DATA STORAGE although we believe that digital data will last indefinitely, we have no way of knowing how long it will survive on storage media. This is because every material object has a life, and that life, as well as performance, deteriorates over time. Not to add, the obvious concern that emerges here is how will someone ensure that their critical data remains accessible at all times? This is a difficult subject, as certain storage media, such as floppy discs, have become obsolete as a result of technological advancement. As a result, data recorded on a floppy disc will be lost permanently if it is not transferred to another storage device promptly. The same is true for newer computers that are unable to access floppy discs.
The same is true for CDs and DVDs, as today’s laptops lack a built-in CD/DVD-ROM drive. However, unlike the floppy disc, the situation is not as awful because a user can still utilize CD or DVD by using an external CD/DVD ROM.
So, what are the many types of long-term data storage options?
Three crucial points for long-term data storage must be remembered here. The storage medium must meet the following requirements:
- Affordable or overhead will grow with time.
- Reliable, whether data is accessed frequently or not.
- As secure as daily operational data, if not more so.
With all this in mind, small businesses should consider these options:
- SSD technology and On-Site Backup Server
Nothing is more secure than being able to access data from a fixed location. Many small firms are implementing on-site backup systems with many SSDs as Solid-State Drives (SSDs) become more widely available. These servers typically employ “dummy” terminals that are only connected to the server. As a result, the server and the terminals are unable to connect to the Internet. This protects data against attackers at the expense of time spent producing backups and the risk of on-site disasters such as water and fire destroying your equipment and data.
Why choose an SSD over a traditional hard drive? To begin with, it has a longer lifespan than traditional drives, which normally wear out after three years of use. SSDs also have fewer moving parts because they don’t need traditional spinning “platters” to store data. An SSD can last ten years or more under ideal conditions, with no hardware faults. SSDs are great for long-term data storage because of this.
- Digital Optical Drives
A current DVD has a maximum size of 4.5 gigabytes, and a Blu-ray disc has a maximum capacity of 35 gigabytes, which is sufficient for many small enterprises. A DVD can last decades if it is properly cared for. However, storing data on DVDs has several drawbacks.
Discs compound efforts as a small organization grow, as separate teams, departments, and divisions may have to handle their backup efforts. This method is inefficient and increases the risk of data loss or theft.
- Conventional RAID Array
RAID technology has been utilized in large enterprises for decades. RAID stands for Redundant Array of Independent Disks, and it’s a popular way to combine hard drives to expand storage capacity. RAID, when properly configured, may ensure that essential data is backed up even when users produce it for the first time. Though RAID is a well-known backup strategy, subsequent technological advancements have exposed its flaws. If an emergency occurs, a RAID array can be a single point of failure, causing damage to several hard drives. RAID is difficult to set up and optimize, thus it relies heavily on in-house expertise, which many small enterprises lack.
- Off-Site Cloud Storage
Off-site cloud storage is becoming more popular for long-term data storage. Data stored “in the cloud” is stored in off-site data centers, assuring data protection. You can retrieve data in a granular manner and have access to prior versions of each file, as well as restore data remotely from any device with an Internet connection.
Because your storage expands with your organization, a third-party cloud provider helps you keep expenses down by requiring no in-house equipment or hiring. Furthermore, employing a third-party cloud service gives you access to IT professionals who can ensure that your data is backed up as needed and maintained securely at all times.
Overall, for small organizations, the cloud is the best option for long-term data storage. When you work with a reputable cloud provider, you can concentrate on what you do best while leaving the intricacies of data storage and security to a partner you can rely on.
- External Hard Drives
External hard drives are a great way to keep crucial data safe and accessible for a longer amount of time. All you have to do now is copy the relevant files to the attached disc drive in the same way that we copied them to another folder. The major storage media is generally referred to as hard discs.
Wireless hard drives have lately been introduced, even though they have wired connectivity. They normally live for eight years at the most. Their lifespan, on the other hand, is mostly determined by the manufacturer and the type of use. Eight years isn’t a set amount of time; instead, if used properly, they can continue to work for any longer.
- Flash Drives
USB drives are another name for flash drives. They cost more than an external hard disc or optical storage drive at the moment. However, because they don’t have any moving parts and aren’t as flimsy as CDs, users can rely on them for a longer lifespan.
Manufacturers of USB flash drives say that their devices can keep data for at least ten years. However, according to tech evaluations, if they are kept unpowered and idle for an extended period, their memory cells can degenerate.