Working on your data archiving strategy and not sure where to begin? Use this guide to learn the dos and don’ts of data archival – including why you need to work with an expert like AOP Inc!
DO: Create a Clear Data Archiving Strategy
Your archiving strategy should clearly define how data should be stored. When you deal with massive amounts of data, it often makes sense to manage costs by investing in multiple tiers of storage, and your written strategy should explain what type of data is stored where.
For instance, what data will be stored on the cloud or in SAN storage, and what needs to be archived on removable tape? Characteristics like the age of the data, type of information, and accessibility needs will help you determine what the best option is.
What’s important is that you have an outlined process that your organization can follow consistently!
DON’T: Assume that All Data Can Be Treated the Same
You cannot assume that all of your data is the same. The archiving process should vary based on the type of data you are dealing with and the related retention requirements.
Some data may not need to be archived at all – while other pieces of information will have legal requirements for retention.
Do you need to keep every internal PowerPoint presentation? Probably not.
If you manage healthcare data, though, you could be required to keep it for at least ten years – but your company’s financial information likely needs to be retained for only seven years. As a result, you need to have different archiving solutions for each.
DO: Incorporate Automation Wherever Possible
Try to automate your data archival process wherever possible. Doing everything needed to securely and effectively archive your data manually is unrealistic and impractical.
Besides the fact that it would take too much time to do this, remember that the amount of data you have will only grow as time goes on. Data growth rates are practically exponential, and you can’t wait until it is completely unmanageable to introduce data automation!
Automated data lifecycle tools can remedy this issue and free up your IT staff to work on projects that will drive value for your business. Similarly, they can reduce the risk of human error – and when you deal with sensitive information, you can’t afford to make any mistakes.
Incorporate automation to prevent data from being purged prematurely, stored in the wrong tier, or otherwise mishandled.
DON’T: Ignore Cybersecurity Considerations
Failing to ignore cybersecurity is a major mistake many companies make when developing their data archiving strategy. This is especially important when you are storing sensitive information in the cloud!
You must take steps to secure the data since you archive only what will be used in the future or has a legal requirement. Whether it is financial data, personal information about employees, or medical records, you are responsible for ensuring that it is safe!
Make sure that your cloud storage providers are HIPAA-compliant if necessary and meet all of your standards for cybersecurity.
DO: Distinguish Between a Backup and Archival Solution
Backups and archival solutions are two different things: so, make sure your archive strategy addresses them as such.
A data backup serves as a way to recover your data if there is a hardware failure or major disaster. You must update these files regularly to ensure you have an accurate backup, and in some cases, this must be done nightly.
With archives, the data is not meant to be modified. Yes, you need a redundant copy of archives for added security, but the purpose is very different than a backup.
Work with a data archival solution that doesn't blend these two tasks!
DON’T: Allow for a Single Point of Failure
As you create your data archiving strategy, take caution to avoid the risk of a single point of failure collapsing your entire system.
If one failure can lead to a large volume of data loss, you didn't develop your system right! Likewise, HIPPA regulations will impose steep penalties if this occurs when you could have prevented it.
DO: Compare Various Data Archival Solutions
Always compare the risks and benefits of several types of data storage solutions. Every option has advantages and disadvantages, so review them carefully to choose the best strategy for your business.
Tape can be a very reliable and portable storage medium, but it can be less accessible on short notice. Cloud solutions are less expensive and can give you greater access to a vast amount of storage space, but you have to rely on an outside vendor for security and control.
The key is to find the balance of solutions that will work best for your specific information retention needs!
DON’T: Take a DIY Approach to Archiving Your Systems and Records
If you take anything from this guide, let it be this. Don't try and manage this all on your own!
Instead, work with experts that have experience implementing data archival best practices like AOP Inc. This will ensure that you set up your processes right the first time and don't waste time going through trial and error with data archiving.
Contact us today to get started!