Paul Timms, MD of MCSA, discusses the top 5 tech trends that are being used now by leading enterprises to tackle data management

Flexible capacity storage options such as IaaS and Storage as a Service (SaaS) are enabling organisations to move away from capex investment to models whereby they pay for the storage consumed on a monthly, quarterly or annual basis

In an increasingly competitive marketplace, the drive to increase productivity and efficiency is changing how organisations meet their evolving IT needs. Here are 5 trends that are transforming the data management landscape.

Collaborative approaches

Businesses are continuing to move away from traditional top down IT structures with hierarchical governance to modernise their data environment. Enterprises are increasingly embracing multiple ways of working and choosing to adopt a consultative approach with the aim of smarter, more efficient operations in order to maintain their competitive edge.

>See also: Data management challenges and opportunities in 2018

Rather than dictating which tools and apps staff can use, and how they should be deployed, we are seeing more and more companies inviting those on the ground to contribute to how they can best work.

2. Bring your own device (BYOD)

As this more flexible approach gains traction, BYOD is reaching maturity and becoming a key trend in terms of data management. It no longer matters if an individual has a preference for an iPhone over an Android phone, or a Windows device instead of an iMac. Organisations are benefitting from increased staff productivity and reduced hardware costs.

Robust and effective data security measures are, of course, imperative in this increasingly multi-device environment. With large scale enterprise providers such as vmware’s Airwatch and Microsoft’s Intune now available, there are viable solutions for IT departments to secure and manage devices and data.

3. IT outsourcing

As an organisation’s IT infrastructure becomes ever more diverse, outsourcing is growing in popularity to enable a business to get the best from its technology. Organisations are outsourcing data management functions to streamline their operations and reduce their costs. GDPR has put data retention, access, confidentiality and security in the spotlight – building in security, resilience and disaster recovery is all part of a data management solution.

Managed service providers have the capability to integrate and support an increasingly varied technology mix. With the increase in cybercrime and data security high on the agenda, they offer round the clock monitoring of services to ensure any issues are rapidly dealt with and to keep everything running smoothly.

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With reduced downtime, robust back-up systems, day-to-day support from the experts and advice on how to make the best use of the technology available, organisations can concentrate on the productivity of their own teams, becoming more efficient and better equipped for the future.

4. New options for data storage

The advent of cloud and a host of other new technologies is changing in the way organisations approach data storage. We have seen a large growth in uptake of our Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) solution where customers can move to offsite infrastructure and pay for only what they use. As well as cloud-based solutions, businesses can also adopt pay per use data storage models using hardware located on their own site, with options to buy at the end of the arrangement.

Hybrid solutions are an increasingly popular option, which combine the flexibility of private cloud storage for less sensitive data with the security of on-site storage for business-critical and/or sensitive data.

Similarly, organisations are implementing tiered storage – whereby different categories of data are assigned to various types of storage media – as a means of adopting the most appropriate technology to suit the data being stored and to reduce total storage cost. Flash technology is evolving and it is likely that Flash memory will be upgraded to boost system performance. As costs continue to fall, we expect to see more data transferred to reliable Flash storage.

A counter to this is the emergence of in-built storage. Many customers are opting for storage built directly into their hardware infrastructure, thereby removing the need for separate storage devices.

In addition to investing in new data storage infrastructure, Software Defined Storage (SDS) allows organisations to become more agile in how they take advantage of virtualisation without requiring the purchase of new hardware. It enables the use of multiple types of storage hardware to provide a simple to use platform which can easily be upgraded. This can be an ideal solution for organisations looking to integrate existing IT equipment with new storage capacity.

The advent and maturity of SDS and widespread use of hypervisors means it’s easier to mix storage/ servers and network vendors, giving buyers greater flexibility to suit their individual data storage needs than ever before and the ability to shop around.

5. As a service offerings

IT service providers, like MCSA, are expanding the number of ‘as a service’ offerings and it’s now commonplace for organisations to spread some IT costs via monthly subscriptions. Organisations are increasingly choosing to manage their data storage requirements on this basis.

Flexible capacity storage options such as IaaS and Storage as a Service (SaaS) are enabling organisations to move away from capex investment to models whereby they pay for the storage consumed on a monthly, quarterly or annual basis.

This enables organisations to scale up and down within a business landscape that is ever-changing. Similarly, opex leasing allowing customers to spread the cost of their storage over its life. These options are allowing businesses data sovereignty, while also offering a choice of hardware and management software.