Compliance mandates—coupled with the general transition from paper-based systems to electronic records and the management of such—have increased the need for better networking and improved storage systems. To say the government houses an extensive collection of data is an understatement: Consider medical records, tax returns, Social Security data, banking information and more. The majority of this information is being stored digitally. Concern for the security, privacy and availability of these records is increasing. The government constantly watches and critiques these concerns, but the public, whose information is being maintained, also has a stake in these issues.

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) has touched on information technology systems in terms of data backup. It requires a written backup plan. Remember that data recovery is just as important as data backup.

Storage beyond the basics

Storage has progressed well beyond recording data on tape and then placing those tapes in a physical facility. Tape is still used, but there are many other options including disc backup, Web-based backup, mirroring, data deduplication, thin provisioning, storage virtualization and various other products, features, functions and technologies.

Understanding the relevance and intricacies of the wide array of storage choices is a detailed endeavor. Snapshot technology is well-suited for industries that must store information and be able to retrieve data from a certain point in time.

Snapshots in a storage environment are roughly what their name implies. They are the references to the areas on a disk drive, tape or storage area network that give users information regarding which information is stored and where. This means data and images can be retrieved for specific data sets, times and days. That almost instantaneous ability to retrieve data is useful because, in the healthcare field, they operate routinely off specific data. Snapshot technology allows for instant backup and instant restoring of data, both of which are quintessential in a setting where easy and concise access of data aids in operations.

Snapshots are part of a backup and recovery plan and are not entities and solutions themselves. They are considered add-on or enhanced features of overall storage, but they are proving to be useful in many situations. With the government, they have merit in their ability to save and retrieve data in specific timeframes and scenarios, which is something those in the government need.

Constant data retrieval in the government, the importance of protecting personal history and information, and the government’s role of serving the public make it a market well-suited for enhanced storage functions, such as snapshot technology.

Storage remains complex

Storage is only as good as its network. This is the case with virtually every system contained within the built environment. Regardless of the type of system being discussed, basic built elements of cabling, wiring, power and cooling play an instrumental role. When you add stringent compliance mandates, such as HIPAA, the Federal Information Security Management Act and others into the mix, and the need to store and recover data, the critical need for robust networks is better understood.

The public feels the pinch of compliance and enhanced systems more than other industries. A large part of that responsibility is due to the market they serve. This is why bringing in trusted and reliable integrators and electrical contractors is essential, as it helps further solidify one’s backup plan and is the best way to ensure all systems are where they need to be. This also helps agencies and departments understand what is needed, since government budgets, just like the private sector, are under increasing amounts of scrutiny and constant trimming. Working with a trusted partner, such as an electrical contractor, can help bring things into perspective and help create the best course of appropriate action.

STONG-MICHAS, a freelance writer, lives in central Pennsylvania. She can be reached at JenLeahS@msn.com.