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File Data in Public Cloud: The Challenges and How to Overcome Them

Is your organization making increasing use of a public cloud service for file storage? Almost all organizations are today, and it makes a lot of sense; easily scalable and accessible from anywhere. But just because the data is no longer hosted in your own data center doesn’t mean that you can stop caring about it.

Regardless of location, your file data needs to be managed, having file data in Microsoft 365 (M365) or similar public cloud services only highlights that need further.

The management of file data focuses on four areas:

Keeping control of the costs

Minimizing the risk exposure

Making sure the resources are used efficiently

Being a more sustainable organization


Cost Control

With file data in M365 and similar public cloud services, cost is a key topic. Even if the M365 license today doesn’t give you file storage overage fees, this might change, or rather it WILL change!

  • Are the fee calculations done by the service provider correct – can you audit them independently?
  • Do you really need to keep all data, or should it be moved elsewhere or simply deleted?
  • What are your options in minimizing overage fees?


Minimize Risk

One key benefit with collaboration platforms like SharePoint Online, is the simple sharing of information – within as well as outside the organization. However, the issues relating to risk of data leakage / improper disclosure calls for tools to ensure data is stored according to policies and regulations.

  • Protect sensitive data by making sure it’s stored in the appropriate place.
  • Remove dangerous permissions where the wrong people have access to the data.
  • Encourage better working practices to ensure files are not spread in a way they’re not supposed to.


Efficient Use of Resources

Storing data is always a significant investment and that doesn’t change just because it’s been moved to the cloud. In order to make the file service more efficient you need to continuously:

  • Identify and clean up redundant data such as old files or user photo, music and movie collections.
  • Decommission legacy objects such as OneDrives belonging to ex-employees or project shares for long finished projects.


Be More Responsible

Your stakeholders get more and more focused on sustainability, CO2, carbon neutrality – be it because of CSRD, regulatory compliance (e.g. EU data center reporting come September), or just because your customers care about the future.

This focus requires data to make decisions on:

  • Accurate measurements of the environmental impact.
  • Decide to remove or move data to a less CO2 or water consuming file storage service.
  • Input for responsible migration planning (data migration often has larger environmental impact than the running of the file service).

What's Next?

Learn more about how Northern can help your organization manage file data specifically in M365 here. (Requires registration)

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