At a time when you can have nearly unlimited storage in the cloud, when you can purchase disk space and storage options for pennies on the dollar of what it used to cost, you may consider that the statement that the costs are skyrocketing is, well, silly.
The acquisition costs are indeed lower.
But the risks and management and administrative costs of that storage are significant, and it’s almost guaranteed to increase dramatically on almost a daily basis for the next period of time.
That’s because of the perfect storm of several things. First, the GDPR – the EU regulations about privacy and data ownership and people’s control over their data and all of those bits and pieces. This makes administering those databases and storage of information more expensive because you’ve got to create and manage new tools to provide for those people and their data.
The Facebook “revelations” are throwing gas on that privacy and ownership fire. It’s not that Facebook is suddenly gathering more information that has people up in arms. It’s that those terms of service agreements everyone agreed to passively when signing up – suddenly have real meaning. To read about and learn how that information can be used, to see what is known about you based on your actions and interactions, to see it real, in your face and with examples… that’s something that has people very up in arms. I’ve seen it said 1000 times already in the last few days, if you’re not paying for the product, you ARE the product. But as people come to grips with that, there will be calls for, wait for it, additional legislation. Controls. Laws. This means it’ll be more expensive to have that information stored because you’ll have to provide those tools, that oversight. But most of all, those laws will impose new frameworks for managing information on your own systems.
Your SQL Server usage is going to have to step up to the plate on that – it’ll have to pay attention to all of those security checkpoints that we’ve talked about (from collection to storage) and you’ll be in a position to be required to provide more transparency. That costs resources, time, expense. As you have more and more information on file, while the storage mechanism may be inexpensive, the risk-cost associated with that will continue to grow as people yell for something to be done.
Next up, Google. We’ve seen those reports previously about what Google knows about everyone – from search history to email to all of those things. It has traditionally been passive, and perhaps it still is. But you can bet that many will be looking deeper into the Google knowledge of the world. I saw this post just today, talking about what Google knows. The reporter indicated that, between Facebook and Google, his history on Google was 10x that on Facebook. (Here’s a link to the post)
Having that history has been the objective of our collective work with our databases. I’ve personally written many times that if you can, collect it. Save it because you never know how it can be used to provide better services, more information about where your company is going, more information about what people want from your business or service. That hasn’t changed (the whole learn what you can about customers) but having that information on file is getting extremely expensive.
Ignoring that fact is quite possibly a business-fatal mistake. The fines are not insubstantial if something goes wrong. The fines are incredible if you don’t do the things that are called for. The things that are called for are very ill-defined and therefore broad, difficult (expensive) to implement and tough on business.
It’s not armageddon, I get that. But that storage space, where we’ve been squirreling things away for quite some time in case we could make sense of it, is much, much more expensive than the space that’s used. The risks, the management, the administration – all of these simply MUST be thought through when systems are designed. It’s not the end of the world to plan for and implement what’s needed. It’s expensive, but it’s not the end of the world.
Unless, of course, you do nothing. Then it could easily end a business’ world.