Globally, the volume of data being created today is exploding – it’s doubling every two years and the pace is only expected to increase. By 2025, data is expected to double in size every 12 hours, with more of our systems and processes embedding it into their operations.

Boardrooms across the country are now concerned with protecting (privacy and security), visualising and interpreting (business intelligence), accessing (cloud computing) and leveraging their data to drive better customer experiences and innovation. According to McKinsey and Co’s Australia: Seizing opportunities from the Fourth Industrial Revolution, this data-fuelled digital innovation could contribute between $140 billion and $250 billion to the country’s GDP by 2025.

However, there’s one part of this equation that often goes undiscussed, particularly in the c-suite, and that’s where, why and how you are storing all of this information.

If the volume of data being created is increasing, one would expect the cost of storing it to also grow exponentially. If you’re a business leader it’s time to sit up and take notice. The economics of data and its storage have long been the attention of the IT department. It’s time to put it on the boardroom agenda.

When the c-suite is at the helm of data storage-related efforts, organisations have a competitive advantage. Should that responsibility sit with just the CTO or CIO? Perhaps, when new technologies or solutions are being explored. But for the most part, a company needs to consider data within its corporate strategy, and the only person accountable for that is the CEO.

While the CEO should stay out of the gory details (leave that to the CTOs, CIOs and IT managers), it’s crucial they understand how the use and storage of data can support the company’s strategic outcomes – it’s the only way to effectively lead the organisation to its intended vision.

What should business leaders focus on when linking data storage and corporate strategies?

Data sovereignty

Decide where your data needs to reside. Are you legally required to store it on premise? Can you use a hybrid model? Or could you take this data to the cloud? If you choose the latter, ensure you’re aware of where your cloud provider’s servers are physically stored. More ANZ businesses are looking for solutions that provide data sovereignty and in the age of the Notifiable Data Breaches Scheme and GDPR, this could be a key decision for your business.

Data governance

Your company’s digital wealth requires consistent, company-wide information management, which is directly linked to where you are storing your data and ensuring those servers are secure. Inconsistent data management can really affect your company’s ability to meet its business goals. Poor quality data can increase costs and siloed data can affect decision making. Furthermore, unauthorised access to your information can land you in hot water with regulators, customers and business units. Strong data governance means you know what is really happening in your organisation, reducing business and compliance risk.

Business operations

With all of that data coming in and out of your organisation, you want a storage solution that provides ultra-high reliability, maximum data-retrieval performance and optimal cost-efficiency – irrespective of where your data is stored. The goal is to ensure your business operations are never interrupted by poor data flows. Should an employee need to access information from a server, they want it to be painless, quick and easy to navigate. The primary factor in storage performance is the speed at which data can be read or written (latency).

It’s important that your IT leads choose a solution that will meet your business needs, and this requires them to pay attention. It’s like buying a house and knowing how far it is to the office, how many highways are nearby and if you can add that extension. Given the exponential growth of data, opt for a solution that will meet your requirements, now and into the future.

Business resilience

Perhaps the most important feature any CEO wants to know of their IT system is that it will be durable when faced with potential issues, to help ensure business continuity. Data is resilient when tools and systems can automatically detect and mitigate problems that could result in data loss – that also includes compromised data. Backup and archiving are critical to achieving robust resilience. Modern flash storage solutions can help with this continuity – virtually eliminating any downtime, whether planned or unplanned. Keep your staff online, and well equipped to perform at their best, by ensuring your storage solutions match this experience.

Without the appropriate enterprise storage set up, your organisation will be crippled in the face of the data explosion. Ensure you prepare now, before it’s too late.