It amazes me how plentiful and important data has become to our lives. It truly has become the currency that runs our world. From targeted ads to the growth of big data analytics, information has tremendous value. That’s why I have no doubt your business requires data to survive. For most companies, Online Tech included, efficiency would be severely impacted if we lost all access to our data.
That is why I say, “Data is money.” And where do we keep our money? We all keep our money in banks. Why? Mostly because it secures our money while expanding its availability. Can you imagine keeping 100,000 dollars cash in your office? It’s not secure, but it is immediately available, as long as you’re near your office. How about keeping that money in a safety deposit box at a bank? It’s secure, but not very available. The reason people put that 100,000 dollars in a (global) bank is that it’s both secure (thanks partly to the FDIC) and extremely available. All you need is an ATM card and a checkbook. The equivalent of a bank for data is a data center. That’s why I say that “data is money; money belongs in a bank and data belongs in a data center.”
Let’s consider the rise of banks in the 1800s. Back then, paper currency wasn’t valued. People would trade gold for chickens, clothing, or some other type of property. Nobody really used banks. But when paper currency started to become valuable, people realized they had to put it somewhere safe. That place was the bank. And it took a long time for people to trust banks with their money. Nowadays, you’re considered a fool (or maybe a crook) if you don’t put your money in a bank. There was a time when general opinion was that the opposite was true. My great-grandfather still didn’t trust banks when he died in the 1990s.
Fast forward to today, and you see a similar trend in IT. Companies started realizing the value of their data and needed somewhere safe, and accessible to put it. The data center became the next logical step. Again, that’s why I say “Data is money; money belongs in a bank and data belongs in a data center.”
The government, through the Federal Deposit Insurance Company (FDIC) guarantees access to your money should your bank “go down.” However, as of yet, there is no FDIC for data. So, how do you protect your data from inaccessibility? Disaster recovery. Note that cyber security also plays a role in protecting your data, but that’s for another time. Disaster recovery is the insurance policy for data access. You need that access insurance for your data, it’s the lifeblood of your organization. Without your data, you could be completely out of business. Ask yourself, how long could you survive without access to your data?
And thanks to virtualization, data may also be your actual infrastructure. That virtualized server is data but it’s also your infrastructure, meaning it’s even more valuable. See my post on the mass digitization of IT to learn more about the profound changes virtualization will have on IT.
Once you (and your leadership) acknowledge data is money and the need to protect it, you gain a higher degree of respect for your data. And until there’s an FDIC for data (don’t hold your breath) it’s up to you to assure access to your data by putting it in a data center and by backing that up with a sound disaster recovery plan.