Despite all the hype during 2014, Big Data is set to get even bigger this year. Companies are collecting huge amounts of information in order to gain powerful, usable, and accurate insights to drive business decisions.
Unfortunately, not all companies are capable of managing such complex operations on their own. Many organizations are struggling to scale data storage efforts, so more and more IT executives are choosing to outsource data management.
Data center outsourcing (DCO) is essentially what it sounds like: contracting a third party to takeover the day-to-day management responsibilities for ongoing computing and storage resources. DCO comes in many forms, but as the roles and responsibilities of IT departments change, the line between data center as a service (DCaaS), infrastructure as a service (IaaS), platform as a service (PaaS), and cloud providers is blurring.
With so many options available for businesses, deciding if and when to choose outsourced data management can be daunting. The decision will vary from company to company, but there are times when it’s more logical to forgo in-house operations in favor of an outsourced solution. Let’s examine some of them.
When In-house Data Management is Too Costly
If internal data management isn’t economical, outsourcing it is an attractive alternative. Whether reducing or controlling costs, colocation or managed dedicated server hosting can replace large-scale, in-house data center investments.
DCO is well-suited for growing businesses, as it allows a company’s data footprint to expand and contract on an as-needed basis. This scalability means that organizations won’t pour money into an infrastructure, only to outgrow it a few years later.
Of course, this doesn’t mean in-house servers will be completely eliminated. Many organizations prefer a combination storage method. For example, they may choose to store data from their CRM software on-premise, while outsourcing services for other data.
When You Lack In-house Expertise
Storage networks are complex infrastructures to build and maintain, and not many SMBs have the in-house skills necessary to operate one. If you don’t have (or can’t afford) the expertise required to serve your business internally, outsourcing is a good option.
Outsourcing allows CIOs to use experts and equipment without hiring a dedicated person to maintain the network, security, and power that big data storage requires. DCO removes the burden of infrastructure upgrades and ongoing management, so any sized business that prefers to avoid these tasks can still benefit from the technology.
When You Must Free Up In-House Resources
Alternately, your company may have in-house experts capable of data management, but wish to leverage their time and skills for other tasks. Reducing IT focus on daily data management can allow them to concentrate on higher level services. Outsourced data management removes IT pain, but still provides the modern technology, scalability, and security benefits businesses require.
When Regulatory Compliance is Required
Storing vast amounts of customer, patient, market, financial, and sales data is becoming more complex. This is due in part to government regulations or industry requirements for compliance, such as HIPAA for health care organizations. Satisfying health insurance accountability acts, credit card standards, and general data regulations are big challenges for companies.
When simply maintaining these compliance standards begins to siphon off IT resources, DCO should be considered. Many outsourced data management providers specialize in niche markets, so businesses can ensure they’re compliant.
When Increased Agility is Necessary
As more businesses rely on mobile, social, and other real-time information to make decisions, IT must facilitate the company’s ability to respond quickly to these changes. However, if businesses have data scattered across multiple sources or silos, consolidating critical data to provide an accurate big picture is a high priority. Creating an in-house data center for management can take years.
Outsourcing gives companies the flexible space and power to expand data efforts sooner, even if only using third-party data management during a transition period while the company builds or upgrades in-house systems.
There are several situations where outsourced data management is a good idea. Traditional in-house infrastructures are posing unique challenges to businesses, such as swiftly aging technology and prohibitive costs. DCO provides companies with a chance to explore management and architecture that is centered on strategy and long term growth. If your business wants to gain greater agility and responsiveness while lowering IT infrastructure costs, then the time to outsource your data management is now.
Jenna Puckett is an associate technology analyst at TechnologyAdvice. She covers topics related to gamification, employee performance, and other emerging tech trends. Connect with her on LinkedIn.
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