AWS Smart Business Blog

Four Reasons Why Small and Medium Businesses Are Moving Data Storage to the Cloud

The world around us is getting digitized at a tremendous pace. Now more than ever, people are working from home and businesses are adopting new technology to engage customers, develop new capabilities, and improve productivity.

As this Fourth Industrial Revolution plays out, the data we are creating is growing at a staggering rate. According to IDC, the Asia Pacific and Japan (APJ) region is one of the fastest growing datasphere regions in the world. Data generated in the APJ region will increase to 33.8 ZB in 2025 from just 5.9 ZB in 2018. However, many businesses, especially in the small and mid-sized segment, struggle with managing this growth.

I speak with founders and business leaders in Asia Pacific and Japan who frequently share their business continuity concerns, typically about data security, storage, and resiliency. In this blog, I will discuss how innovative businesses are storing, managing and protecting their data without exhausting their capital and operational resources.

Cloud data storage on the rise for small and medium businesses

As data created and replicated continues to grow, businesses are shifting to the cloud to keep up; in 2021, 70 percent of data resided in the cloud and 30 percent in traditional, on-premises environments. The spending on storage and compute infrastructure is forecast to grow at more than 14 percent Compound Annual Growth Rate from 2021 through 2026, breaching USD $145 billion.

The cloud offers instant, affordable storage capacity that you can scale up or down as needed – with no new investments needed in infrastructure or equipment. The cloud also automatically builds in data and system redundancy which means data remains accessible to authorized users and applications.

In the next few sections, we spotlight small and medium businesses (SMBs) who adopted cloud-based storage and protection to uncover benefits across four categories – cost, capacity, security, and continuity.

1. From stage to screen – at 80 percent lower cost

Consider for a moment how Hollywood studios are able to coordinate day-and-date releases—wherein movies are released on the same day around the globe—for its blockbusters, a necessary deterrent against combating movie piracy.

Day-and-date releases previously required physical infrastructure in multiple countries and the involvement of numerous middlemen. But Qube Cinema changed that with Amazon Web Services. The provider went from storing digital media content on physical hard drives (delivered by mail to theaters), to connecting theaters to AWS.

Movies are large digital assets with average file sizes of around 150 GB. Considering that most movies are archived for dozens of years, if not forever, the industry has immense storage requirements. To keep costs down while meeting long-term storage needs, Qube stores around 107 TB of files in Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) Glacier and 2.4 PB in Amazon S3 Glacier Deep Archive. These services offer fast file retrieval options for efficient access to current movies or those archived in years past.

By storing and archiving on AWS, Qube cuts cost by a whopping 80 percent. For each file sent end-to-end electronically, Qube saves about USD $125 on the physical hard drive, protective packaging, and shipping costs.

Takeaway: As data grows, so does the need for additional storage hardware, software, and networking resources to support it. They all have associated costs; so do the power, real estate, and staff time needed to run them. With cloud storage, these expenses are managed as a service you control. You pay simply for the capacity you use each month.

Video editor in front of work station coordinating final sending

2. Delivering news and views that matter – at scale

Online media is gradually overtaking TV and print news as the main source of news for people in Malaysia. As a pioneer of online independent news in the country since 1999, Malaysiakini’s mission centers on providing fast, accurate, well-informed news and views to more than 10 million monthly readers across four languages. Their website serves around 12,000 concurrent viewers on an average day, but during peak periods such as national elections, that figure skyrockets to over 1 million. Malaysiakini’s engineers were overwhelmed by storage and compute demands during high traffic events, leading to downtime that not only frustrated viewers but also inflated IT service costs.

To handle peak news periods more cost-efficiently, Malaysiakini sets up static websites using Amazon S3. Traffic hitting the primary news website redirects to a custom static page at live.malaysiakini.com. This helps scale the website to over 1 million concurrent users while reducing infrastructure costs by 50 percent.

Takeaway: It’s important to have enough capacity to meet everyday requirements without paying to over provision resources that go unused. Just as important is the ability to adapt to changing market conditions and business needs as well as have enough storage to accommodate data growth.

3. A shot in the arm for data security

Pivoting to the healthcare sector, COVID-19 highlighted how critical it is for medical institutions to continually collect and analyze patient data efficiently.

Enter New Zealand healthcare company Orion Health, whose mission is to simplify the hospital admission process. Whether it’s filling out administrative forms from the comfort of their sofas, or requiring a written language interpreter, “the overall goal is to make the hospital admission process less stressful for the patient,” explains Anne O’Hanlon, the company’s product director, touching on the benefits of Orion Health’s digital customer engagement solution Digital Front Door.

Orion Health uses AWS Cloud security features to protect large amounts of sensitive, private information. With a shared responsibility model, it can help them guard against unauthorized users.

All data flowing across the AWS Global Infrastructure is automatically encrypted at the physical layer before leaving the network’s secured facilities, with users possessing full autonomy to encrypt, move, and manage their proprietary data.

This ultimately means that Orion Health can focus on what it does best, such as, “innovat[ing] faster to make life more convenient for patients,” says O’Hanlon.

Takeaway: Data can become more protected in the cloud than in privately-owned data centers because of security best practices that the cloud provider and customer follow in a shared responsibility setup.

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4. 24/7 continuity the lifeline of critical data

Until the middle of 2021, Lira Medika—a private hospital in Indonesia’s West Java province—was using on-premises servers for its primary and data recovery infrastructure. As the hospital’s patient count grew, so did its storage requirement for patient data, including large DICOM files like x-ray images. Unfortunately, its on-premises capacity failed to keep up, which caused server and database downtime of up to six hours at a time. Not ideal for a high-stakes hospital environment.

That all changed when Lira Medika migrated its main database to AWS. With our cloud, backup and failover happens in near real time, contributing to a 20 percent performance improvement versus its previous on-premises setup.

Moch Firmansyah, head of information technology at parent holding company Pundi Raya Niaga, shares, “We can sleep better at night with automated scaling and backups. This prevents the downtime issues we had in the past and helps maintain Lira Medika’s reputation for quality.”

Takeaway: Hardware and software failures, data corruption, and loss of power can cause unexpected downtime. Cloud technology provides additional redundancy for your data to ensure it’s available to you if a theft or disaster happens on your jobsite.

Getting started with AWS for storing and protecting your data

No matter what sector your business is operating in, it’s crucial to establish best practices for storing, backing up, protecting, and recovering data. The cloud enables you to accomplish this, while lowering costs, streamlining operations, and enhancing business agility. With industry-leading durability for backup and access to the latest security advances, AWS provides a cost-effective way to store and protect your data.

Download our eBook to learn more about tips on how SMBs can store and protect their data in the AWS Cloud. Visit Smart Business to see how you can help modernize your business.