How do I choose a data management provider?

How do I choose a data management provider?

posted in Backup & RecoveryBusiness ContinuityCloud Archiving ● 28 Mar 2019

Organisations are enlisting the help of data management providers to help them protect and exploit their data. But how do you know which provider is right for you?

According to Experian’s 2018 global data management benchmark report, data is no longer being thought of as an IT resource, but as a monetised business asset*. More organisations are adding dedicated roles such as a chief data officer (CDO) to their structure. The need to manage massive volumes of information is creating a burden too heavy for existing processes, which means that spending on infrastructure and technology updates is on the increase. And with fresh horror stories about ransomware and data breaches making headlines on a disturbingly regular basis, organisations are scampering to address their data management concerns – where the data should be stored, how it should be protected, and how to extract the most value from it.

While this pressure makes it tempting to go with whichever service provider comes along first, a more circumspect approach can serve your organisation much better in the long run. With more than 20 years’ experience in protecting and managing our customers’ data, we at Redstor recommend considering the following factors when choosing whom to trust with your data.

1. Customer experience (CX)

While data is the commodity here, people are the conduit. You want a provider whose team grasps your business needs immediately and can answer your questions in detail, even at the first meeting. You want someone to check in several times a year to evaluate your data estate and pricing structure. You want a provider that owns the full technology stack and, as such, is accountable for everything from major new features to the smallest bug fix.

Most importantly, you want someone who will come through for you in a crisis. After all, which one is more likely to put you first: a faceless global organisation that only corresponds over the internet, or a specialist data management provider that will provide person-to-person support when you need it most?

Questions to ask:

  • Can this provider customise their offering to my organisation’s unique requirements?
  • Will this provider assist my organisation promptly in a disaster scenario?
  • Am I willing to commit to a long-term partnership with this provider?

2. Security

Whether you’re backing up, archiving, or looking to mine your data for insights, access to your data must be secure. Your chosen provider needs to have strong data encryption in place, and in accordance with compliance regulations, only you as the customer should have access to the encryption key. Make sure the provider you select has a proven background of keeping safe customers’ account information as well as their data.

Questions to ask:

  • Does this provider use the latest cryptographic protocols to secure my data?
  • What measures are in place to ensure the integrity of my data
  • Does this provider make use of security certificates?

3. Roadmap

The data management landscape is rapidly expanding to include not just backups but also fast and efficient recovery options as well as data discovery tools. The provider you select should prove their capacity for research and innovation. Ask yourself if there is a focus on anticipating your future needs and developing solutions to address them before they start causing your business pain. Look for a provider that releases frequent software updates and offers value-adds like early access for power users. In addition, scrutinise your potential provider’s roadmap to ensure that they show an awareness of industry trends and a passion for continuously improving service to customers.

Questions to ask:

  • What does this provider offer me other than backups?
  • Is this provider keeping pace with developments in the industry?
  • Will this provider’s recovery options serve me when any disaster strikes?

4. Cost

Budget constraints tend to make pricing the primary consideration in many cases. Make sure the feature set justifies the cost at the provider you select. An off-the-shelf solution may look economical, but watch out for so-called grey charges – unplanned but crucial costs that may be hidden from the initial quote, such as upgrade fees or per-hour support. Avoid unpleasant surprises by choosing a provider with a single, transparent, predictable monthly cost per gigabyte of data – and unlimited support. Disasters don’t keep office hours.

Questions to ask:

  • Is this provider being up-front about what exactly I will pay?
  • Does this provider offer economies of scale (or other customer incentives)?
  • Will this provider enable me to automate my processes and free up my IT team?

The bottom line

Given that data management is a long-term investment and that your data estate will only grow over time, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that pricing is not the only factor that matters. The right choice of a data management provider will mean the difference between endless frustration and short-lived capital outlay, and a partnership of trust that continuously delights you with new features and service excellence.

*  http://www.experian.com.vn/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/2018-global-data-management-benchmark-report.pdf

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