Whether you are a recent startup or an established business that is looking to expand and grow its operations, building a data infrastructure that safely houses all your important data is a must.
Data infrastructure refers to all the different aspects, such as physical and digital assets as well as established processes, that are responsible for managing and handling data. It potentially includes physical infrastructures such as storage hardware or data centers, and information infrastructures such as cloud services, software, or data repositories used to store data. It can also include any relevant business services, systems, and providers such as business intelligence systems or analytics tools. All of these make data accessibility, consumption, and usage more effective.
Having a data infrastructure is important for every organization since it enables them to make data-driven decisions to optimize business functions and procedures. It also makes it easier to manage and use data, thereby promoting overall efficiency and productivity at work.
In this article, we highlight the key considerations involved in helping you build a robust data infrastructure for your business needs.
Choose a Data Storage Solution
The first step in building a data infrastructure is defining a data strategy. This is in order to choose the most appropriate storage solution. This will require a complete data audit. This is so that you know what kind of data you would like to collect and store. Plus, how you want to use that data.
Following an assessment of your data needs, you will want to choose a data storage solution. There are two basic options to choose from that include either online storage or on-premises storage. Online storage, commonly referred to as cloud storage, means data that routes to a third-party cloud vendor for storage. It is accessible only via the internet. On the other hand, on-premises data storage, sometimes known as on-site data, stores data on local hardware and servers in a physical space. And, it is accessible through your local network. A specialized IT team maintains it. They operate either in-house or come from a partner organization.
It is a good idea to consider investing in cloud backup solutions for small business operations if you would like your data to be accessible by multiple users, synced in real-time, and integrated with other devices, all the while using on-site physical data storage infrastructure to double the safety of your corporate information.
Take Data Security Measures
An important consideration when choosing a data storage solution is to ensure that your data is safe and secure from potential cyber-attacks, data leaks, and malware.
To ensure data security and smooth access to your data at all times, you should always opt for a trusted and reputable network brand. One that specializes in offering you the network, routing, and security per your needs. For example, if you want the very best but are also looking to maintain your costs, you can easily find used Cisco networking hardware that has been refurbished by professionals.
Clean Your Data
While choosing the appropriate data storage solution that is essential for safely housing your data, you will also need to perform additional steps to clean your data.
Start by building a data model to define and structure your data. Depending on your business needs, you can choose between a conceptual, logical, or physical data model. Or even adopt a combination of all three.
The next step is to clean the data by correcting for errors, deleting duplicates, and adopting data monitoring tools to automate the data cleaning process. For this purpose, it might be helpful to be acquainted with the six dimensions of data quality, including the following:
- Completeness of the various data sets being used.
- Accuracy of the data recorded and used.
- Consistency in data that is recorded to enable comparability and synchrony across the organization.
- Validity of the data with respect to the defined range and established parameters.
- Uniqueness of the data to exclude any duplicates.
- Integrity of the data so that it can be traced and connected across the organization.
Focus on Building an ETL Pipeline
Having a robust data infrastructure also means that you are able to efficiently and effectively use that data for analytics. This is why it is important to build an extract, transform and load or ETL pipeline.
The ETL process allows analysts to extract relevant data from your repository. It also allows them to process the data to derive meaningful insights and load it back for use. The ETL pipeline is basically the entire mechanism. It includes tools, technologies, software, and activities that enable ETL to function.
The Bottom Line
Building a solid data infrastructure for your business should definitely be at the top of your to-do list. This is in order to effectively carry out business tasks. Above we mentioned the basic ingredients of data infrastructure. But, it is important to remember that the specific type of data infrastructure and its components will vary from organization to organization. Plus, it will be primarily based on needs, costs, and analytics demand.
Now, you know the basics of what makes a robust data infrastructure. You are in a better position to start strategizing and searching for the best data solutions for your business.