Many businesses are contending with exponentially expanding data footprints, which must be managed without similarly scaling IT Infrastructure costs. As Michael Goodenough of CenturyLink recently pointed out in a Forbes article, cloud storage has played a role in many strategies designed to cost effectively deal with this challenge.

"Once companies have eliminated unnecessary data and implemented an information lifecycle management solution, they'll eventually need a data storage solution," Goodenough wrote. "Compliance, data retention requirements, and the rising cost of hardware infrastructure are pushing businesses to explore alternatives to traditional storage. At some point, it makes sense to investigate the realities of a cloud storage solution."

Organizations must make numerous considerations as they prepare for migrating their data. Goodenough suggested companies use a file upload application so the process can be scheduled outside of business hours, limiting the potential impact on daily operations. In addition to effectively expanding the organization's infrastructure, many providers can also add security for sensitive data by employing encryption and data loss prevention solutions. This may give resource-strapped IT departments more confidence in their information remaining safe.

Cloud buyers are also likely to need tools for managing their data as larger varieties of information come into their IT ecosystems. Wall Street & Technology editorial director Greg MacSweeney recently estimated that enterprise data in the financial sector is expanding between 30 and 50 percent annually. In addition, half of that information is unstructured. 

It will become important for companies to consider a wide range of options for efficiently storing and managing data. Successful strategies will need to incorporate efficient solutions in the enterprise data center as well as cloud storage solutions where they make the most sense. As MacSweeney noted, analytics software may be valuable in determining the effectiveness of storage strategies, as these solutions may provide more insight into the total cost of ownership of each option.

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