Grant McGregor News

Is it my Data?

March 05 2013

Is it my Data?

Back in the early nineties, the first file servers were a welcome sight. This new solution allowed companies and organisations to structure and store all their data centrally.  Similar to Email today, people could use file servers to share information while keeping it secure, away from prying eyes. It was also a very straightforward system for IT staff to look after.

By the end of the decade, the same people were now using Microsoft Exchange, Lotus Notes or Novell GroupWise to send and receive information and attachments. This new method, which proved to be a very efficient way to send memos, was called Email. New operating systems made it much easier for people to save data locally, for their eyes-only, hidden away in the My Documents Folder. The once great method of storing and sharing data centrally became slow and ineffective.

Fast-forward to today, where we have a vast array of social media. It would be true to say that this new method of communicating and distributing information has personalised data – and that’s a good thing.  The current fashion for free personal storage (Dropbox, SkyDrive, Google Drive) makes it much easier for people to work on the move, and from many types of devices.

So should you be worried where your data is, and who has access to it?

Do you agree that the data belongs to the organisation and not the individual?

So how should you manage it? Should you choose:

• Centralised storage of data – being easier to control but harder to access and distribute?

or

• Distributed information – being easier to send and receive but harder to control?

There are solutions available for small and large organisations that have all the benefits of centralised storage of data whilst also allowing for the freedom of information.  Importantly, they let the business have oversight.

Over the last 5 years we have seen the steady progress of business software developing with new features that harness the best bits from social media tools and free personal storage tools. We are fortunate enough to be working with people that want to implement these newer (but by now well tried and tested) solutions.

This month we provided one of these new technologies for one of our client organisations – the solution is called Microsoft SharePoint. Working with their staff across different departments, we helped the client organisation develop a personalised, collaborative solution that allows staff to see and feel that it is their data.

Together, we achieved this by incorporating company information with social media friendliness (pictures, internal blogs, in-house news). This has really personalised the look and feel of each department’s portal.

Their people now feel it is their data to shape, make-use of and share. And the business can rest easier knowing that all that same data is centralised, managed and fully backed-up.

Everyone is happy again…for now.

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