Money isn’t the only thing that makes the world go round. It’s data. We need data to connect with our customers, identify gaps in company infrastructure and measure overall health, and direct strategies. It’s no surprise that the data storage industry is expanding by 50 percent every year, impacting workflow processes in every industry. For instance, just the healthcare industry alone generates around 30 percent of the world’s total data volume.
But with growing pressure from outside forces, the need to incorporate sustainable data practices into company operations is an evolving priority.
“Companies must care about environmental sustainability for a host of reasons — consumer demand, legislative and investor pressure, talent retention and to ensure the planet can support life,” Carolyn Heinze at techtarget.com says.
That means business and IT leaders in all major industries must do their part to reduce their carbon footprint when possible. If sustainability is part of your future initiatives, here are four places to start.
Choose Energy Efficient Options
Modern data storage technologies are more energy-efficient compared to traditional storage systems. For example, solid-state drives (SSDs) consume less power than hard disk drives (HDDs) and generate less heat, which lessens the need for cooling. This reduces the overall energy consumption of data centers, which in turn impacts their carbon footprint.
Virtualization enables multiple applications to run on a single server, reducing the number of physical servers needed to support an organization’s IT infrastructure. This reduces the energy consumption of data centers, leading to a smaller carbon footprint.
For instance, Salesforce Connect maps objects across multiple systems rather than copying data among multiple systems. In addition to sustainability, upgrading data virtualization capabilities simplifies access to data by creating a central access point, reduces interruptions in other functions, and reduces the need for large data storage space, saving overhead costs.
Move to Cloud Computing
Cloud computing allows organizations to store their data on remote servers instead of maintaining their own data centers. Studies show that 94 percent of companies jumped into cloud services in 2022.
“With the ability to integrate and analyze massive amounts of data, the cloud is the only platform that can provide digital models and support analytics that would be unattainable with traditional on-prem servers,” Clara Angotti says.
For the healthcare industry, cloud computing allows healthcare providers to share medical records, automate backend operations, and maintain emerging data-driven healthcare applications such as telehealth and wearable devices without needing to house this information on-site.
“The use of cloud technology in healthcare is growing so fast that total global spending is estimated to reach a global market value at over $89 billion by 2027,” Mike Thomas of builtin.com says. “In addition, IaaS, a cloud computing model popular for migrating healthcare infrastructures to the cloud, is currently the fastest growing cloud service with a projected CAGR of 32 percent by 2027.”
Experts estimate that as much as 30 percent of an organization’s unstructured data is likely redundant or obsolete. Of all the world’s data, around 90 percent of it is replicated. That means only 10 percent of the data we collect, store, and analyze is considered new data.
The response to managing vast amounts of data is twofold:
- Eliminate data redundancy by centralizing data. Digital innovations within the healthcare industry illustrate the advantages of centralizing patient data to deliver more streamlined and personalized care among providers, payers, and patients. “When providers consolidate patient data within a single healthcare platform, everyone involved in the care journey — from call center agents, to care coordinators, to physicians — has access to the relevant information they need to provide timely care,” Alyssa Halcomb at Salesforce.com said.
- Organize data based on accessibility needs. According to tech sustainability expert Robert Sheldon, your approach should be to inventory existing data to determine what it is, where it’s located, who owns it, how long it’s been there, and who can access it. “It might make more sense to store some data in an edge environment, such as when processing IoT data,” he explained. “Consider the energy and equipment required to move and route data between environments and to maintain those environments. Factor in the resources necessary to back up and archive data.”
By implementing systems that coordinate centralized data and eliminating redundant data, organizations can reduce their storage requirements, reducing the energy consumption of data centers and their carbon footprint.
A recent move toward sustainability initiatives includes investing in and using renewable energy sources such as solar and wind power to reduce their carbon footprint. By sourcing their energy from renewable sources, data centers can reduce their reliance on fossil fuels and decrease greenhouse gas emissions.
Overall, initiating changes in data storage means working with an experienced team to implement modern digital systems that centralize data sources, clean up technical debt and redundant data, and create avenues for integrating more sustainable and renewable energy sources.
Let’s connect to discuss ways to move your processes forward to a more sustainable and scalable future.