Spring Cleaning for your Data Center

By Paul Andrews | March 23, 2016

While you wouldn’t have known it from Boston’s snow storm on Monday, Spring is officially upon us. And spring cleaning isn’t just for homes and closets – businesses and IT professionals can benefit from taking stock of their information, enterprise applications and data storage plans as well. By evaluating the tools you’re using to run your business, how you’re storing your data and more, you can create a clean slate to work from moving forward.

Here are Markley Group’s top tips for taking control of your IT strategy and improving efficiency for the start of Spring:

Tackle Shadow IT

How long has it been since you took inventory of the applications your employees are using that weren’t explicitly approved by the IT department? Probably too long. By dedicating time this Spring to monitoring, managing and eliminating these non-approved apps and cloud services, your organization will decrease the potential security and financial burdens that shadow IT can cause. For best practices, first conduct an automated and manual discovery sweep to uncover all of the non-approved cloud services currently being used within your organization; next, communicate with employees to ensure the cloud applications that best fit their needs and make them more efficient, effective workers are supported by the IT department; and finally, implement solutions that reduce shadow IT, and reestablish IT control of the network and overall enterprise security.

Reevaluate your Data Tiering

Just as storage needs can vary from organization to organization, data storage priorities can shift within individual organizations as well. So instead of continuing on with the ineffective status quo, task your IT department with asking some important questions:

What is the volume of storage needed? How fast must it be?

Are you working within budget?

Are high-end features needed? Deduplication and encryption are just a few examples of the types of offerings an organization might decide to incorporate into their data storage plan.

What compliance regulations does your data storage plan need to meet? Depending on a company’s particular industry, compliance with various regulations such as SOC, SSAE, HIPAA and PCI could very well be a consideration.

Once you’re able to answer these questions, take a fresh look at your data storage strategy and reevaluate how you’re categorizing “hot” (meaning business-critical data that needs to be accessed quickly and frequently) and “cold” (meaning the data is rarely accessed) data. If you’re continuing to store back-up data with the same specifications as your mission-critical data, small adjustments in tiering could save your organization time, money and man-power.

Solidify your Disaster Recovery Plan

Whether you’re preparing for the unpredictability of Mother Nature or you’re safe-guarding your data in the face of overwhelming cybersecurity risks, having a fool-proof disaster recovery plan is key. As part of your Spring cleaning routine this year, review your plan and make adjustments as needed. Don’t have duplicate data stored in the cloud? Work to create a plan that involves cloud storage and computing, which is key in diversifying your disaster recover plan and limiting the exposure to any single location being hit by a natural disaster, for example. Also, connect with your data center provider to understand their plan in the face of a disaster. By making sure you’re in lockstep with your third party providers on specifics – including backup generators, employee protocol and more – you’ll be able to eliminate costly downtime when disaster strikes.

What is your organization doing this year to freshen up your data storage strategy? Share your thoughts with us here, or connect with us on Twitter and Facebook. And if you’re not sure where to start with your Spring cleaning, connect with Markley Group’s team of experts who can help you identify which cloud and data center services and solutions are best suited to meet your organization’s specific needs.