I’ll admit it – Cloud is cool. Want to see my vacation pictures? I’ll send you a link. Maybe I want to listen to my CD collection while I’m staying at a hotel – it’s in the Cloud. New server? No problem – check back in 20 minutes. Just about everything related to IT can now be purchased “as a service” – software, platforms, infrastructure, storage, etc. Not only is it convenient, but also elastic. Most discussions about the Cloud center around security and costs, and rightly so, but this one does not.
Not so long ago a full and/or poorly-kept records center was a clear sign of trouble. The transition from traditional paper records to imaging and digital storage on shared drives held the promise of tidying up all of that disorganized, inaccessible information into neat, searchable folder hierarchies. In actuality, it often just exacerbated and enhanced the disorganization because it was not governed properly and was even more out-of-sight/out-of-mind than the basement records center.
When shared drives filled up and became unmanageable we migrated to SharePoint and content management systems that offered fresh hope for organizations because documents could have metadata and would reside in a database where better searching and categorization could be applied. But, as with the first transition, unless properly managed, the disorganization became worse because of sheer convenience, and an additional layer of abstraction.
Now we are in the midst of another transition from on-premise to cloud-based content management where yet another physical constraint has been all but removed. The IT staff won’t be requesting another server rack and you may not have anyone telling you how big the database is getting. Storage seems limitless because someone else is managing it. In the same way that freely running water from our taps makes it difficult to think about conservation, the elasticity of cloud storage will tempt users to store much more than they need to.
The lesson here is probably obvious – the same decisions we used to make about paper documents – “Do I really need to keep this” – apply even more in the cloud era. And, it needs to start now, before it gets out of hand.
Just in case you’re not convinced, let’s look at some numbers...
Author: Warren Bean, Senior Sales Engineer at Zasio Enterprises, Inc.