Why IT Should Start Planning for Storage-as-a-Service and Backup-as-a-Service
A recent report by IDC shows that Q1 2013 was the worst quarter for worldwide PC shipments since 1994, and it marked the fourth consecutive quarter of year-on-year shipment declines. Many industry experts concluded that tablets and smartphones were the culprit, as they took away a big chunk of consumers’ IT spending. Indeed, the traditional bulky and ugly desktop PC, Laptop, and Notebook are all undergoing a metamorphosis to try and win back the deflected consumers by offering ultraportable laptops and laptop-convertible tablets. Not only are these alternatives beautifully slim and sleek in design, but they also boot up in a matter of seconds and attract consumers by the functionality of their brilliant touch-screens. Yes, times have changed!
Many enterprise-sized IT organizations already have tablets and smartphones listed as supported devices in their IT service catalogs, and have consequently updated their support capabilities and management processes for these new “cool” devices which continue to grow in popularity. In this post, I’d like to discuss why IT should also start to offer enterprise level Cloud Storage and Backup services.
There are 3 key drivers that have pushed users towards Cloud Storage and Backup services:
- Smart Mobile Devices with Small Internal Storage. It is not uncommon to have a presentation slidedeck, containing images and graphics, that exceeds 10MB. As most of the tablets and ultraportable laptops have only 256GB SSD or 64GB flash memory, the vast amount of data consumers use today would quickly surpass these constraints. Moreover, many of the tablets do not support external memory cards. This means that for a majority of these mobile and internet-connected devices, the most convenient and fastest way to store documents is to upload to a Public Cloud Storage environment. Similarly, it is convenient to backup these mobile devices to the Public Cloud automatically. In fact, many of the smart mobile devices come integrated with Cloud Storage and Cloud Backup services out of the box, and they are usually free to sign-up. Because of the ease of use, many users try out these Public Cloud services and once hooked, they will likely use more than the free storage capacity provided.
- Ease of Sharing and Collaboration. Many consumers are using and tapping into social, community and collaboration networks for both their work and personal use. As more people share and collaborate, a greater number of documents and files are created. As documents and files increase in number and size, it becomes inefficient to track changes and share documents over email. Fortunately, or not, smart mobile devices come pre-installed with Public Cloud Storage applications bundled with free storage. Users can share documents and folders with other users and user groups of their choice, making it easy to interact with individuals and organizations. There are also many social and collaboration applications from the software’s App Stores that users can download or sign-up for. These come bundled with their own online storage or are integrated with a Public Cloud Storage service provider. Public Cloud Storage and Backup services are not just targeting the mobile devices. Traditional desktops and laptops can also upload and synchronize files and documents to the Cloud.
- Mobile Applications Integrated with the Cloud Storage & Backup Services. There are a ton of applications within these App Stores that cater to every possible work, leisure and lifestyle need of a user. Mobile app developers are pushing out applications that are integrated with Cloud Service Providers. Sometimes users are unaware that their data and documents are being uploaded and synchronized with the Cloud Storage and Backup services provided.
As you can see, Public Cloud Storage and Backup service providers have made it simple and expedient to consume its services. Enterprises need to be aware of Public Cloud services usage and adoption trends, and need to identify appropriate controls and measures. Here, I list 2 business justifications:
- When employees leave the company, company information assets may leave with them through their use of the Public Cloud. There may not be a copy in the company’s file server or documentation repository.
- It is not unlikely that an employee will have multiple accounts with different Cloud Storage and Backup service providers. As such, he/she may lose track of where they have stuck their documents and information and as a result, have to spend valuable time looking for it. Or, they may be able to locate the confidential document they were looking for, but forget that there is another copy of it in the Cloud.
A solution to the above challenges is for IT to offer Private Cloud Storage and Backup services which would help to resolve the security and compliance concerns as well as ensure that employees store company’s information assets in known and trusted Cloud storage. At this year’s EMC World, attendees have plenty of opportunities to hear and learn about implementing Private Cloud Storage for their organization.