Throughout the history of business, “storage” meant physical space – and businesses tended to need a lot of it. The entire running of a company was dependent on paper: paper for contracts, paper receipts, paper for employee personnel files, and so on and so forth.
In order to store all of this paperwork, businesses needed physical space: entire sections of building premises had to be dedicated to record-keeping, rooms where cabinet after cabinet would hold all of the documentation that the business required in order to operate successfully. The older a business became, the greater the volume of paperwork it amassed, so storage needs were almost exponential in terms of their potential growth.
How times have changed
In the 21st century, the storage needs of businesses have changed significantly… but only to an extent. It’s true that the paper that once dominated business storage needs is no longer a necessity. In particular, the introduction of cloud-based storage has changed businesses forever: now, their old records, documents, and contracts no longer need to be held on the original paper, and can instead be stored digitally and accessed from anywhere in the world.
The lack of paper has undoubtedly benefited businesses – and has had significant benefits for the environment, too – and has allowed companies to embrace a more streamlined, easily-managed approach. However, without wishing to suggest paper-free doesn’t have its advantages (as it most definitely does), this change has not resulted in businesses requiring less storage space than the businesses of yesteryear.
The new storage needs
The lack of paper storage requirements is undoubtedly beneficial to businesses, but that doesn’t mean that their storage needs have been removed entirely. In fact, many businesses still require significant physical space to operate their business – it’s just that it’s technology, rather than paper, that now fills that space.
All modern businesses require servers of some sort. Many choose to use cloud-based servers, which they do not need to house for themselves, but doing so can be problematic. On-site servers give the company complete control, rather than relying on an outside source for such a crucial part of their business.
In addition, the storage of sensitive information should always be performed in-house; from a Rackmount server for handling military artificial intelligence needs to small business data centers that hold customer payment information, owning and maintaining a server offers security benefits that a cloud-based system cannot provide.
However, while on-site servers are the best choice in terms of security, they do still require a significant amount of space. The larger the company, the larger space they require. What’s more, the location of business storage has also expanded significantly. No old-style, paper-based company based in Seattle would have needed to store documents across the world, but Amazon store servers all over the world.
The end of the era of paper might suggest that companies no longer need as much storage space as they once did. However, the digital age has demonstrated that significant storage space will still be required; what is being stored may have changed, but ultimately, modern businesses still have serious space requirements in order to hold the servers that they rely on.