Unified storage: connecting enterprises to today’s mobile workforce

The inflexibility of legacy on-premise storage has driven a growth in the file, sync and share (FSS) market, especially with BYOD on the rise.

There is a clear need in the market for the ability to securely access and share data, otherwise users are driven to uncontrolled and unnecessarily risky practices.

Business users expect high performance access to company information from anywhere in the world, at anytime and from any device. The confidentiality of this data is of paramount importance to the enterprise and as a result security is at the forefront of every CIO’s agenda.

But security shouldn’t mean prohibited access. Enterprise organisations need to ensure they can store and access this data even while on the go.

Any FFS platform should be intertwined with the company’s storage environment otherwise businesses risk damaged or duplicated files.

In fact users don’t have remote access to the corporate server any data shared on the go will be saved and stored on remote devices, leaving it unprotected.

>See also: How to choose the best type of file sync and share solution for your business

Many employees will also resort to using unauthorised methods such as the public cloud, which can result in slow and inefficient work processes, as users have to constantly upload and download documents.

Essentially, organisations need a data centre on the go in order to fulfill the needs of today’s modern, connected workforce.

The connected workforce

We live in a connected world, with a generation which has grown up using youtube, smartphones and tablets. Today’s millennial generation expect to be able to work from any connected device, from laptops and phones to smart watches and tablets.

In fact, in a recent survey 98% of respondents claimed they require access to documents whilst outside of the office. This included needing access to data while on the go and remote access from their own devices.

Organisations not only face a demand from today’s generation for more flexible and fluid ways of working, but many businesses operate from multiple sites with remote and mobile workforces.

Employees need to be able to share and access data so they can work collaboratively with their team and partners, without compromising on security and privacy.

Additionally, businesses need to think about the sheer volume of data generated from connected devices and offer unmatched capacity.

Handling data growth

According to IDC data is doubling in size every two years with the predicated total amount topping 44 Zettabytes by 2020.

>See also: Why the future of storage is software-defined

With the growth in connected devices we are generating more data through images, documents and videos, not only in our personal life through social media tools but also in the corporate world.

Businesses can’t close the door on the way consumers use IT, so they either need to keep up, or be ahead of the curve in order to attract top talent and use technology as a business advantage.

As a result, we are seeing the corporate world integrate with new and emerging consumer trends, such as social media, video blogging and even taking selfies to create a corporate persona.

For decades the go-to sharing technology has been e-mail, then it was USB sticks and more recently the public cloud. But none of these are the right tool for the job.

Many storage and FSS solutions exist for individual requirements, which businesses will typically cobble together in a costly and inefficient way to form their IT environment.

Businesses often rely on multiple solutions for storage, data management, file sharing and security rather than one unified solution.

This leaves a disconnect as individual solutions are designed for specific requirements and will often not work in tandem with each other.

As a result, we are seeing many employees who want remote access trapped by traditional storage and security solutions so they will often resort to emailing sensitive data or using the public cloud to bypass these restrictions.

>See also: How the EU’s unified data law will transform storage systems

When it comes to the enterprise, capacity and file sharing go hand in hand, but when organisations look at their FSS strategies, they often only consider the implications of security and access.

This is reasonable for SMB and consumers, but enterprise organisations need to ensure they have greater capacity and can not only share data, but store and save while on the go, or they risk losing the value.

As businesses start to share and collaborate with more data than ever enterprises need to capture this.

Unified storage for the enterprise

Traditional FSS strategies can only solve half the problem. Despite being able to share data, users don’t have remote access to any data stored within the company’s firewall.

Therefore, not only is storage hindered, but there is a limit to how much data users can access and store remotely.

Enterprises with a pool of data need to allow and encourage remote access in order to create a more efficient and productive workforce. Security is still a priority but it should integrate with storage, capacity and remote access.

Organisations need a unified solution, which delivers high performance and multi-site collaboration at LAN speed to support business continuity and disaster recovery, as well as mobile access.

>See also: The digital data revolution: top 5 storage predictions for 2016

Unified storage is a relatively new concept but it can ensure organisations have the ability to securely and seamlessly connect today’s mobile workforce to files sorted within the corporate data centre.

Any enterprise organisation with multiple sites or a mobile workforce should incorporate their FSS strategy into their storage environment to provide users with the ability to store and access corporate data.

Enterprises need to rethink their FSS strategies and evaluate not only security concerns, but capacity and access in order to create a streamlined and more efficient remote IT environment, built specifically for today’s modern workforce.

Secure remote access alone is no longer enough.

The enterprise than can combine security requirements with the ability to remotely access any corporate data (even from internal servers) and can handle growing capacity requirements, will be able to truly leverage the benefits of today’s connected world.

Sourced by Geoff Barrall, CTO, Nexsan

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Nick Ismail

Nick Ismail is a former editor for Information Age (from 2018 to 2022) before moving on to become Global Head of Brand Journalism at HCLTech. He has a particular interest in smart technologies, AI and...

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