Albert Einstein once said, “Any fool can know. The point is to understand.”

Companies are producing increasingly large volumes of data from more sources than ever before. Backing up data to on-premise solutions has served organisations well in the past; however, with the vast amount of data now being produced, from more sources in more locations, companies are under immense pressure to have constant access to this information and manage it securely – to stay relevant, competitive, and drive business value. This is providing businesses with the impetus to migrate to the cloud.

The cloud environment is changing, so businesses need to be aware of their options before moving to the cloud. McAfee research, for example, shows hybrid cloud adoption continues to grow rapidly – from 19% to 57% in the past year alone – as businesses look to differentiate their data and resources across cloud and on-premise environments. Forrester also predicts that cloud adoption will reach 18% of total software spend and 9% of outsourcing spend in Asia Pacific in the next year.

The cloud journey can be the stepping stone that elevates an organisation to reach its business goals, but it can also be filled with pitfalls. Before rushing into a cloud-first approach, it is important to take stock and identify the reasons behind your need to move to the cloud and the steps you need to take to get there.

Not sure where to start? Here are four pointers on the hows and whys of cloud data storage.

  1. Understand and protect

    In the past two months, we have witnessed two global cyberattacks that have caused widespread disruption to business operations; financial losses incurred to restore systems and files, and potential harm to an organisation’s reputation. With the evolution of cyberthreats today, security should be at the core of any business strategy. The best defence to any threat is to understand and plan according to the risks posed to your organisation.

    The first step is to understand your data – you can’t protect yourself if you don’t know what you are protecting. Find out what sensitive information you have in the cloud. Knowing the value of your data in the cloud will allow you to better plan your cybersecurity strategy.

    This also helps you to eliminate risks by protecting sensitive data and removing unnecessary information that makes the organisation vulnerable to cyberthreats. Know what you have in the cloud. The more you know, the faster you can execute your disaster recovery strategy, if and when you are attacked.

  2. Meet compliance regulations

    The burden of protecting third-party data has been thrust upon corporations, not the end user. Regulations and compliance laws around data management in favour of the end user are increasing, with governments across the world enforcing data privacy laws with steep penalties. Businesses must strengthen their compliance by having a complete, unified overview of all of their data.

  3. Be confident in your preparation

    What is your disaster recovery plan and what are some factors that were considered when it was designed? Be prepared for any disaster by equipping your organisation with the knowledge of what’s in the cloud. When you are faced with a data access outage, you will be able to take the necessary actions to safeguard your business and customers effectively and efficiently. Clear insights translate to faster and more confident reactions should your business need a disaster recovery strategy.

  4. Drive competitive advantage

    Moving to the cloud has become a necessary step in today’s business strategy, but companies need to re-evaluate how best to leverage the advantages of the cloud to keep the organisation at the forefront of the industry. Set your company apart by knowing what data you have in the cloud and analysing it to unlock the true value of your assets.

    While the cloud has innumerable benefits for organisations, especially in terms of scalability and cost, companies must not turn their back on an on-premise approach. Ideally, customers will have a data management strategy that is data location agnostic – allowing the location to be aligned with what’s best for the business. Currently, businesses are opting for a hybrid model, leveraging the cloud where it makes sense to, hand-in-hand with on-premise solutions.

Today, a business that can unlock its data, can gain a competitive edge. Knowledge is power. With knowledge, you can power your business for long-term success.