Distributed data storage in the cloud has emerged as an attractive option for companies with a distributed workforce and offices scattered across multiple locations. Seamlessly giving your employees access to your organization’s files sounds like a perfect solution. But, if you aren’t careful, you can find your cloud storage bill soaring above the clouds.

What can you do to minimize the cost of storing data in the cloud? Read ahead for our tips to keeping your cloud storage bill under control and maximizing the productivity gains from using the cloud.

Cloud storage bill

5 Steps to Keep Cloud Storage Costs Down

1. Determine What Needs to Be in the Cloud

Using the cloud is almost too easy. Your bill depends on how much space your data occupies, so there’s no upper limit to how much data you can put up there. That creates a temptation to simply throw everything into the cloud, forget about it, and just keep paying for more storage. That’s what cloud companies want you to do.

But that careless attitude towards using the cloud will likely lead to an outrageous storage bill. Your company can be smart about its data storage policies by simply setting rules around the type of data that should be stored in the cloud in the first place and making sure to enforce those policies.

Purpose of the Cloud

The benefit of using the cloud is that files become available to everyone regardless of location. But how many of your files actually need to be everywhere at once? Does everyone within the organization need access to all files? Of course not. Data that multiple branches or locations need access to would be a natural fit for cloud storage. What about the rest? Some of that data can probably be moved to secondary storage or even deleted completely if it no longer serves a business or legal purpose.

Local Storage for Temporary Files and Cloud Storage for Final Products

Your offices’ machines have local storage, and you probably still have some servers on hand. Just because you’ve moved into the cloud doesn’t mean that these devices are useless. Local storage is the right choice for working files and drafts.

Employees often create temporary files while they work to help them organize their workflow and their ideas. In addition, programs used by employees also tend to create backups and temporary files in the background without anyone’s knowledge. If you’re purely working from the cloud, then there’s a good chance your employees will be creating lots of unnecessary files and adding to your bill.

Speaking of unnecessary files, let’s talk about the worst kind of data: ROT data.

2. Remove ROT Data

ROT dataROT data is a term that refers to data that is redundant, outdated, or simply trivial. Some estimates say that about 70% of all data in your organization is ROT. Now imagine having all of that in the cloud adding to your monthly expenses. ROT comes from a variety of sources, including excessive backups, poor data management practices, and files that once had purpose but no longer do.

Impact of ROT

Besides raising your monthly storage costs, ROT data hurts your business in other ways. If you’re using legacy software, it slows down file searches because there are simply more and more files on the system. It can cripple data analysis since analysts now need to decide which file is the correct one to work from. Even business intelligence insights are limited since outdated data can produce misleading results.

Preventing ROT

Clearly, ROT data needs to be reckoned with before you embrace the cloud. Best practices dictate that employees delete unnecessary files when a job is finished. Backups should be kept to only the essentials and old ones deleted after a period of time. However, even with these in place, you’ll still run into ROT.

The best way to solve the problem is to use a platform that can quickly determine what data is ROT (in accordance with your governance policies) and what is not. That’s what The Aparavi Platform helps you to do by parsing your company’s whole body of unstructured data, providing key insights into your files and helping you identify the ROT and take action to archive, migrate, quarantine, or defensibly delete unwanted files.

3. Shop Around

As with any service, it pays to shop around. Each cloud computing and cloud storage provider has different rates, and these may vary based on the overall amount of data you plan on uploading. The size of your business is a major variable, as is the kind of data you intend to upload.

Once you have analyzed your data and determined approximately how much of it will end up in the cloud, you can make informed decisions. Choose a provider that fits your needs now but is also scalable for the future. The cost of migrating to another provider later on can outweigh savings that you might get in the short term. More importantly, The Aparavi Platform creates one searchable data lake, so you can find files across multiple storage locations (cloud, core, edge, or end-point) from a single access point.

4. Leverage Multiple Cloud Accounts

Validated Cloud PartnersMore and more software-as-a-service models include cloud storage as an added bonus for customers. Microsoft’s Office 365 and Adobe Creative Cloud are just a couple of prominent examples. How can you utilize these accounts while also using a company-wide cloud solution?

The cloud capacity that comes from software like Creative Cloud or G-Suite is useful, even if you need bulk storage from a larger provider. Your employees, for instance, can be instructed to work on jobs using their own Onedrive or Adobe Cloud folders, minimizing the impact on the pay-as-you-go storage plan.

Instruct workers to only upload finished files to the primary storage system. Take some time to train employees on how to curate their file structures and avoid creating excess ROT data. Once employees know what types of files go where, it is important to make sure your employees are actually abiding by your policies. Aparavi can be used as a QC measure, to check that everyone is adhering to your corporate data governance rules, and locate data across multiple storage locations (cloud, core, hybrid, or end-point) to find misfiled data. Those files can even be traced back to the employee that created or last accessed the file to make sure that employee receives additional training about storage policies.

5. Unify Your Data

The last point might seem like it’s only going to create more chaos for your company. However, it’s not that different from using your computers’ hard drives in unison with the cloud. No matter how you organize your data, there will always be another place it to hide. So, how do you bring it all together to optimize your data storage costs?

That’s where Aparavi comes in. Our Data Intelligence & Automation Platform can scan through all of your data storage locations, including multiple cloud accounts, local machines, and servers. With Aparavi, you’ll be able to easily keep data in check, preventing ROT data from filling up the cloud and making it rain heavy expenses on your company.

Call Aparavi today to find out how we can solve your data storage dilemmas.