As businesses grow, the amount of internally generated and externally accessible data increases dramatically. Organizing the information into databases lets businesses impose sanity, but a different problem rears its head. Increasing hard drive sizes make it feasible and easy to store data locally on a PC or laptop, but increases security issues and hamstrings access. Centralized database storage, although it sometimes limits responsiveness to individual users, offers a number of key advantages for businesses.
Improves Data Preservation
Centralized database storage improves data preservation. PC computers and laptops rarely offer fault tolerance -- the capacity to continue functioning after hardware failure. Fault tolerance requires duplicate components, which drives up costs. The lack of fault tolerance places any data stored only on a PC or laptop at risk for permanent loss. Centralized storage often includes a fault-tolerant setup and redundant storage that preserves the data, even in the event of a catastrophic hardware failure in a hard drive.
Improves Physical Security
Locally stored data represents an ongoing physical security risk. Laptops and notebooks get lost or stolen. An unattended PC presents an opportunity for anyone to access, steal or damage locally stored data. Centralized database storage and proper server room security restrict direct physical access to a single location and a small group of people.
Improves Data Security
As businesses now maintain vast quantities of sensitive consumer information, data protection is a mission-critical issue. Providing data security with central database storage creates fewer challenges than ensuring data security across multiple local storage sites. Data access policies limit the damage one compromised computer can do, as does implementing encrypted virtual private networks, firewalls and rigorous password protection.
Centralized storage requires the business to invest heavily in the server technology, such as fault tolerance, but also allows it to cut overall costs. The maintenance to the central server proves less costly than maintenance to multiple computers, especially if the business operates in multiple locations. Centralized storage also reduces overall space requirements for data storage and processing.
Improved Reliability and Update Speed
Centralized storage typically employs higher-quality components and redundancy, which makes it significantly more reliable than local storage. Centralized database storage facilitates virtualization and provides comprehensive data access, if desired, from anywhere in the world. Updates carried out on a database run on centralized storage carry through to all end-users, as opposed to local storage, which only applies to that computer.