Those new to the business world take for granted the convenience available via cloud storage and other data storage options, but those with more experience understand just how much data storage has evolved. Gone are the days when workers were stuck at their desks; gone are the days of computer outages rendering companies helpless; and gone are the days of serious security risks. Let’s take a look at the history, present, and probable future of data storage, data centers, and cloud storage.
Data Storage of the Past
Until the early 1990s, a paperless office wasn’t possible. While there were various ways to store data, such as microfilm, paper copies were also typically kept. Other storage options simply acted as backup. Personal computers were introduced in the 1980s, but most businesses were not quick to jump on what they saw as a temporary bandwagon, and those that did couldn’t store much at all on these early computers.
Then came along microcomputers. In the 1990s, servers were first created. Essentially, they were a series of microcomputers that could store a lot more data than had previously been possible, though it was still not much compared to today’s standards. Larger companies started assembling banks of servers within their own walls and were able to take control of their own data storage. This was not the case for smaller companies, and without the data centers available today they were typically limited to the amount of storage they could have onsite.
The Main Issues with Previous Data Storage Solutions
Data storage solutions of the past were far from ideal. Some of the issues included:
- Cost. There’s no way around it: data storage in the past was expensive. In fact, it was prohibitively expense for most companies. Investing in the infrastructure for an onsite data center not only required expensive equipment, but extra room, which many companies simply didn’t have.
- Lack of accessibility. Even with onsite data centers, information could only be accessed when employees were onsite. Their work computers accessed the servers directly and there were no options for mobile or remote access.
- There are dozens of ways that old center solutions were inefficient. Employees had to learn an entirely new system for saving documents, had to print documents they needed access to outside of the office, which negated many of the positives of having paperless office options, and giving employees access to documents could be challenging.
- Security. Simply put, these data centers were not secure. Hackers generally had no trouble breaching servers, as many companies didn’t have the first idea about how to secure digital files. There were also issues with physical security. When all files were saved in physical severs, which were generally located at a single location, any type of disaster, from floods to power outages, could mean the total destruction of all that data. Though companies quickly learned the importance of backing up their data, backups were generally stored on site as well, which rendered those backups inaccessible in the event the building they were housed in was closed or shut down.
Today’s Solutions Have Changed the Playing Field
The issues discussed above have been all but eliminated. The vast majority of Americans own either a computer, tablet, or smartphone. Businesses have computers for every employee. Super-fast internet connections allow us to connect to information almost instantly. Today, document management software (DMS) makes it possible for companies to securely, efficiently store data for a fraction of the price they were paying when each company had its own server. DMS has redefined the world of data geography.
Amazon’s cloud storage program in particular is saving companies money by giving them the option to pay only for the computing resources they need. Consumers also save money because they benefit from massive economies of scale. Essentially, because they have hundreds of thousands of customers, each customer pays less for their services than they would if purchased individually. Amazon cloud storage also provides higher speed and better agility.
Data centers are still an option, but no longer must they be kept within a company’s facilities. Instead, resources are shared at central locations. Data centers constantly backup information to other data centers, so if the integrity of one facility is compromised, not only will data not be lost, but customers can continue working seamlessly with no downtime.
In fact, today’s data centers, when paired with DMS like eFileCabinet, allow users to access data from anywhere they have a secure internet connection. Sharing files via phone is as simple as doing so on your desktop computer. DMS brings true flexibility to a sector that used to have none.
Security is a huge concern for companies, especially in our current climate of identity theft, cyber hackers, and other cyber crimes. Top-of-the-line security is established both by Amazon Cloud Services and other data centers. Document management software systems have changed the way companies do business for the better.