Data storage apps and services for the 2018 enterprise: Mobile storage selection and secure data access

By Jasmine Henry

An illustration of a person holding a phone that has a data storage app that can hold loads of data

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There are many new cutting-edge data storage apps and services available — and for good reason. Not only do these allow users to get quick and accurate insights, but they also allow for high-volume data storage, multi-platform compatibility and improved security — which are just a few of their benefits. But when considering new roles for data storage in any organization, it’s important to take a look at where exactly mobile fits into ever-growing enterprise data demands and the growing role of mobile security, too.

When making the decision to move to this type of storage, mobile leaders must also reconcile user access requirements with data security risks. And this doesn’t even begin to mention the challenge of data fragmentation across apps and services, which can contribute to operational costs and complexity and make it difficult to achieve resiliency planning and mitigate business risks.

By 2019, Gartner predicts business users will produce more analysis than data scientists due to the growth of self-service analytics. However, enterprises need a solid mobile data stance before they can capitalize on the potential advantage of emerging tech like self-service business intelligence and AI-powered mobile experiences. An effective approach to mobile data access, management and security is a must.

The cutting-edge of data storage apps and services

As the volume and variety of business data have increased dramatically in recent years, the costs of cloud storage have decreased significantly. According to insideBigData, the “size of the digital universe” is doubling every other year, with machine-generated data growing 50-times faster than traditional business data sources. The right data storage solution for the mobile enterprise is clearly in the cloud, but understanding which one is often less clear.

The best solutions, writes PCMag’s Daniel Brame, are accessible, traceable, secure and support the workflow of your organization. Enterprises put business requirements before features or vendors, as they typically need mobile data storage solutions that address storage volume, access controls, effective online access, compliance and other criteria. Here are the most important things enterprises today must take into account when considering solutions:

1. High-volume, unstructured data storage

Tackling the problem of data fragmentation head-on requires organizations to secure a solution that can meet the needs of the most demanding users and unify data storage in the cloud, such as object storage. An object storage service can accommodate a broad array of both structured and unstructured data from digital content, IoT devices and analytics. It can also meet user requirements with a connected mobile instance to fight fragmented storage.

2. Access controls and identity management

At the application level, there must be controls for ensuring the right people have access to the right data. The best data storage apps and services provide secure access, folders and sharing capabilities for team collaboration and provide controlled options for secure sharing with external parties.

3. Security, compliance and encryption

Generally, the leading services, apps and instances provide enterprise-grade encryption of data in both rest and transit and comply with industry-specific regulatory requirements.

4. Multi-platform compatibility

Given the growth in both bring-your-own-device (BYOD) and choose-your-own-device (CYOD) policies, data storage apps and services should provide multiplatform compatibility to ensure positive user experiences across operating systems.

5. Offline access and sync

While continual access is almost certainly a clear requirement, the right app or service should take a sufficiently nuanced approach to offline data synchronization, ranked by Danny Fundinger, managing consultant at IBM Global Business Services, as one of the most crucial challenges in app development. Access functionality should include offline data modification and shared data sync, as well as manual sync features.

Understanding where mobile fits into enterprise data demands

People and process are two aspects of the mobile data storage problem that shouldn’t be overlooked. In addition to user access, it’s important to define requirements around role. Mobile storage solutions should address the type of data and analysis users need to store according to role, as well as role-based device habits.

A process-based approach can further clarify requirements based on the sensitivity of data accessed, the volume of data required for enterprise processes and process-based requirements for both speed of access and offline modification.

Protecting data despite increased mobile security threats

For many organizations, the right solution may not be the enterprise-class version of a cloud storage solution designed for consumers, since third-party cloud services can be risky to use. This concern may necessitate the use of a proprietary or enterprise-focused mobile data storage apps connected to cloud storage.

There is clearly much to consider when determining the best and most appropriate apps to use for data storage. Viewing them holistically to account for data access, management and security will ensure that an enterprise comes out ahead with their mobile storage solutions.

Written By

Jasmine Henry

Jasmine E. Henry, MS

Jasmine is a commentator on emerging technology and freelance writer in the greater Seattle area. With a professional background in analytics, big data, mobility, and security that spans both the for-profit and government sectors, her professional interests include artificial intelligence…

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