of data security and availability is how distributed data encourages staff collaboration. In distributed data environments, data is shared more easily and quickly, which allows multiple members of a team to interact with project information. This, when combined with a high level of data security, helps to keep employees productive while working remotely.

Distributed Data Tools Help Boost Remote User Productivity

There is no shortage of distributed data storage tools, and while this is exciting in terms of distributed storage popularity, it can also be overwhelming for IT decision-makers. Starting your search by reviewing the distributed data tools offered by some of the major players in the field will help you get the data support you need to build an improved business continuity plan.

  • AWS. Amazon offers distributed data resources as an add-on to AWS. These services encourage businesses to invest in AWS distributed data storage solutions that present businesses with durable data, security, and rapid recall, all backed by the advanced cloud technology offered by the AWS platform.
  • Dell Cloud Services. The cloud storage options offered by Dell utilize native public cloud services that ensure data integrity and security. Dell offers to manage your data for you, which is beneficial from an IT resource standpoint.
  • Microsoft Azure. Azure storage offers flexible distributed data storage options that are scalable from single-server instances up to data lake storage. High-performance data accessibility is combined with real-time monitoring tools to keep tabs on how your data distribution is performing. Archiving is made possible on both hot and cool storage tiers, and migration is simple, especially if you are currently a Microsoft shop.

In addition to these major platforms are a number of smaller, yet highly capable, distributed data storage solution providers that can help your organization steer through the muddy, remote waters of COVID.

Selecting the Best Distributed Storage Management Platform

With all of the uncertainty that COVID has cast into our personal and professional lives, the choice of distributed data storage will make an immediate impact on your ability to be fully operational. Your choice of distributed data vendor must give you scalable options, ensure the accessibility and security of your data, and present you with innovative tools to manage and monitor it all. This investment will serve you past the days of COVID, providing you with a cutting-edge and adaptable tool that provides business continuity in any scenario.