Enterprise Storage Solutions: Take the Cloud Route

Keith Engelbert, Chief Technology Officer, Student Transportation of America
Keith Engelbert, Chief Technology Officer, Student Transportation of America

Keith Engelbert, Chief Technology Officer, Student Transportation of America

Storage as it relates to where our corporate data resides has become more and more decentralized the past couple of years, this presents both opportunities and risk. The old days of an on-premise enterprise SAN and file server infrastructure are being replaced with a plethora of outsourced web and cloud-based solutions disrupting the centralized company repository approach. The centralized repositories are still out there being used but less and less information is being stored there with more data being stored on easy-to-use web platforms.

  Scaling and consuming additional data is on-demand, this is a huge benefit for IT staff to react in real-time to the increasing demands of the organization and stakeholders who require additional resources on short notice​  

The opportunities revolve around ease of use, scalability, cost and, of course, security. For IT departments, deciding on and setting up a corporate account inside a platform is easy and getting easier. Once the file/folder structure is completed, provisioning new and existing users is also easy and getting easier and the onboarding and training materials provided from the platform are generally pretty good. IT staff can be freed up to perform on other projects and functions, a win-win for IT leaders!

Scaling and consuming additional data is on-demand, this is a huge benefit for IT staff to react in real-time to the increasing demands of the organization and stakeholders who require additional resources on short notice. The platforms out there today catering to businesses of all sizes have perfected their platforms by continuing to focus on storage services without venturing into other areas that are non-core, this has been the secret to their success at keeping organizations downtime to a minimum.

When it comes to cost of these platforms, it’s a very competitive environment which benefits organizations looking to move all or partial amounts of their data to a specific platform. Costs become more predictable and easier to budget and forecast which makes every Finance person happy and IT staff relieved they have better visibility into the expense side of the business. The big question most all these platforms have to answer when doing demos of their product is security,this is where some platforms are better than others. By all means, IT Security staff should vet these platforms for their applicable security standards, I truly believe there is a platform that can meet or exceed security requirements of most organizations. From the built-in functionality for SSO, MFA and integrations with third party products to the granular user level security, these platforms have invested a lot of time, money and resources to get it right.

The risks of the platforms revolve around some legacy approaches to IT infrastructure as it relates to on-premise versus cloud-based. Some organizations will never be able to use cloud-based storage platforms, some who are able will forever be hesitant due to the legacy issues mentioned above and innovative IT leaders who have already moved their data workload to the cloud are the ones leading the way to the next generation of enterprise storage.

While security is noted as a benefit to these platforms, it is also a risk. The good news is the platforms have all become very advanced at the security audit, compliance and governance standards needed to meet the demanding requirements of the skeptical enterprise market. They have made it very easy to provide documentation to auditors as more and more IT organizations conduct their own review of internal controls and or larger audits as part of being a publicly traded company, check the box in a big way for IT staff in this area.