Going Green: How Reducing Your Data Center Footprint Can Help Your Business

How much do consumers actually care about your environmental impact? We've traditionally associated environmental damage with industrial enterprises.However, the recent rise of cryptocurrency and NFTs has made consumers more aware of the damage that data can have on the environment. Today's consumer is 88% more likely to view your business in a positive light if you support environmental issues. One way you can show your commitment is to reduce your data center footprint.

How Big Is Your Footprint?

Your data center footprint can be measured in a couple of ways. One definition strictly looks at the physical space that your data takes up in a data center.However, this is not the most useful metric since data centers are constantly upgrading their hardware so that they can fit more storage into smaller spaces.Megabytes used to take up entire rooms, now centers can cram terabytes into drives the size of a stick of gum.

Since you have no control over how a data center stores your data, a better approach is to look at the actual emissions generated by data centers per unit of data stored. While this is also subject to change as data centers implement upgrades, your enterprise can actually control this variable.

So, just how much does your company's data cost the planet? To know the answer, you have to know your data. Proper data management allows you to accurately measure how much data your organization is responsible for. Once you have a clear understanding of your files, you can calculate your data's environmental footprint.  

The Environmental Cost of Data

The other half of the equation is the actual environmental impact of your data. Estimates vary, but all of them agree that when you opt for cloud storage, you're adding to your carbon footprint. Saving data on a local hard disk or on your company servers can cost as little as0.00005 kWh for each gigabyte, which is a wildly minuscule amount. The cloud, however, can require as much as 7 kWh.

As more enterprises shift to cloud storage, this needs to be taken into consideration. Data centers consume as much energy as the entire aviation industry nowadays. While it may be convenient to offload all of your data to cloud storage, it's more environmentally friendly to keep your data local. How can you balance these two forms of storage to minimize your environmental impact?

It's extremely important that you know where your data resides. You also need tools that let you move data easily without losing track of it. With a smart, automated platform, it's possible to keep track of all of your files and know exactly where they are stored. This helps you use your cloud storage judiciously, which will help you save money on your cloud storage bills.

Reducing Your Environmental Impact Through Data Management

Good data management makes it possible to allocate your storage efficiently, but it also helps you to limit the total amount of data your organization produces.Consider what environmentalists have long told us to do: Reduce, Reuse,Recycle. There's a reason that “reduce” goes first, it's by far the most effective way to slash your impact.

In order to reduce your data load, you have to first know what data you have. Most organizations are completely unaware of their total data volume because they lack the tools to discover data in the first place. The constant influx of data into our systems leads to older files being buried beneath incoming information. Dark data lurks beneath the surface of your organization and can greatly increase your data footprint without your knowledge.

Once you know your data, you can start to make better decisions about what data you need to keep and where to store it. That last point is another way you can improve your company's environmental data costs.

Choose Environmentally Friendly Storage Providers

Cloud storage is necessary for modern businesses, especially in the wake of a massive shift to working at home. However, not all storage providers are created equal.Google has made significant efforts to reduce its environmental impact by buying heaps of renewable energy. Meanwhile, Amazon has done very little to improve transparency and overall greenness. Choose wisely, and your customers will appreciate your efforts.

Today's consumers care about the planet. Your company should too. Take the first step towards clean, green data by implementing a smart data management platform. Try now. Get a data assessment and see how we can help you reduce your data footprint.