Published on November 9, 2023, 6:51 am

The use of cloud collaboration services, such as Microsoft SharePoint (the storage and sharing platform used by Office 365 and Microsoft Teams), rapidly accelerated at the start of the pandemic. However, this has led to a new challenge for businesses: rising data volumes and cost overruns due to the lack of options to archive files in many collaboration tools.

Without a solution in place, businesses are finding themselves paying for storage overages for data that they’re no longer using and should have archived. This is particularly troubling for Singaporean businesses already grappling with inflation, supply chain issues, labor shortages, and cyber threats.

To address this issue, businesses can adopt third-party solutions that automatically archive legacy data from cloud services. However, many businesses are not aware of this option. Andy Ng, Vice President and Managing Director for Asia South and the Pacific region at Veritas, explains that at the start of the pandemic, companies embraced cloud collaboration tools to empower employees with mobility solutions and minimize work disruptions. As a result, the number of SharePoint accounts shot up to over 200 million by the end of 2020.

However, tools like SharePoint lack a native archive function, causing data created since the advent of the pandemic to stack up in “hot” storage. This means that some companies are paying to keep every Teams chat from every employee from two years ago on the most expensive tier of storage.

To understand the difference between hot and cold storage: hot storage offers fast and easy access to data using premium hardware with optimized connectivity. On the other hand, cold storage uses cheaper media like tapes for compliance purposes where data is stored offline and rarely accessed.

Andy Ng emphasizes that it is crucial to keep collaboration tools affordable by bringing in third-party archiving solutions. These solutions can move unused data to cold storage while keeping it searchable and accessible to businesses. Cloud data management tools can also help move archive-ready data to more cost-effective storage tiers without compromising privacy or sovereignty requirements.

According to Veritas, businesses that move from paying for extra capacity in SharePoint to archiving their data to more affordable storage tiers can save as much as 22 times on storage costs. For example, the quoted cost of $676 for 100TB of Azure Storage 3-year Reserved Capacity in a cool tier is significantly lower than the typical price of $153 per TB per month for SharePoint overages.

In conclusion, businesses need to be proactive in managing their data storage needs and costs. Adopting third-party archiving solutions can help mitigate the risk of ballooning storage expenses while ensuring data accessibility and compliance. By making strategic choices, businesses can optimize their cloud collaboration investments and focus on driving growth and innovation.

Note: This article first appeared on FutureCIO.

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